On The Road Again!

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Once again, Tony and Jack load the bags and we head to JFK Airport!

The bags were packed – mine stuffed with art to hang on the walls and fabric for Rosa, Pontelandolfo’s great seamstress, to make me cute outfits with.  Jack’s stuffed with new clothes – he is such a cute clothes horse.  My carry on carries all things related to my Mac Book Air.  Cousin Maryellen ran around the house making sure we didn’t leave anything behind.  We had passports, tickets – we are set to hit the highway and fly on home to Pontelandolfo.

Thanks to my nimble Godson, Tony, the ride to JFK was swift and chatty.  We were shocked to see that there wasn’t a line at the Emirate’s Air check in desk.  We checked in – our overweight bags were miraculously not overweight.  Then the clerk said, “enjoy your 4 hours.”  What!!!!  The flight leaves at 7:20 PM.  “No, the check in time was 7:20 – the flight leaves at 10:20PM.”  But, but it is only 5:00 PM!!!!  Well so much for good planning – who read that e-ticket????  We headed to the TSA clearance center to the gates.  I’m glad we got there four hours early – we needed the time.

I’m not one to whine – well maybe just a little –  but 55 minutes in the TSA line at JFK is a real whine, whine, whine! Moms with baby carriages, ladies holding babies, elderly people stooped with the strain of carryons – all marching slowly in circuitous paths.  Step by slow step we moved in one direction, only to be turned around and headed back from whence we came.   The only people that could avoid the 55 minute wait were the .05%  with first-class tickets. Stop bitching Midge -it is not a class issue – just a ticket issue. Sensitivity to the elderly and the woman carrying two kids would have been nice.  They literally had us go the entire length of the huge space in one direction and back four times and then do it again. What great fun. Reminded me not to come to Terminal Four at JFK.

After wending our way back and forth, fourth and back, back and forth, fourth and back, we got to the place where one takes off one’s coat, unpacks ones computer, ones iPad, ones anything metal etc.  I absolutely support this process.  It is better – as they say – to be safe than sorry.  In today’s world, we accept the challenge of travel and appreciate the oversight.  As I was accepting and happy to comply, I watched all of my goods going through the x-ray machine  and walked towards the door-frame like scanner.  Suddenly, I was told to go into another line for a different kind of full body x-ray. I didn’t mind the full body x-ray. I rather liked the patdown. Especially when she was fondling my breasts. I didn’t like seeing my purse, computer, IPad and briefcase laden with my good jewelry sitting about fifteen feet away from where I was. I never think about anyone mugging me or in any way doing all those things that people tell me I should worry about.  BUT – I was carrying  – rather my briefcase was housing – all the euros to pay the May Cooks in Pontelandolfo group expenses.  F#$%! There was no way they would stop patting me down so I could get to my stuff – I was able to turn around and at least see it.  Those of you who know the volume and rancor that my voice can take know that I would be able to thwart any evil doer with my not so dulcet tones. Putdown over I ran to my stuff.

Next stop, Terminal Four’s Tigín Irish pub. Rock and roll, starting with Michael jack son’s Thriller, called us to the pub and perked me up. Since we didn’t board for hours, a slow snack, Guinness and chair dancing to groovy sounds was in order. Perfectly poured Guinness – I might add – the glass rested partially full and then there was a second pour with a perfect head. OK – I belched at the airport prices.  Gulp, it cost over $100 for two Chardonnays one beer, hummus  and veggie platter, a grilled chicken, pear and fresh greens yummy salad and a chicken cheese bacon sandwhich.   Ouch, I want to get to Pontelandolfo where a pensioner can afford the prices.

Last year, you will recall we flew Emirates – cheaply upgraded to business class – ahhhhhh.  This year we tried coach.  The seats were big enough for my substantive butt and there was enough legroom for Jack.  That was a good sign.  The wi-fi surprised me!  Who knew you could have wi-fi in the air and not screw up the automatic pilot. It was 10:30PM and I sure as hell didn’t want dinner – I wanted sleep – wait what is that scrumptious odor?  Yes, I’ll have the chicken thank you.  My little tray sported real flatware – no cheesy pack of plastic.  Wine?  Of course, thank you.  The food was nothing to rave about but wasn’t anything to complain about either.  I think the aisle was a wee bit wider too – easier to walk about – and the giant plane was divided into sections with each section having a large walkable space fore and aft. Sounds like a good flight – right – ehhh – it was still coach.  No foot rest.  No flat down to a bed seat.  No little kit with ear plugs, mask, creams and presents.  Still coach…

Ci vediamo dopo.  Time to take a snooze in Milano.

How Do You Spell Rude? JFK TSA

Does anyone out there know the name of the tall TSA management type at JFK’s Terminal A? Wednesday, April 30th he was working at 2:30 PM wearing a beige cotton/poly blend suit. The tall balding dude has dirty blonde hair and a yucky beard. His vocabulary is limited to, move, move it, move it along, faster, move it along faster.

Notice how he is able to use the same few words in a variety of ways – Mensa candidate NOT. He only was capable of one volume – SCREAM.

We were in the crowded security check point with about a couple of hundred other travelers. All of us schlepping a carryon, briefcases, purses and assorted sports gear. There were quite a few families with kids. The moron manager treated each of us equally – he screamed and bellowed. People obeyed – like mice on a wheel – the louder he yelled the faster we moved. The LOUDER he YELLED the more he incited his TSA team to yell and whip us along.

Yo, dude, having a bad day? Take a Xanax. How about a please instead of a bellow. Do you get a bonus based on how many of the tired and poor you can push through the line in ten minutes?

I looked around for the cameras. Was this a sick reality show? Do you get a prize for taking your computer out the fastest? How much do you win for a quick coat and belt strip? Unearth your bag of liquids and toss it to win what ever is on the other side of the X-Ray machine! Get both your shoes on the conveyor belt in less than 3 seconds and the applause will be deafening.

It takes a lot for this seasoned traveller to get so upset that I literally started to cry and I gotta say it sucked. Knowing that the TSA could keep me off the flight to Rome or worse put me on a forever watched list, I kept my mouth shut as I was being screamed at generally by the manager and personally by the employee on my line.

I carry a C-pap machine – normally squirreled away in my luggage but since we are going to be in Italy for 6 months and I needed all the space in my two bags for clothes and stuff I decided to carry my medical device. Well, I wasn’t fast enough taking off my slip on shoes, my coat caught on my arm, my expensive Mac book was whisked out of sight past the X-ray machine and then the woman in charge of my line screamed, “whats in that extra carryon?” A C-pap machine, I replied, a medical device. I can carry my medical device. (No where is it posted a C-pap has to be out of its special bag.) Take it out – NOW. She practically tore it from me – me thinking shit what does it cost for a new one. I’m, sure insurance doesn’t replace one squished on a TSA conver belt.

Meanwhile the shrieking “faster, move it, move it along”, continued to fill the air. I was raced through the “human stare at my undies machine”, got to the other side and saw my stuff rammed up against and under other people’s stuff. Grabbing my stuff, as I was not so politely urged to move along, I limped to a free spot on the ground and got put back together.

My phone rang, it was Jack, he didn’t know what happened to me and couldn’t see me siting on the floor teary eyed. We had been pushed into separate lines.

The manager cretin was still screaming.

Who the hell is this asshole? If you know, let me know so that when I write my letter I can point a real finger of shame.

In Rome, we were transferring to a flight to Naples. We went through the crowded Pre-flight Security lines and were smiled at, chatted with and never once screamed at. The officer on my line did take my folding cane off the conveyor belt and use it as a telescope. It made the kids behind me laugh.

What a difference!