It’s a big fast world…

Five dollars. FIVE dollars. $5. FIVE DOLLARS. And no, you don't get to take it home with you.

Landing in JFK, I’m totally whipped. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon…10:30 in Europe, 1:30 in Los Angeles…and I’ve been dashing since 7:34 this morning. It was precisely 7:34, not 7:30, I know that since I was supposed to LEAVE for the airport at 7:30, but only AWOKE four minutes later.

Only time ever the alarm hasn’t done its job for me. How did this happen? Did I set the time at PM instead of AM in the phone? Was the volume too low? Did I not hear phone that was charging in the bathroom? Was it Nancy’s text, saying they were enroute to the Florence airport, that woke me up?

No time for investigation or recrimination, just have to MOVE.

I call the front desk. “If I leave for the airport in half an hour, will I make my 10:05 flight?”

Pause. Are they translating my question into Italian and back?

 What will I do, if they say no?

“Yes, but you should leave no later.”

Forget impulse, I go straight to the warp engines. And I’m a “pack in the morning” gal. Blech. Brush, toss, slam, swipe, throw, push, shove, zip….grrr…shove some more. Zip. Call for bag pick ups. hand over credit card. Close my eyes, pretend it’s dollars, not euros, ignore the expensive breakfast I’ve paid for and don’t have time to eat. Sign.

At the airport they don’t like my bags…at ALL. They let Jessamyn check an extra bag yesterday so I expect same treatment (I’m in business class from Paris). NO. NO. NO. And my carry-on….Too heavy. Gees…

I always feel bad for those people with their shit all over the airport floor trying to rearrange things, make the count and weight work out right.

Today, I am one of those people.

Sigh. I return to the counter a third time. The carry-on is still too heavy. Eventually my wheelie computer bag nests INSIDE my rollerboard, and STILL I have to pay 55Euro overcharge. Gees.

And you know what…we’re not even going to TALK about the plane/terminal change in Paris where I hustled beyond belief, doing major bag schlep and still arrived at check-in after the flight was closed….and was the very last person to board the plane as they were calling my name over the PA….

Because as you can see, here I am in JFK, standing in customs, totally exhausted, thinking about making the NEXT flight Los Angeles in 90 minutes and…no time even to think about grammar…and how to avoid using ellipses so often when I’m writing to you.

Cannot believe it, they—WE—charge FIVE DOLLARS for a luggage cart in customs at international arrivals in customs. How awful is that? You just get off the plane after exhaustion, all that flying the time zones, we pay our TSA fees, airport fees in the ticket price for everything, and still FIVE DOLLARS for a luggage cart?

Foreign airports never do that to us! Ever. They have lovely carts lined up there for free, sometimes the carts are even so amazing they can ride on the escalator with you, scary and magical at the same time.

At least I’m American. I’ve credit cards at the ready, and dollar bills, (FIVE-DOLLAR bills actually), and can read the squirrely directions on the machine. Get my cart.

While I’m waiting for my bags arrive, I come really close to buying carts for a few puzzled foreigners.

If I’m not so tired I’d walk the extra steps over to the machine and do it. I really would.

About Karen Ray

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