Friday, April 19, 2013

And Then Your Plane

   Inside the little terminal building was, unbelievably, a United Airlines desk and a charming young man who took my boarding pass and looked at my driving licence (as they do in America), plus three smiling people from the Transportation Security Administration, in their natty blue shirts, all looking delighted to see a passenger. Classical music played solemnly and the young man invited me to sit and wait in the lounge, which was a perfect airport lounge in miniature,  or go to the restaurant, which, he told me, was around the corner. I elected for the latter, hoping for a cup of coffee and it was a surprisingly large restaurant for such a tiny airport, the tables laid with proper linen napkins and a large map of the world on the wall. The music had changed to a sort of pop and country-and-western mix. I felt I had strayed into some old film about the days when flying was actually a pleasure. I sat, drinking my coffee, which the waitress kept topping up (in between avidly polishing the already immaculate window sills) and looking out of the picture windows onto the airport tarmac, wondering if the restaurant would have any other customers, indeed whether it had ever had any other customers. Perhaps local people came to eat here and combine it with some plane-spotting. But there was one drawback to that. I still couldn't see a plane.
   Then, when I'd started wondering if all these pleasant people were actually engaged in a United effort to pull my leg, I heard a loud roar. "My plane!" I exclaimed and jumped up to peer into the distance. And suddenly there appeared, out of the sky....

Not a plane exactly but .....

  I was slightly disconcerted. With the country in a state of alert, all sorts of interesting scenarios went through my mind.  Or was it perhaps meant for me? Would I actually get the chance to ride in a helicopter? But no, that was not to be. The helicopter's crew did nothing more exciting than get in a minibus and drive off, the driver giving a cheerful wave as he went past.  I resumed my crossword.  Then, a few minutes later, the charming young man, evidently the airport's jack-of-all-trades, emerged carrying a couple of batons.  My spirits lifted. Because, unless he was bent on some juggling practice to alleviate the boredom,  that could surely mean only one thing. And wonder of wonders,  there it was.

The eagle had landed.  But that was far from being the end of my adventure.
To be continued....

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