Amerikan Uutiset - Uutisarkisto
The Way Back
It was an ordinary and pleasant vacation trip by plane about a month ago; until on return our first plane was fifteen minutes late and we missed the continuation flight. We had taken the emergency transportation and run a long corridor, but the gate to our plane had been closed and everybody gone from the desk. “What are we supposed to do now?” I asked the wall. I had not noticed that there was a nun in black clothes in the corner. She lifted her head and said softly: “Wait.” She smiled and I saw the cover as she had turned her book up. It was a New York Times best seller list murder mystery! I smiled back. I had one in my food bag, too, and murder in my mind!
An attendant came to the desk and booked us for the next plane five hours away. Maybe the plane that we missed would crash somewhere, I wished, as my mind did not calm down so fast. The attendant gave us a plan of the terminal showing where the “luxury eating places” were located, the five terminals that could be reached by a sky link train, and the pedestrian connector. She did not offer tickets for luxury dinner at American Airways cost. We started looking up the eating places within pedestrian distances. Each terminal had a McDonald’s and Starbuck’s coffee, or five to choose from, and a long list of other food and beverage facilities. We did not find “luxury” anywhere since we were not members of any airline clubs, but burritos and hamburgers served the purpose quite well.
Back near the gate where the next plane was supposed to leave (if it did not get changed), I settled down to read my mystery story from last page backwards. People walked, ran and rushed along the corridor. Everybody seemed to hall their luggage on wheels, and families with underage children had a really tough time keeping their entourage together. One harassed mother lost her temper and started hitting a little boy hard. The child screamed, of course, and I nearly walked over to her to advise her that if she did that in Scandinavia, the police would take her to jail. However, she would have probably given me a hit, too, and so I kept my rage within and looked somewhere else as they rushed past.
Once the monotony had to be accepted, the remaining hours of waiting seemed to become shorter. The flow of people turned out to be interesting, and my mother’s question popped into my mind:”Where are they all running?” Judging by the clothes, people came and went from hot to cold places and vice versa. No dress code is recognized in the airport as long as everybody has something for cover. Nobody went to the new check-up in underwear or bikinis, which happened when the new look-through x-ray device was first set up. That was shown on the national TV news. In fact, the TV reporter had caught a man in his underwear and the clothes under his arm, and a woman wrapped in a towel with the hint that there was nothing underneath. They were protestors making fun of the new check-up.
I listened to the talk at the ticket counter. A man was in wrong terminal and let out a cry when the attendant told him that. Volunteers were looked for to give up their seats and wait for another flight and receive credit for a free round trip. Seats were overbooked and the airline workers fidgeted at the desk while impatient passengers milled around them. The romance of flying had disappeared and probably died in the rough traffic of present-day mass transportation.
Palm Beach, Florida