Wednesday, February 21, 2007


As much as I love Paris, it is a good thing once in a while to get out of town. "Escape the golden prison," as they say. Also a brief respite from Parisian pigeons and sidewalk doggy-do is always welcome. So this week I found myself jackknife-folded into seat 22A on Air France to Miami.

A very kind but somewhat super-sized German couple were in B and C, merrily drinking their way across the Atlantic. Although they spoke virtually no English or French, they made do quite well using grunts and sign language with the flight attendants and managed to get refill after refill of Bordeaux, cognac, pear brandy, or whatever was being offered or not at the time. Fortunately it meant that I didn't have to attempt to engage in any meaningless chit chat with them. Herr Trinker, however, did keep trying to raise the armrest so he could spread over into 22A. I smiled sweetly and motioned that I needed to have access to the entertainment buttons. Fortunately, all that liquor also made Herr und Frau quite sleepy. They nuzzled bloatedly for the remainder of the trip. Meanwhile, I guzzled Evian in a vain attempt to stave off puffy ankles and jet lag. Ha ha ha.

Ten hours and 2 liters of water later we landed in Miami International. At the luggage carousel, three massively beefy airport workers hauled the bags off the conveyor belt to make more room. After standing there together for a while, I finally decided to break the ice and chat them up a bit, in the vague hope that they might help me when my suitcase came along. "So I guess you boys don't have to head to the gym after work," I joked (or some such inane comment). The only guy who responded to me turned and said "Valisas esta aqui" or some such thing in Spanish. Foiled again.

When will I actually get to speak English in the good ole US of A?

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