Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blanche DuBois Goes to the Airport

   Things have been crazy around here for the last few weeks. First, I caught a random cold and it took me down, flat on my back for almost two weeks on the living room sofa and floor:
 Yes, that is my dog eating dirty tissues, I guess the hooves and bones we buy him just don't compare.
   As soon as I started to recover I broke my toe on a concrete paver that I had carelessly left sitting on my front porch, right by the stairs. I don't have a picture for this but lets just say you don't realize how important those little toes are until you lose one.
   That was on a Friday, I was scheduled to leave for the Florida Keys on Monday, to celebrate my 3rd wedding anniversary, with my husband of course. It was too late to reschedule, we had booked this thing months earlier, so we had to press on even though by Sunday the cold my husband had caught from me was in full swing! He says there is no good time to catch a cold and sometimes bad things just happen, but this whole thing left me questioning my karma and the meaning of life. If nothing else I can now say I've had a chance to play Blanche DuBois Goes to the Airport.
    Now, if you've never had a broken toe let me start by explaining that there is not much the Doc can do. At the emergency room they put a little piece of tape on it (which I promptly removed), gave me a small bottle of pain meds and sent me on my way. By Monday I was even able to get into a pair of loose canvas sneakers and hobble around on the side of my foot. But since we were scheduled to fly out of Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the busiest and one of the largest Airports in the world, I decided to reserve a wheelchair. However, I did not want to dropped off and wait for my husband to bring our luggage up (we always only carry on, but that's another story), so I thought we would just park in economy and I would ride on a Smart Cart until we could find a wheelchair. Luckily, someone had thought of this and there were free wheelchairs by the Smart Carts. We were on our way. It being a Monday, the security line was the longest I had seen in a while, and we took our place at the end of the line. To our amazement, not five minutes later, a suited man with a badge and a walkie talkie whisked us over to the handicap line, the one with only three people in it, and we breezed right past all those poor healthy people and straight to security, where I was told to hobble right in front of a scowling woman holding her shoes (who had no doubt been in line for nearly an hour) thru the metal detector and right back into my wheelchair! I couldn't believe it, even the TSA people were kind to me (rest assured they managed to be kind without smiling).
   Now, I do not condone faking illness in order to get through the airport faster, I would much rather have my toe back to normal, but I must say I was surprised that no one even asked for a doctors note or any kind of proof that I really needed the wheelchair, especially considering that I didn't look handicapped (in spite of my nasty chesty cough). I was the first on the plane and the last one off, (causing my husband to be accused of being an Air Marshall be some weirdo with boots and shorts on) which was rerouted to Miami because of rain in Key West, where a nice Spanish speaking woman, who was expecting me to be a Spanish boy (because of my name), picked us up and took us to the car rental train. I received many inquisitive and some pitiable looks, and my husband received quite a few flirtatious glances, but all in all only one person was even slightly rude, a Nigerian? man who shamelessly used his proximity to my wheelchair to get on the train first and almost tripped over me.
   Maybe none of this surprises you. Maybe you would expect nothing less. But I, who have always had a rather Walter Sobchak-esque attitude towards sick people, was shocked and amazed at the kindness I received. Maybe I'll change my attitude, I don't know, but I will say that the world looks a little brighter now that I know, in times of true need, you can rely on the kindness of strangers.

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