Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Misadventures of the Water Bottle

Wednesday, June 22nd S.F.O. to Chicago to Rome

I wake 3 minutes before our 5:15 A.M. alarm and am first into the shower. At 6:00 A.M. we head downstairs for the included continental breakfast and to wait for the 6:30 A.M. shuttle to the airport.
We arrive 2 ½ hours before our flight and check in is a breeze. John and I each check one small bag and Art chooses to carry his onboard.  Art queries John if he is sure that he has everything and John flippantly replies, “Yes, Papa, I’ve traveled before!”  Our priority boarding passes are TSA Pre-Check and Art and I breeze through security wearing our shoes and jackets. John does not breeze quite so easily because he has forgotten to empty the water from his aluminum water bottle. He is pulled aside for the blue rubber glove inspection of his bright orange back pack and informed that he may either relinquish his water bottle or be escorted back into the terminal by security. He may not drink or dump the water on this side of security.  John is attached to his decaled water bottle and chooses to go through security a second time. The stern TSA woman escorts John outside and Art grimaces. We wait for our well traveled son to snake the security lines a second time and return to us.  Since we have allowed plenty of time we are more amused than stressed and twenty minutes later, John sheepishly rejoins us. I laugh and tell him that it is things like this that give me something to write in my blog. 

We are 1-½ hours early to our gate when my phone rings. Strangely, it is American Airlines calling me with an automated update that our departure flight to Chicago will be delayed because of bad weather. Art is quick to note that the earlier flight to Chicago has not yet departed and we rush to the kiosk to see if we can switch to the earlier flight. One of the attendants magically switches our bags from the delayed flight to the earlier flight and within minutes we have new boarding passes. In twenty minutes we board the earlier flight to Chicago which in reality leaves 15 minutes later than our initially scheduled flight but will presumably get us into Chicago in time for our connecting flight to Rome.
Tornado Shelter Signs, Chicago Airport

The flight between S.F.O. and Chicago is 3hr 20 minutes and I pass the time writing this blog and reading the Rick Steve Italy guide book. John rereads my father’s book Surf Casting for the Normandy Invasion and Art listens to history pod casts about Ancient Rome. So far so good:)
We land in Chicago at 3:30 in plenty of time for our flight to Rome, now delayed until 6:15 P.M. We wonder why our S.F.O. to Chicago boarding passes have “priority boarding” stamped on them and hope our American Airlines Platinum Visa will open doors to the Admiral’s Club. John and I watch our belongings and Art sets sail along the polished floors of the airport terminal in search of the lounge. He returns 15 minutes later with “virtual” cuts and bruises. The lounge bouncers deny him access so the three of us wander the crowded airport in search of a peaceful restaurant or corner in which to spend the next couple of hours. We share a chicken salad, an overpriced bottle of water and nibble on nuts and seeds.

It is 6:30 when boarding is called and the three of us push through the waiting passengers to the priority boarding line.  As John hoists his orange backpack onto his shoulder, the look on John’s face tells me something is wrong? He exclaims that his water bottle is missing and jogs back to where we were sitting to look for it. He returns empty handed with his second sheepish grin of the day and Art rolls his eyes in disbelief and amusement.  He has left his troublesome water bottle on the previous flight.

We are grateful to be boarding at last and file through first class to the cheap seats in economy and squeeze into our three inline seats. I have used frequent flyer miles to book our three tickets and only now wonder how many more miles would have been needed for the luxurious and spacious first class seats? Our plane sits on the runway for 1 1/2 hours before we are cleared to take off. There can be no drink or meal service until after we are airborne so we impatiently watch movies until we are cleared for takeoff.  Once airborne and level, the stewardesses are efficient; serving us a disappointing chicken and rice concoction that I pick at. I am grateful for the accompanying generous glasses of red wine, watch two mindless comedies and at 11:00 P.M. dole out sleeping pills and Art and I manage a solid four hours of sleep each.

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