8:40 AM Leave for airport a tish bit late, but have always felt two hours early is a bit overdoing it. Should be 1 and 1/2 hours early if you ask me, and as first leg of flight is domestic, am untroubled.
10:30 AM Making great time. No troubles here!
11:35 AM Oops! I missed my turn!
11:45 AM Traffic isn’t moving, I begin to drum the wheel.
11:55 AM Traffic isn’t moving, I begin deep yoga breathing.
12:10 PM STILL. NOT. MOVING. WHHHHY?
12:15 PM Hyperventilating. Flight leaves at 1:30! Follow signs taped to trees for rental car return. They are ridiculous and confusing! Ask directions. No one speaks English!
12:30 PM I call my mother. “Hi! Are you there yet?” she asks cheerily.
“They said there would be a sign for Budget, but there is no sign and I’m going to miss my flight and diiiiie!!!!!”
Just then, I see the sign for Budget Car Rental. I miss the turn.
12:40 PM I find Budget at the end of a dirt road in Mexico. I throw the keys at the attendant and let her know I’ll be seeking legal action against them for being located in fucking Tijuana, but it comes out sounding more like “You know, this place is like, really hard to find. I mean the signs are sort of tricky to follow and I’m a pretty clever person.”
The attendant sighs and tells me I’m forgetting something. That would be my suitcase.
1:10 PM Ticket counter. “So let me get this straight, I was going to leave in twenty minutes and now I leave in two days?”
The airline lady is kind and says she can put me on the next flight out for no extra charge. She says, “Hey! You’re lucky! There was this flight canceled to Denver this morning? And ....”
“TWO DAYS!?” I begin weeping hysterically.
1:30 PM It finally sinks in that I may not be leaving Miami today, or tomorrow, but more like in T-W-O days. I call my parents. I am sure they will look forward to driving six hours round trip after a full day of work to pick up their flake of a daughter at the airport. That's going to go over super well. I call my two friends in South Florida. No one is home. Discover Miami International Airport is not equipped with wireless internet. I reconcile that my death will most likely occur at the Miami International Airport.
1:50 PM Visit Sbarro to drown my troubles. I don’t really like myself enough for California Pizza Kitchen at the moment.
2:30- 4:00 PM Read magazines. Phone doesn’t ring.
4:00 PM I have nowhere to sleep tonight! Man at information desk tells me hotels will be expensive. But, he smiles with half his mouth, he has “insider information.” He writes on a piece of paper “Air mattress, $50” and slides it towards me.
Needless to say, I am alarmed.
6:00 PM My friend Cortney who lives in South Florida calls! She will come to retrieve me! Will not have to sleep on air mattress in creepy Information Desk Man’s love brothel!
6:05 PM Make celebratory laps around departure terminal with luggage chariot.
Day spent at home of South Florida friends, Kathleen and Dax. They treat me like a princess even though I am a flake of dandruff.
12:00 PM Am super early for flight. I rock?
5:00 PM No one has crazier hair than the French man. You just have to take one look at the smoking lounge outside my gate to Paris--just at the hair alone--and you know that you are not on a flight to Zurich or Sydney. It’s as if the nicotine supplies some strange energy jolt to their whole bodies, hair included.
5:45 PM Takeoff. My flight reading materials include: Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, and also, an article about Ayelet Waldman in ELLE. The Waldman article is so fascinating. Her husband, Michael Chabon, author of Wonder Boys, is sort of foxy. Who knew?
6:30 PM Yay! Moist towlettes!
6:45 PM What’s up with people who hog the armrest throughout the entire flight? Do they know it’s not friggin nice?
7:00 PM Yay! Dinner!
7:15 PM The difference between French and American stewardesses (stewardii?) is that the French stewardess does not sound like she wants to put you in her pocket and make you her favorite pet. She sounds in fact, as if she is untroubled with winning your affection. I cannot relate to this quality in the slightest. I even want the people who cannot give me directions to Budget Car Rental to like me.
I get bored and start cleaning out my purse. Accidentally wake up man next to me with elbow. This fella definitely hates me.
Godawfulearly AM We have arrived. We shuffle out to daylight, to the cold and unwelcoming spaceship pod that is Charles de Gaulle.
7:20 AM Customs. I look over at the "European Citizens" line. It is a sea of excellently tousled hair. The signs should read "European Union Hair" and "All Other Hair."
7:40 AM Luggage carousel--like Waiting for Godot with jet lag.
8:00 AM Am in shuttle heading to Paris! We have to drop off some customers in the 9th and we pass this little cathedral on rue Voltaire (I think). At the sight of this cathedral that I have never before seen in my life, my heart explodes in my throat and goes soaring out of my brain. I think, for the billionth time, there is probably no other place in the world that makes me feel the way Paris does and I get to live here.
A tiny part of me worried that if I left Paris, something might happen where I wouldn’t be able to come back. I feel so much relief to have been proved wrong.