Monday, July 20, 2009

En Route to Edinburgh 24.6.09: Stars in Liberty's Crown, Kicks in the Kidneys

In the plane in NY, waiting to take off for Edinburgh. Our trip began early today in Little Rock, then to Atlanta and NY, and now overseas.

When we got onto the plane in Little Rock, they announced the air conditioning was not working. And oh by the way, we’ll be delayed due to a malfunction of our computer system that requires us to do all the paperwork by hand.

Then, as we take off: and oh by the way, the bathroom is broken. Inauspicious omens for the start of a trip!

In Atlanta, we prepare to get into the queue for take-off, and an announcement comes. Please keep your seats, ladies and gents. We can’t go further as long as you’re not seated.

After a few minutes, a chunky woman in a burqa comes sauntering down the aisle. She had evidently chosen to go to the restroom just as the plane began backing out of its gate. And then we land and are taxiing to the gate, and again she bounces up and walks to the front of the plane, causing the pilot to do a sharp halt and forcing us to sit on the runway until she had been directed once again to sit down.

I now find I’m seated in front of a little Italian boy who’s 1) kicking me in the kidneys, 2) singing, 3) shouting Mama! Questa Londra? La torre de Pisa? And now pummeling the tack of my seat at shoulder level with rude kinetic little fists. Che gioia!
And then: Quando se muove? And, Che dolore partiamo. And a series of questions to his papa about whether we’d fly over the Statue of Liberty by night and see her crown and stars.

At least, I thought I heard all of that. I don’t really speak Italian, though I can often puzzle some of its meaning out, when I look at an Italian text. But somehow I understood pretty much all that the little boy was saying. Perhaps a swift kick in the kidneys bestows linguistic connection that would otherwise be lacking.

+ + + + +

And now just reaching the southwest corner of Ireland, according to the little map screen in front of me, though all is thickly clouded over and I can’t see land. Well, now that I look at the map, we turn and fly north of Dublin, coming to Ireland someplace more like Donegal than the southeast corner of the island.

Just finished Nicholas Kilmer’s account of his family’s home in Normandy, as we flew from New York. A bit tedious, though the repartee with his wife could be amusing at times.

No comments: