—From the Fool—
The guy who reads this and tells me if it should be it’s or its is on vacation, so I’m late. I don’t mind being late unless somebody’s waiting and wanting me to get diarrhea. But maybe the world is not hung up waiting here.
He said how great his flight was. He’s been seeing waterfalls and mountains, but what really stuck was Frontier Airlines Flight 612, which he called Steampunk Torture Drone. He squeezes down the aisle, no problem if he’d remembered to smear himself with lubricant. He locks himself in.
Amazingly, his knees fit, even when the passenger ahead tips the seat back. The airline is thoughtful: the seats don’t tip back. They do have a fold-down tray big enough to post a post-it note or even to hold a steno pad if you like to write sideways.
They don’t do free food, wanting to keep you fit, but you can buy packets or cans of gargle and glop. You can buy their Breakfast on the Fly, $4.99 for a cup of coffee and packet of M&Ms. The housefly is extra.
The high point of my friend’s flight—which I call him that even when he says it’s (or its) its and not it’s and I don’t see why—was the announcements. Usually you tune out of the No smoking and check your flotation device and get ready to die. Frontier is more poetic, though later he thought it might have been a mistake, when the flight attendant announced, “Please remain seated when your seat belt is fastened.”
“It haunted me all day,” he said. “the poetic allusiveness of it.”
I’m not sure what poetic allusiveness is, but I think he obeyed the instructions.
Being on vacation, I am appropriately vacant.
Why didn’t I take my Fool drag with me on this journey? There have been so many times I could have used that red nose, bald pate, frowsy side-hair-sproings, and, above all, the vocal attitude.
I have been a traveling clown-show of clumsy pain, hobbling along with a walking stick and a not-yet-healed second new hip—a slow wide load, not anybody’s key to feeling empathetic when they have to get to their own place FAST. You never realize, until walking becomes difficult, how much walking there is, and I didn’t have my Fool’s Guardian Angel as we were getting on the train to get to our blessed week with Johanna in Italy. Our room in a nice cheap hotel in Amsterdam had been at the very end of their furthest wing. We met our friend Theo for breakfast in a cafe across the street, but then had a long walk to his building to wait for the handicap-taxi (much cheaper) to go to the train station. Once in the taxi, it became clear that they had other stops to make, and by the time we got to the train station we were an hour behind schedule.
So at the Amsterdam airport I was already in walking distress, and twisted by anxiety. We found a no-frills wheelchair at the airport and were jouncing down the endless corridor to EasyJet’s gate, with minutes to spare. An angelic young woman left her compatriots at the security inspection and helped get me and Conrad (dragging our two carry-on bags) down the miles and miles to the gate that was about to close. We wouldn’t have made it without our Angel.
People were walking at their own pace with wide loads all across the corridor, and we needed to claim space to pass. First I tried a sweet little “toot-toot”, but that didn’t seem to be up to the severity of the occasion. I shifted to a brash Fool-voice Onk-Onk, and that not only seemed to clear the path better, it cracked up our Angel. “I like that one.”
What fun it would have been to continue as the Fool and just bull through all obstacles and not give a shit. Instead, we still had to traverse long distances from plane to bus, bus to train, train to train—in Milano we jumped on at Car Four and struggled down toe aisles to Car Seven—and I got more and more embarrassed. I’d held it together that far, but when we had to ask two stylish people to move their luggage from our seats, well . . . I wish I’d been able to roar profanities, but settled for collapsing into muffled sobs. Felt good, though.
Now we’re safe and happy, and I have nearly a week of loving, peaceful comfort. Then, onward.