My flight itinerary over to Prague involved a brief respite layover in Rome; finding a direct flight for the ideal price a mere few weeks prior to my business meeting proved impossible. Ahead of time, I had planned for my layover accordingly, mostly by packing my professional and pleasure wear into a single carry on luggage. As I had previously detailed, the packing itself went exceedingly well, however, there had been a potentially disastrous hiccup with certain crucial meeting files and my laptop. Luckily, my paranoid penchant had solved that issue, but, unfortunately, my travel woes did not end there.
During my car service from my apartment to Kennedy airport, while wading through hordes and hordes of cars, idle in traffic, the zipper of my recently purchased, as in purchased a mere 4 hours prior, laptop bag surrendered to the weight of my computer, much to my dismay. I was able to coax and persuade the zipper to close upon my command, with ease and finesse and much patience, however, this added another layer of anxiety. Continually, I glared at the clock and at the sea of cars around me, somehow hoping and thinking my penetrating stare would either turn back time or force the steel vehicles to disperse and make way: I had been on time for my pick up, but feared I would miss my flight at this astonishingly slow speed.
Finally, I arrive at my terminal, with an acceptable amount of time to retrieve my boarding pass, be violated by airport employees in the name of security, amble and dash to my gate, and potentially even enjoy a glass of wine in the lounge prior to departure. I breathed a long sigh of relief. As I attempt to print my boarding pass, my flight verification number does not register; a kindly younger woman notices my distress, looks at my itinerary, and immediately solves the problem: I am in the wrong terminal. Quickly, following what could only be described as animal instincts, I dart through groups of large, sweating tourists to the air tram, head to terminal one.
A bit out of breath, I arrive at my actual terminal, no longer with time to sufficiently enjoy a glass of wine or a Cape Cod, so, forgoing libation lubricant, I subject myself to the legal and apparently necessary groping, and head to my gate. My flight to Rome was pleasant enough, aside from a few bizarre, sexually flirtatious ambiguous comments from a male flight attendant. Though I did not really sleep, I rested, following some mediocre Italian cuisine and copious amounts of a robust and rigorous regional red wine, whose grape varietal escapes me.
Gaining a second wind as I landed in Rome, I decided that, with a mere two hours to spend in a country I have been aching to visit for ages, and being confined, obviously, to the airport, I would seek out what decadences I could. So, I first enjoyed a dark Italian espresso machiato drink, which provided some welcome caffeine and allowed me to at least feign more energy.
Following my espresso, a perhaps counterproductive choice, I decided to have a champagne and Campari cocktail. Generally, though I love gin and other floral, herb-based liqueurs, I find Campari abrasive and overbearing; this time, perhaps due to sleep-deprived delirium and circulating adrenaline, the Campari went back smoothly and tasted delicious with the acidity of the champagne. Before I could resist, the old chivalrous bartender of the airport lounge filled my glass once again. After all, I was sitting literally right next to my gate, so I figured, there can be no harm in a second. I leave the lounge after some pleasing people watching and some poetry sketching, feeling calm and relaxed, just in time to head onto the plane for my final leg of the trip to Prague.
As I approach my gate, I noticed the television sign reads Zurich. Not Prague. Not my flight. Not my gate. Not where I need to be. I run to check the departures screen, and I learn that I need to get to the other end of the airport, and quickly. Without a single regard to whether I am slugging other passengers, particularly slow and oblivious pedestrians, with my stuffed rolling luggage, I sprint from one end of the airport to my new gate. I arrive glistening, a bit obviously, but with plenty of time to board. Apparently, my leisure in the lounge had paid off: the departure gate to Prague had been changed four or five times, and I saved myself from running all over the airport by traveling from the first to the last gate change directly.
Needless to say, after we took off, guzzling cheap champagne, and I was mesmerized by the texture of the terrain and topography of the fields and water beneath, I promptly passed out, only to be awakened by yet another mediocre plane meal and the sickeningly sweet smile of a polite flight attendant, ready with the warm towel aPost Optionsnd a cart of beverages.