The hotel staff treat us like family - it's lovely seeing them each year.
Last night I went down and got a whiskey and asked T if he would kindly change my taxi to 5:30am.
I like to have a lot of time at the gate looking at my airplane. And the airport has free wifi - it's a good time to catch up on things.
He forgot to move the car, I stumbled out of bed, packed my last few things and made my way downstairs. The Algerian fellow who was out all week was in and delighted to see me. There was a mix-up with the car and he righted it. He gave me all his news (I asked). His father has died, it was very difficult. But then he became slightly gleeful as he told me his father left him his house and he will sell it and change his life. All of us, we are nothing, not the educated, not the wealthy or powerful, we are all nothing. Even Alexander The Big, he was nothing. We all end up in the same place. With this sobering news my taxi arrived and I sped off into the fog for my plane. My check-in was fast and smooth until security where they spotted a tiny bit of liquid cleanser in my bag and my bandage scissors, which I had forgotten I had in my carry on. While they were wiping down my bag looking for explosives I realized I had forgotten my travel pillow in the hotel. I thought of the Algerian. We are all nothing. This is nothing, though I am sad to lose it. I used it most when I was home from the hospital a year and a half ago. I'm trying to look at it as the end of an era.
I'm sitting at my gate, looking at my plane and thinking of how small we are.
I had forgotten that the German police randomly select people, bring them to an enclosed area and...I don''t know what they do. Interview them? re-check their papers?
They've just chosen the German family next to me who seemed to take it in stride and happily go.
I think if they chose me I might cry...and that might be the end of my scissors.
I keep thinking of my Algerian hotel-friend.


Paola said…
We are indeed nothing.
But we all forget.
You must be crossing the ocean right now.
Safe skies sweet bird.

PS Is there a trick with the colour that changes on the sides? Colours, bright blue, red!
Judith said…
You're probably home by now, and I hope it was a very uneventful trip with welcoming family and a glass of wine waiting on the other end :)

I did come by your booth, but only made it there in the afternoon (and to the fair itself in fact – my sunday plans went overboard), and there was just a tidy pile of boxes. Would've been so neat to meet you in person, but alas, that'll have to wait another year now. As long as you keep writing that'll tide me over ;)

Funny, I just realized that you must've been at the airport at the same time as my parents and sister. My parents are going to Florence for a few short days, and my sister took them to the airport so they wouldn't have to worry about their car or train-connections or so, and to just be there, because they never fly and it's also nice to be seen off. We all saw each other yesterday, and it dawned on me that we're getting to the point of role-reversal, with us kids fussing over our parents so they have everything and are prepared properly, putting map-apps on their phones and bringing plug-adaptors they probably won't need. They are even staying in an apartment we found for them over airbnb, and they love that because they enjoy cooking for themselves and not sticking to hotel schedules for breakfast.

I'm sorry you forgot your pillow. Yes, it's a small thing when compared to important matters, but our lives are made up of small pieces, they are the structures we weave our experiences around. And it was a source of comfort during a time when you sorely needed that. That does matter.
I hope it's not weird offering that, but it's possible I'll have an assignment in Frankfurt this week (not sure yet). I could drop by there and pick it up and send it (not sure how expensive that is though) or just tuck it away in cupboard somewhere until the next book fair. So you'll know it's not *gone*.

Uh, so that got long… I don't write often, be it commenting or in forums, but watch me ramble on when I do :)
Anonymous said…
I'm kind of sobered by this post. What a perspective. Especially in light of your stuff left behind.
kt said…
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