Friday, January 18, 2008

GUEST BLOGGER: Maria Berry Returns

We booked Maria for a 2-blog performance, so here she is, back for her second number at the Piňon Tree. People, let’s give a warm welcome once again to Maria Berry. ~valerie

Well, I consulted my muse for subject matter and inspiration for this second guest appearance. Alas. My muse is apparently on vacation. Next I looked to the god of blogs for a topic (he’s called Glog in cyber mythology, I believe). Likewise, no response. Finally, a dear friend suggested I post a tale from 2006. So, with a note of explanation that “the Bobster” is my husband and favorite traveling partner, I offer you “The Alitalia Escape.”

Bound for Rome, Wednesday, December 20. Major snowstorm in the Mountain West, five hours in the Albuquerque airport and finally a plane to take us to our Alitalia connection in Chicago, or so we hoped. “It’ll be tight,” the attendant said. “You might make it.” How reassuring.

The door opens and we’re out like a shot, on our way to the International Terminal. Hauling tail, we get to the ticket desk for boarding passes. Ticket agent (and soon-to-be guardian angel) Adriana DeSanto crinkles her brow and tells us the flight is now closed and in final boarding. Our seats have been sold, but she can still get us a couple of seats, although not together. She taps some information into the computer, looks at her watch, shuts off her station light and like a gazelle, leaps the baggage intake shelf, high heels and all, and shouts, “Follow me! You won’t make it without me!”

We’re on our way. Dragging our luggage behind us, we can barely keep up as Adriana darts skillfully through the crowds. She’s Ladanian Tomlinson headed for a touchdown.
Looming up ahead we see the dreaded security line, a snarl of humanity with carry-ons, gridlocked. “Don’t be scared,” Adriana shouts back over her shoulder. “I’m going to start yelling.” Now she’s running full bore along the security line booming, “Alitalia, Alitalia, Alitalia!” Suddenly she’s the Pied Piper. Several other straggling Alitalia passengers step out of the crowd and follow her to the security scanners. “Everybody strip,” she commands. “Coats, shoes, belts. Get cleared. Meet me over there. Move it!”

Adriana throws her shoes on the belt, blows through the scanner and plants herself at the nearby gate, still yelling, now waving, “Alitalia!” Breathless, we get through security without setting off alarms. Then, for some strange, crazed reason, the Bobster pulls from our duffle bags the two plastic baggies containing our liquids and gels and dangles them in front of a security agent. “Don’t you want to check our baggies?” he asks. I believe the Bobster has lost his mind. Earlier at an Albuquerque security point we were reprimanded for using gallon instead of quart bags and we had to give up a number of items with a warning that other agents may ask us to further lighten our load of liquids.

At this point, I grab the baggies, shove them back into the luggage, get right up in the Bobster’s face and shout, “Didn’t you learn anything at BDM? Damn it! If you don’t think you’ll like the answer, don’t ask the question.” ….a well-worn mantra at our former place of employment. Now I grab the Bobster and begin running toward the gate, all the while scolding in Dr. Phil fashion, “What in hell were you thinking?”

Finally, we’re at the gate, pulling up the rear. There stands Adriana, majestically. She’s a one-woman receiving line. She calmly takes our boarding passes, smiles and says, “Buon Viaggio.”

I love that woman!

4 comments:

Eliza said...

I wish we encountered nice airline personnel like her! Funny tale Maria.

janie said...

Great story!

Valerie said...

Thanks, Maria! I love that story, especially because I can picture Bob's innocent face while dangling that baggie!

La Casalinga said...

Now that's customer service!! It is so rare to find someone so helpful when traveling....how fortunate you were!! I think that it is awesome that she was able to do all of that for you while in high heels.