editor’s letter jul 2009

 

THE UNFOLDING WAY

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following’s my continuing story from last month’s chapter of BUS RIDE, A Spiritual Journey  … I told the shuttle driver, “Northwest Terminal, please.”…

The man nodded and I said, “Am I glad to see you! I need to get a flight to Grand Rapids tonight.”  …

 

At Northwest, I heaved my wheeled suitcase out of the shuttle onto a wide side-walk and pulled it to automatic glass doors under a red “Northwest” sign.  Entering, I smiled to see three dark blue- uniformed agents standing behind the counter. Pulling my suitcase to the empty ticket line I asked, “Do you have a flight to Grand Rapids tonight?”

The man searched his computer screen. He nodded, “Yes, #379 departs at 10:39.”

Sleep-deprived and weary, I no longer had a sense of time’s passage and scanned the nearly empty gray-tiled area for a clock.

Watching me the uniformed man offered, “It’s 9:30.”  

My head spun. An hour ago I was at the Greyhound Station!

As the man in navy blue tapped his keyboard, I relaxed. I’m almost there.   Remembering the hundred dollar connection flights I’d seen on Orbitz I asked casually, “How much is it?”  

Without looking up the agent replied, “$212.00.  How are you going to pay?”

“$212.00… $212.00.” The empty gray tiled floor echoed his words.  I closed my eyes and took a breath. I’ve come this far. There’s no place to go but ahead. 

 

I swallowed hard and I lifted the flap on my purse.  Reaching for my billfold, I replied, “Discover.”

Handing him the silver plastic card, I recalled how the wavy- haired woman at Alamo had asked me twice, “Do you have a reservation?” Since I needed a rental for my visit I said, “I also need a rental car in Grand Rapids. Can you get me Alamo’s number? ” 

The agent knit his brows over his computer screen, “I don’t have it.”

“Do you have a phone book?” I persisted as minutes ticked toward departure time. 

The agent’s mouth was in a line. He muttered, “… darn screens…won’t print…” 

“Please!  Can you help me get the Alamo number?”

Still fussing with his computer, he hollered at two  uniformed girls standing  at the far end of the ticket counter talking to each other, “Can you find this lady Alamo’s number?”

They stopped chatting and looked at the man. The taller girl disappeared. On top of finding transportation and unexpected travel costs, my bladder complained, responding to the Sweet Tea I drank before I reached Detroit.  Oh-oh. Time to find a restroom!   I added that need to my list.  But first things first!  Once in Grand Rapids, I’ll need a car. Buses don’t run after 10:00.

Plunging my hand into my carry-all, I felt for my cell phone to call in a reservation. The girl returned from the back room shaking her head, “I can’t find a phone book.” She shrugged, “Sorry.”

        No phone book?  I frowned. They have phones but no phone-books?  I walked toward the girls and said, “I have to get Alamo’s number!  Where can I get it? I have a cell phone — who can I call?”

Suddenly the shorter gal raised a finger, “Wait a minute!”  She pulled a drawer, pushed contents around, and held up a piece of paper, “Here’s the number!” She began to recite it.

        “Wait!” 

She paused as I dug in my purse for a pen. Holding up the white instrument, I smiled and she started again. I wrote the number on my left hand and read it back to her: 1-888-426-3304.  She bobbed her head.

 “Thank you, thank you!”  I turned to the man who was now holding up my ticket. When I rolled my suitcase back to him, he tagged and swung it behind him.  Handing me the ticket he said, “Gate A-21… boarding at 10:09.” 

Finally holding tonight’s passport to Grand Rapids, I felt another jab from my full bladder. Oh, oh.  The female agents still stood together, but when I approached them again they looked over. I called, “Which way to Gate 21?”   The taller agent pointed to stairs. I stepped closer and lowered my voice a little, “Where’s the nearest restroom?”

 

        Frances Fritzie 

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