Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Surprise! Welcome Home!

When Lucky comes into New York, her flight is two hours late, yet inspite of the delay, Alec was waiting for her( P.7).

Airports are always fascinating places with people bustling around : families crying with joy, families crying with sadness, business folk walking briskly, meeters and greeters waiting for people to be met and the lonely tourist trying not to look lonely . I loved going to the airport as a little girl; especially to receive my father, who would return home like a veritable Santa Claus. With time,however, the novelty wore off and going to the airport became routine and mundane. But, when my husband was coming home from a business trip, in the early days of our marriage, I felt some of the same excitement of my childhood and thought I'd surprise him by welcoming him at the airport.

I went well before the Scheduled Time of Arrival and watched at least three flights come in. Surprisingly enough, when the passengers from the BA flight my husband was flying on, began pouring out of the terminal building, my husband was no where in sight! This was in the days before mobile phones had entered our lives so when I waited outside for over two hours, I began to get really worried. The entire flight it seemed had left the airport and there was still no sign of him. Was he in some kind of trouble? I wondered and tried to get into the airport complex but was stopped by an unsympathetic burly policeman.

Just then I spotted a BA official walking around with a walkie talkie so I went up to him.

"Excuse me, "I said, " I'm looking for my husband . Have you seen him?"

"No," he barked back. Then he peered at me and said, " Actually so are we!"

"What do you mean ?" I said getting genuinely perplexed. " Didn't he get on the flight?"

"Yes , he did. And it seems he got off it too. And on top off it, he has walked away with Mr. X's bag!" ( Mr. X being one of the richest men in the country!)

"What? How could that happen?"

"I'd like to know that too." replied the official. " Mr. X's secretary is hopping mad and wants to get his boss' bag back."

" Well, in that case it's simple, " I said, " Let Mr. X's secretary clear my husband's bag as Mr. X's and he can drive home with me and we can exchange bags."

The airline official was clearly not impressed by my logic. "No, " he said emphatically, " Call home and ask your husband to bring back the bag and re-clear his own bag!!"

"So, can I come into the terminal building and make a call?"

He gave me a withering look and I quickly scrambled off to find a Public Phone booth nearby that worked.

At the other end, my husband was furious that I was not home waiting to welcome him with open arms. And he was even more annoyed when he found that he had mistakenly carried off a wrong bag and had to come back to the airport to clear his own baggage!

Needless to say, that was the last time I went to the airport to pick up my husband from a business trip. I also never asked him how he managed to slip past my eagle eye and go home unseen.

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