Dateline: Somewhere off the coast of Russia, 8:20 p.m. West Coast time, August 2.
Where the hell is Mrs. O’Leary when you need her? I needed her this morning. When I left Brazil, she came to my hotel room and provided the invaluable service of making decisions for me. “How can I help?” she asked. “Just tell me what to do,” I said, my pride stowed neatly in my carryon handbag with my honkin’ jewels, medical records, and 10 ml. liquids in tiny, transparent bottles. She then poured me some of her husband’s 18 year old scotch to help soothe my fraying nerves.
With the help of a bellboy, Mrs. O’Leary helped me to the lobby of the hotel where we waited for the large passenger van to arrive to transport me, Nilda, and my children to the airport in Sao Paulo. After waiting 15 minutes for the van, I inquired of the concierge if they knew of the whereabouts of our ride.
“Could it be that bus parked out there?” he asked.
“Surely you jest,” I replied. “I asked for a 10 passenger bus. That looks like a Greyhound.”
Sure enough, the 35 passenger bus was all ours. The driver had not thought to look for the family of five nor we a bus bigger than the Partrdige Family’s. Mrs. O’Leary and I laughed maniacally for 10 minutes, a sort of uncontrollable laugh seizing us so hard we could hardly breathe to tell the driver to load the luggage.
“You must have really scared your husband,” she said, clicking her camera at full speed.
Mrs. O’Leary then said some really nice things which made me cry all the way to the airport.
Contrast that stylish exit with today’s. The house closed up for the next 10 months, The Bear drove the 5 of us, 6 pieces of luggage, a guitar, and 7 carryons to the airport in our minivan. My mother and sister had the wisdom to join Middle Sister on a trek to her 20th high school reunion in Hippieville, Northern California and so had left the day before. Uncle Dunc very nicely met us at the airport with our other 5 pieces of luggage.
Having made a career of saying good-bye, the job gets harder with each departure. This morning I bit the head off the one person who asked how he could help (Thing 2) in a Joan Crawford/Mommy Dearest moment and issued an edict to my loved ones declaring Mr. Understanding to be the “Go To Parent”. Instead of cutting me a wide swath, Mr. Understanding was less than; we nearly came to blows over a TSA controlled conveyor belt regarding the speed with which one must progress through the security obstacle course of removing and replacing shoes, laptops, belts and brains. Mr. U and I have gotten so used to traveling without each other that instead of helping each other, we get in each other’s way. Good Lord. Even Ike had Mamie. Unless I am moving to Angola next, I think I’ll spare us all and wing it by myself, with God as my co-pilot.