BWIIC Note: This post is not in pure chronological sequence … but worth looking back for a moment or two.
So … there we were… day one ( primo journo)! After an **uneventful** passage through security at ORF for almost everyone, the EGO15 team boarded a Global Airlines affiliate-carrier turbo-prop commuter plane (maybe 60 seats ?), buckled up, pushed back, taxied, took the “duty,” cobbed the throttles, rolled, reached takeoff, rotated, and lifted off en route the City of Brotherly Love for a short 5.5 hr layover prior to boarding the Airbus for Rome. Maybe a minute or two had passed before it became blatantly obvious that we had crossed paths with with the Dahli Lama (ok …Dahli Lama”ess”) of flight attendants. Although she could not quite give us all “Total Consciousness” as Bill Murray described the Lama had done for him during the famous pitchfork-in-throat-of-Danny monologue scene in Caddy Shack (the late Harold Ramis’ production of the near cult-movie classic comedy …..also produced Ghostbuster’s, Groundhog Day, & Analyze This) …she was able to make us all feel like a “million bucks” by “genuinely” loving every minute of what she did aboard the aircraft. All professional … but …ever so “real.” No one had to ask for a helping hand when it was time to try and snap a couple of Odyssey Italy Team shots. The camera sort-of just appeared in Flt Atdt Leslie V’s (actual name used with permission) hand and she captured the seldom attainable “entire team” photo. The list could go on …. but it is irrelevant/insignificant …. the message, however, was important … this could be nothing but an “Omen” of things to come …and …it was. Thank you Ms. V. … for setting the bar …. as well as the tone. But, it hardly seemed like we were headed for anything but a rendezvous with 5.5 hours of idle layover monotony.
Allora (so) …there we were …. staged in a conglomeration of rollaboards, backpacks, and Odyssey Adventurers at what is the equivalent of a cul-de-sac at “Gate 26”, in the International Departure Terminal. Our chariot to adventure …. a sleek, glistening, Airbus 330 was already nuzzled against the jetway … resting up … before her transatlantic sprint at 5:40pm. The decks of cards had yet to appear… nor had the always popular (although never …. e-v-e-r … desired) baggage cart rides shattered the calm of an otherwise sparsely inhabited terminal. And then …. yes … and T-H-E-N !!! … Along comes Capt. Landry, cordially introducing himself, explaining that he was waiting to head back home to Baton Rouge …but while waiting for his flight south … (now get this) …. “Do you think any of the students would like to go aboard your A330 and I’ll give them a tour of first class and the cockpit?” …aw c’mon …. really ! Oh for cryin’ out loud … no one just walks up out of nowhere and offers to find a supervisor …run it past TSA … get the keys to castle … and take as many of the students (and adults now pretending to be students) aboard for an up close and personal ….”ized” tour. For goodness sake … this is 2015 ..post 9/11 … ! Alan Funt is about to appear out of nowhere and roll out the old “Candid Camera” line. But …. “fact” was once again … “stranger than fiction!”
…Thank You so very much. None of use will forget this start to our adventure. Memories had been made!
(** uneventful**) Explained in near nauseating detail below
—- read on “only” if you can handle/survive/digest/put-up-with…. X-Babble (sort of like the X-Games …only different) —— with the exception of Alfredo taking advantage of his recently acquired and “purchased” TSA pre-screened status …valid for a year or more … allowing you to bypass the super long line and go to the very short pre-screen line. Allora (so) … With that … hey look at me zip past all you commoners … let em’ eat cake … glint in my eye …I sped past the Odyssey Bubbas and Bubbettes, didn’t have to place the laptop in a separate conveyance, didn’t have to etc., etc., and stepped up the “hands over your head, Ron Popeil …Spin-o-Rama, Oxy-screen, Pocket X-ray device…. jousts as Tomasina TSA was saying in a flatline monotone …. “Passengers with joint implants may not use pre-screen security services.” …Uhhh Ma’am .. Miss … Your Most Eminent TSA-ness … does that mean I have to …… “Passengers with joint implants may not use pre-screen security services.” Hands akimbo …followed by a polite … but very informative and easily comprehended … finder-point … I dragged my sorry posterior back to the “commoner” line ..which now looked like the first day sale line for the KISS concert in Appalachicola. A few (ok a lot more than a “few”) minutes later … I arrived at Check Point Deux …this time … laptop in separate conveyance … shoes, belt, liquids pouch…etc. … the whole enchilada (err uhh I mean focaccia). I entered the Oxy-screen after reporting that I had bi-lateral knee replacements .. and … then felt my ears caressed by that very professional and all-business cacophony of words… “Please step this way…” engendering those primal feelings of …. oh happy day! I guess I had neglected to mention that I also had a left hip replacement and then by this time I had collected enough glistening precipitation on my back (politically correct for sweating my brains out) that it looked like I was walking through the Oxy-Screen with a piece of fontal armor from a WWII German Tiger Tank strapped to my back. “Fred” (name changed of course) was very pleasant and shared a visual lesson on what he saw in the Oxy-screen image displayed to our left. I had to agree … the image looked like a cross between Iron Man and the slag crucible at a Pittsburg Steel Mill in the peak of production in 1943. There was “yellow” (yellow is “bad” …similar to “crossing the streams” in Ghostbusters) all over the place. Fred snapped the proverbial “finger wave” latex glove, inserted his right hand into the protective sheath and I immediately had visions of an “are you kidding me” experience staring me straight between the running lights! …. You could easily hear the gasp of air expel from my lungs as a simple, albeit thorough, pat-down …. e-x-t-e-r-n-a-l pat down…was all that followed. On I went to quickly re-thread the belt, tie the shoes, and put my world back into my pockets.
When I finally rejoined the Odyssey team …. Donato exclaimed …”Thought you were in front of all of us …what happened ?” Simple question …or… so it seemed. Not sure Donato has asked me any other …. “simple …. questions” since he innocently made that ill-fated query a couple of days ago. Let me be frank! “Wordy” in writing … “pales” in comparison to what can be unleashed when I’m spun-up … mano-y-mano … and in full-fledged “babble” Sorry Donato. It just wasn’t fair. I just couldn’t help myself.