Monday, October 29, 2007

Twenty-four hours

That’s how long it took, from when we left Szolnok at 3am Saturday morning, to when I arrived at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport at 9pm Saturday night. Random thoughts from along the way:

Friday noon: I just now started packing. What can I bring? I can’t get over the feeling that this is like so many weekend trips, that I’ll just going a couple hours, a couple hundred kilometers away, and I’ll be back on Monday to my normal life.
This is the first time I’ve ever been scared to fly. I mean, scared to die in some horrible accident. Is my life really so great now that I’m scared to lose it? Apparently.

Friday afternoon: Everything in me is pulling me against this trip. I don’t want to travel. I don’t want to be in Minnesota. I don’t want to see my parents. I’m trying like hell, but so far there’s not a single real thing that I’m looking forward other than coming back to Szolnok. The closest thing I’ve got is that it’ll be fun to shop for gifts for people.

Friday evening: Is it strange that in the school today, almost everyone who wished me a good trip ended their wishes with “and come back!”? I’d like the know the story behind that. I mean really, what the hell, who didn’t come back??

Saturday morning, way too early: Standing in the first of many lines, the Budapest customs. I stand in the wrong line for ten minutes before moving to the non-EU passports line. The woman behind me is going crazy with the wait, and repeats “Hát, az hihetetlen” dozens of times, accompanied by repeated trips to the front of the line to harass the poor customs workers.

Saturday, Frankfurt: I’m sitting in a lounge, waiting the three hours until my next flight will be shown on the monitors. There are two flights listed back to Budapest. I wonder how easy it would be to change my ticket. I wonder what would happen to my checked luggage.

Saturday, several hours later but still in Frankfurt: Jebus, I’d forgotten how much security you have to go through on America-bound flights. After being patted down, none too gently, by a surly security guard, at the gate I am questioned within an inch of my life by the American Airlines security. They ask me all the normal questions (who packed your bags, have you accepted any gifts, what electronics are you carrying) plus some bordering on too-personal: where did you spend last night, who was with you, who drove you to the airport and how well do you know him, what nationality... etc. The man questioning me sweetly keeps apologizing for being so personal, but also tells me how it’s happened several times that bombs have been found on board. Gee, how reassuring. All I can think is that after all this trouble, I’m going to be DOUBLE-pissed if this plane goes down.

Still Saturday, and again several hours later, now in Chicago: how is this possible: I’ve gone through security three times, for two international flights, including the American Airlines Super-Security. But boarding a one-hour domestic flight from Chicago to MSP is where they finally confiscate my water bottle, and the first time I’m asked to remove my shoes. The man asking me to take them off uses a voice like, “duh, haven’t you ever flown before?” and I want to snap back with “Look, idiot, I’ve flown farther today that you’ll ever travel in your sad state-bound life, and what the hell makes you think anyone would choose to target this poor excuse for a puddle-jump flight? Get over yourself, you self-important bastard.” Perhaps I’m starting to get a bit testy with jet-lag.
PS - sitting in the waiting room for the Chicago-MSP flight, I am so the skinniest person there. Seriously, I look like a model next to these people. Ha ha ha, sweet.

Yet still Saturday (almost over), finally in Minneapolis/St. Paul: I arrive on time. I recognize my family (good thing Sam’s a head taller than everyone else). We drive home and already I’m slipping back into Minnesota. Still not sure about this. We’ll see.

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