It’s a Small World After All…
Singing the song in your head? Good. That’s you and me now. I am sitting in the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany, waiting FIVE HOURS for our connecting flight (how did I not notice this?) to Vienna and having a cappuccino. Let me tell you about our trip thus far. Even though it was just one, boring, ass-numbing, Transatlantic flight, things have already happened on this vacation.
I’m not one to talk about work on my blog any more than I am a Reference librarian at a public library in South Florida. I don’t mention bosses or coworkers. But I will tell you about two library patrons that have been regulars over the past 10 years or so. They are mother and daughter and both named Frances.
France the Elder is short, wears a lot of makeup and perfume, and loves to try and bargain her way out of trouble. She’s always complaining that things didn’t “print right” no matter how many times I’ve explained about Print Preview and demands her money back. She never gets it.
Frances the Younger is taller than her mother, wears more lipstick (if that is even conceivable) and is a champion at bickering with her mother. In short, they drive each other bonkers, and me by proxy. Every time they are in the library they sit at the computers and look up relics and shrines in Italy. They are extremely devout Catholics, but always looking for a way to worm their way out of trouble or into a better deal.
So imagine my surprise today when shortly after arriving at Miami International Airport I saw the back of Frances the Elder’s head go by in a wheelchair pushed by a Skycap. I think I gasped pretty loudly (which is probably not the best thing to do in an airport these days) and pointed furiously at the carefully coifed head of the old lady. “Oh my GOD.” I said to Kosta. “It’s Frances. F—-.”
He couldn’t see her head, but he did catch a glimpse of her pink-striped shirt, a familiar polyester mainstay of her wardrobe. We were walking a little faster, trying to catch up so we could gawk at the busybody herself. When all of a sudden a second wheelchair comes blasting past us and who should be in it but Frances the Younger.
I was flabbergasted. For you see, neither one has need of a wheelchair. They are both spryly ambulatory and I was appalled that they were having two young men push them through the crowds. What the hell?
Oh, but then? Their wheelchair status shot them directly to the front of the TSA security line. My eyes narrowed and my hands clenched into fists. Those little shits, completely fine, used the wheelchairs to get themselves bumped to priority status. Very Christian indeed.
They whipped through security and I saw the backs of them recede and I let out my breath. At least they were gone, right? Oh hell no. They were sitting at our damn gate, as happy as you please, waiting comfortably for their flight. My flight. Our flight.
And then I saw the Younger Frances in the wheelchair again, her mother standing by. And damn if they also weren’t the first two people on that airplane. I stood there, watching dumbly as they once again used a false handicap to get themselves more priority status.
I think what pissed me off the most was my grandmother spent decades in a wheelchair as a paraplegic. She needed extra help when flying and other things as well. But to fake your condition to purposely get special favors is the worst kind of despicable in my eyes.
This was when a terrible thought struck me. We were sitting in the back of the plane and would no doubt have to walk right past them during boarding. If they spotted me they’d exclaim in surprise and gush about what a small world it is and want to chat. Which was a problem since I wanted to slug both of those cheating mugs. Thankfully, they were both absorbed in something that had them both looking in their laps when I strode right on by, letting out a breath of relief as I passed them. Probably close to the last two people on earth I would want to see.
However, this was not actually so bad. It might even be a sign of good things. In the book I am trying to get published right now I used a mother/son team of patrons at the library as the comic relief in my book. I’ll tell you more about them someday. And the two Frances’? They are on deck to be the comic relief in the sequel. Perhaps this is the Universe’s way of telling me I’ll need to do close character studies in the near future?
At this end of the flight, they were the first off the plane again, I imagine. And they have disappeared. However, I just wonder if I shall be appalled to find them sitting at the gate of my connecting flight when we arrive. Stranger things have happened. Especially while traveling.