Alarm buzzes at 6:55 am and I silence it in that hurried waking moment. Just getting light over here as I dress for downstairs. Pierce is at the kitchen table having his morning tea. “You know I can take you to Dublin” he exclaims. “Yes, I know” I reply. We had planned to take the 8:30 am bus from Portliose but I relent and it is silently assumed that we will get a lift in to the airport. Make coffee, take Rose her cup but this time she is up packing the suitcase for a final leg.
Slowly wake up and play with the phone, Helen comes down and comments on the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, followed by Michael who claims he smelled it at the gate. Finally roll out at 8:40 and head out. Robots, that’s traffic lights, are backed up in Abbeyleix which provides for local banter. Find the E-20 motorway outside Portlaoise and settle in for the 120 KM/hr ride up to Dublin 90 Km away. 30 K out we get signs indicating slow traffic at J9, the Naas exit. Sure enough we slow to a crawl and bumper to bumper for the next 20 minutes. This is starting to look like the 405 in LA and sure enough there is an accident clearing to the left shoulder as we pass by, just like the 405.
Intersect left onto the M50 circular motorway around Dublin and I scrounge my pockets for the 3.10 toll. “What you doing that for” asks Pierce and he proceeds to enlighten me that it is all electronic, take a photo of your license plate and hey, you have a bill to pay. Roll into Terminal 2 at 10:05 am with what seems like plenty of time to spare for our 12:30 pm flight. The United check-in is unbelievably empty and as quip about no lines I am told that most have already checked in. Head up to security and we get through with a short wait and keep our shoes on. OK, now it’s on to USA immigration and customs done here at DUB airport.
What? Another TSA security back-to-back with the DUB one? Shut-up Andre and take your shoes off, as we go through the rigmarole all over again. Into the immigration queue which, for the US citizens line, is automated kiosks. Answer all those; carrying $10,000 cash and no meat in my luggage questions only to be dumped into a third line for a real person customs check. He doesn’t do much good other than cause congestion and we are finally free only to be faced with a sterile gate 400 and above departures hall. I go looking for a Smithwicks while Rose buys the last tchotchke’s. Find a true to form sterile little counter with either Guinness or Carlsberg on tap. Settle for Carlsberg as we succumb to the civilized world.
It had taken us 1 hr, not bad as I keep half an ear open for flight UA 127 to Dulles and wish the Delta flight to Atlanta would just bugger off rather than keep paging for their last, lost?, passengers.
Carlsberg goes down with a welcome and we saunter down to gate 423 on the first call. Doors close 10 minutes early and we push back – great, should be a good flight. Seems to taxi around half of Dublin before he finds the runway and guns the engines for takeoff at 12:45 pm or so. Where did those extra 25 minutes go to?
Settle in, you know what it’s like, squashed & crowded but we get free wine from the drinks cart and that soothes our minds. Lunch is chicken for me and veggies for Rose and we settle down to our individually customized movies. I pick a trashy thriller called “Wild Card” – welcome back to the real world.
Halfway through the PA comes on and they ask for “Any medical personal on board” as I smirk and look at Rose. Never fails when she is on a flight. She does not budge as a couple of women, nurses?, make their way aft. Maybe she will sit this one out I think but seconds later she gets up and says something about “going to see if we’re going to get diverted” and disappears down the aisle.
My trashy movie ends and I head back to see what’s up, anyway I need to pee. A 70 year old is lying in the galley with an oxygen mask on. “He drank two bottles of wine and passed out” Rose tells me. “We’re just monitoring him and don’t plan to divert”. Good, I do my business, find my seat and start penning this missive.
Early into Dulles airport in Washington DC but that is of no use as we are all told to stay seated while the paramedics decide what to do with the medical emergency. Finally bring him out in a wheelchair and the rest of us can deplane. We have about 90 minutes to get on our LAX flight and look for something to eat before boarding – no free meals on this one. The food availability in these airport terminals always seems so nonenticing. Settle for some sandwiches and Starbucks coffee that Rose has been longing for and head for the departure gate.
Final leg of a long multi-leg flight is always an endurance for me. I’m tired, jet-lagged and just want to get home. with plenty of squirming in my seat we finally get dumped out into LAX terminal 7 and guess what; our bags made it too! Final insult is a long wait for a taxi but “Tir na Nog”, our house, welcomes us home as we shower and head for bed in familiar surroundings.