I'm grateful for my laptop computer. I'm grateful that it enables me to stay in touch with family and friends, that it houses old letters, keeps my life organized, keeps my heart pumping with the fabulous music it carries, and is generally a good companion.
I'm even MORE grateful for the people who converged together with the universe to return it to me safely yesterday. The saga goes a little something like this:
So I hardly slept two nights ago, regardless of the fact that I had all day to pack up my worldly possessions, the procrastinator in me seems to stubbornly refuse to start the ritual at a sane hour - I'm pretty sure it's something to do with avoiding my nagging luggage knowing that it means the security lines are only hours away. But I did it. (They're not even too overweight this time!) I shut my glorious book at 4:30 am and perhaps I fell asleep soon after? The annoying, antagonistic alarm performs its dastardly duty at 7:30 am, right on time: GREAT! GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!!! It's TRAVEL DAY!
I make it out the door, reveling in the short passport control line, board the plane and upon sitting in my seat, I actually feel kind of awake; so I take the opportunity to pull out my computer to work, putting it in the pouch in front of me, and, knowing it would be a few minutes before I could turn it on, lay my head back "just for a minute" and am out COLD! GONE! DONE! Finito! Before I know it - we're landing. "That was fast," I think to myself.
I get off the plane in London - Heathrow, mind you, with it's maze of 1,459 terminals, and began sniffing out my next step. Sure enough - I'm parked in Terminal 1 and need to catch the bus to escort me to Terminal 3. Of course, with a new terminal brings MORE security! GIO-O-O-O-IR!!! One nice surprise presents itself: apparently in London the need to take your laptop OUT of the bag and to take your shoes off are no longer necessary! I'm secretly jumping for joy in the knowledge that FINALLY airport security big-wigs have begun to see the complete waste of time and energy that rigmarole was! I'm a happy traveller! "Isn't this nice? It speeds things along, makes everything go more smoothly - this is turning out to be a very easy, stress-free trip! Beautiful!
Passing through security, loving the easy flow of traffic, I think, "How wonderful I don't have to lug my lapt....my...um. Hmm. Wait. My lap....tooooo...OH NO!!! OH (insert curse words of every romantic language here________that's right, even the ones that talk about your mother!) OK. Wait. Stop. Think.
Right. OK. My laptop is still sleeping soundly in its cozy little pouch on BMI Flight #146, Seat 3A. Right. OK.
What occurs next happens in that funny existential plane of running while FEELING as if you and everything around you is moving only in sloooo-moooootion - all the thinking, all the moves, you name it:
*SOMEONE HELP ME!!!! WHAT THE (again, insert the words of your choice here, I sure did!) _____ do I do? There is NO way that laptop is still on that plane, OR if it IS, then that plane is surely on its way to Istanbul....
*Joyce - stay calm, panicking will only make matters worse!
*Find an information booth.
*"Must go back to terminal one...lost computer..."
(Smiling, "poor thing" looks come over the helpless information booth workers.)
"Yes, must go back...HOW?"
*Back on the bus to Terminal 1. I am the only one on the bus, and we sit for TEN minutes (again, in slo-motion, this feels like the Bush presidency - NEVER ending!)
*Mental slideshow begins without ability to pause it: calendar...music...PHOTOS...my husband's LETTERS...surely they're ALL gone. (and yes, I do back up my files, but I'm not thinking that rationally here!)
*OK: time to think positive!
*BACK through security (apparently in the last 15 minutes at this airport they've discovered something about terrorism, because in THIS terminal, it IS mandatory to take shoes off - I shove to the back burner the logic arguments here.
*Trying not to scream to the security guard, "WHEEEEEERE'S THE BMI DESSSSSSSK???"
"Wish me luuuuuuck - I have to find my laaaaaap - tooooooppppp!!!"
"Good luck...." (I smile thinking that she really was sincere! Lovely!
*BMi Desk. (PLEASE be nice, please be nice and EFFICIENT! Work a miracle here, guy!)
Voila - a very nice guy - and he smiles at me.
"Please be my angel today!!! blah blah blah...."
"Give me 5 minutes"
*He's back in 3.
*It's BACK!! It's BEAUTIFUL! It WORKS!!! See? There ARE wonderful good people in the world who do all the right things. They didn't STEAL it! I am a very happy person.
*Back on the train, back through security: this time, there are two lines - one of the line's leaders is yelling to TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES", the other line - no shoes off required. Please allow me to just vent for one moment and laugh (cry?) at the ridiculousness of that. I know the security people are just doing their job, but it is ALL so COSMETIC, and that is a most disheartening thing. These lines were LITERALLY 10 feet apart adhering to completely different 'safety measures'. I've always felt these 'measures' were, essentially, simply for show, but this was just a gross demonstration of that. But, hey, there were, thankfully, no incidences that day, so I suppose it all went according to plan!
*Anyway, on the way back, I see almost all the same people I saw on the way and scream, "I GOT IT BACK!!!" It was like a scene from a movie - like I was running through the corridor waving at everyone, music blaring, all of them breaking into applause and screaming "GO JOYCE, GOOOOO!!" Ok, it wasn't quite that way, it was a series of events that showed the human race at its finest - all except for the stupid (ok, let's say TIRED!) person who failed to "check their area for personal belongings before leaving the aircraft."
So in the end, I'm grateful I can post this to my blog via my AMAZING MacBOOK LAPTOP courtesy of the AMAZING PEOPLE at BMI Airlines!!! As he said upon returning this hunk of metal to me: "I'm just doing my job." Well, I'm damn happy he was so good at his job!