My husband and I are infrequent fliers. So, when we do take off on a trip, the chaos of the airports never ceases to amaze and terrify me.

We just got back from a wonderful journey to Italy, sporting a case of the sniffles coupled with persistent jet lag. How does Queen Elizabeth do it? I guess she doesn’t cram her royal being into the middle seat of the five-seat row where using the rest room is an exercise in strategic planning. 

. My boarding pass informed me that I had an hour and a half to get to the proper gate to connect me to the plane for London. So, in preparation for the long flight, I visited the rest room. However, coming out of the facility I took a right instead of a left to the waiting room where my husband was waiting for me. Now, at any given moment, on any given day (this was a Tuesday) there at least a billion people rushing madly around the Rome airport and I was thrown into the thick of it, looking frantically for signs to Gate 32. I found it but it looked different, and my husband wasn’t there. Panic was just starting to take hold when I realized my gate was 23 and that’s why my husband wasn’t at 32. I found him worriedly searching the crowds, just as our flight was called. We made it.

Heathrow Airport in London is, and has been for quite some time, undergoing major reconstruction. This involves shuttling passengers all over the place by moving sidewalk, stationary sidewalk, a cute little train, and a jam-packed bus that seemed to take a leisurely tour of the city before depositing us at the correct terminal.

There we came upon a security checkpoint that I didn’t remember being there before, but we had a whole hour to make our connection. The checkpoint line involved a billion people trying to keep the line moving while balancing items to go through the check, and this with our shoes off.

I always get searched because I have fake knees and they set the alarms to beeping and shrieking when my titanium body parts try to get by. (I don’t mind because I want them to do their job when the wrong kind of metal is passing through).

The minutes were ticking. People were running. We

cleared the checkpoint as our flight began to board. Then over the very loud loudspeaker same a voice, “Leonardo DuCharme, please report to the main desk.”

Oh, no, I thought, it’s some guy mispronouncing my name which is legally Lorinda. (Happens all the time). I paused, and thought about checking it out for a split second.

And then I ran down the nearest down-moving escalator and muttered, “Come and get me, copper!” 

After hours and hours in the paper-clip position and only one restroom visit, I found myself in another line at the end of which was a lovely Boston Irish type who checked my passport one more time and said, “Welcome home.”