Welcome to My Lebanese Dream
When all is far, and all is empty, I set sail and dock on a familiar shore, somewhere in my imagination
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
On my way back- Delta's purgatory
It took me thirty eight hours to get back from Beirut to Nashville. Why I'm writing this now instead of sinking in my warm sheets and soft pillows is beyond me.
It all started in Athens where I discovered, after waiting in line for 45 minutes, that my paper ticket was missing a connection. The problem, they said, could not be fixed from there. I had to check with a Delta agent at JFK, my first stop back in the USA. Fine. I made it to a rather expeditious security line, went through beeplessly, and headed straight to the gate where the passengers were already boarding the behemoth 747 designated to take us to the new world. I, however, quickly found out that immediate boarding was not my immediate destiny. The Delta crew, in conjunction with Athens airport security, was expecting us. It seems they got word that we were coming from Lebanon. Naturally, the level of alert turned redder than a lebanese tomato, and we were lined like cattle, our passports taken from us and stacked on a table with a fancy Dell laptop and a magnetic reader, and we were taken back for more thorough searching. By that time we were already past departure time. Again, fine. I honestly don't mind being searched. Enough bad things have happened to make the world wary, and although some will object, a thirty-some old Arab male fits a certain profile and had better be examined closely. I wasn't though. I, with my bags, was subjected to the exact same lame process I went through the first time around. The eighty-year-old woman in a wheelchair wasn't as lucky though. Her bags were searched so completely you would have sworn they were checking them for lice, and she, the poor lady, was subjected to a full body search. Now if admit to fitting a certain suspicious profile, by god, what profile does an elderly woman in a wheelchair fit into? Lebanese? Paranoia is quite alright when matters are sticky and lives are at stake. But please, have a minimum of respect for the handicapped elders, and a teeny weeny bit of "common" sense, right? Quite the tall order tough, when Athenians seem to have left knowledge and wisdom snuggled cozily in the graves of those who invented them two thousand years ago, and when Americans, especially those of the Delta type, are much better if left altogether undescribed. Anyway. The plane took off with 45 minutes of delay, which isn't too bad in the grand scheme of things, though it was quite unfortunate in the lesser scheme of things where I and the many likes of I belong. On the side, and not to make things any more comfortable than they already were, Delta's 747 in whose bosom we lay, was probably built in the early to mid sixties. Enough leg room for an over-sized toddler at best, one big screen that manages to pick up glare from Polaris on a cloudy winter night, and many small screens that fit better for modern displays of animated abstract art. Plus a long, long, eleven hour flight. Gladly, it was an excuse for me to finish two books I had been dragging through for a few months now... (to be discontinued)