Yep, that’s right, she has actually left Italy for New York. This is a trip that she has been wanting to take for years. She has an old friend there and after several attempts we finally got lift-off.
It was my duty to find her a good flight, register her with ESTA, and get her all set-up for assistance while she was in transit. I learned my lesson from past experiences with her and this time I bought the cancellation insurance and printed and highlighted everything for her in advance.
Rewind to a few days ago, Mama was packing up her things and thrusting bottles of make-up and perfume at me asking if she can put them in her carry-on. Nope, nope and nope. They were all too big. There was a lot of cursing that day as I kept repeating the same rules about liquids. Finally I just went home, grabbed a bunch of mini-travel bottles from my own travel booty and went back to her house armed with them and a zip-lock bag. She kept going on and on about how ridiculous it all was and I just kept shaking my head in agreement.
I picked her up to take her to the airport and she was asking me if her phone would work in New York. I’m thinking how should I answer that? She doesn’t even have a plug converter! She was all decked out in an enormous fur coat…at least she will be warm enough. She was also sporting a neck-brace, you know, the kind you wear after getting into a car accident. She said it was comfortable…ummm, ok. I loaned her my thinsulate gloves and Russian mafia winter hat and the outfit was complete.
When we got to the airport I queued up for the next available attendant and Mama by-passed everyone and went straight to the Sky Priority gal. For the record, not only does Mama not have an air miles card, she is flying coach. I dutifully left the queue while dragging her big bags over everyone’s toes in the process…I’m sure they all loved me for that!
The attendant asked Mama if she has her ESTA.
Me: “Your ESTA for the U.S. security. Remember I registered you online and printed out the information for you, I told you to keep it with your itinerary, where is it?”
Mama: “No capito niente.”
Me: “The pages I gave you where are they????”
Mama: “Oh that, I left it at home”
Me: “Why? Oh never mind…”
Attendant: “Is she registered then?”
Me: “Yes, I did it myself two months ago”
Attendant: “Ok, they will see it in their computers then”
Afterwards, we were told to wait in a certain area so someone could assist Mama to her gate. But Mama had other ideas…a cigarette and coffee. So she asked a total stranger to watch her bag for her!
Of course she got a scolding from me, for all the good it did, and then I rolled her bag to the coffee bar. A few minutes later we returned to the waiting area and everyone was gone. Good thing she didn’t leave her bag there! She told me there was nothing important to steal in it anyway but you should have seen how wide her eyes got when I told her that someone could have used her unattended bag to slip drugs or worse, a bomb in there.
She doesn’t speak any English and wrote her destination address on a piece of paper for the taxi driver. I pray that her friends will be there to greet her…
Look out New York, here comes MAMA!