If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

07 August 2006

Pickup Lines

Seven long weeks on the road. And in that time, I am confident that I have learned more - about myself and others – than I am able to catalog here in one fell swoop. It shall suffice to say that while I am happy to be standing still for a while again, that in some important ways I am a changed person.

When travel does not teach us something about ourselves, we should stop doing it.

In the life of a traveler, the airport is a critical gateway; a necessary evil. We have learned the fastest routes, the secret efficiencies, the subtle crispness of communication that separates road warriors from leisure travelers. We are a subset of the traveling population, those of us who travel professionally. The swoony honeymoon couple, the young family going to visit the inlaws, the kids on spring break, the woman going home to care for a sick parent or the young protegee on his first business trip: we, the class of professional road warriors, wear different game faces than these people. We do not have to be prompted to remove our blazer/shoes/laptops/cellphones; indeed the routine of it is almost welcome to us. Our mask is the shared, weathered and resigned, “seen-almost-everything” look. And on those rare long trips when we can’t do carryon only, we claim our bags and head wearily and efficiently, drawn mysteriously with an eerie sense of rote memorization, to the taxi line.

Except for the times when we don’t. When we can skip the taxi line.

Travel Luxury Number One: the airport pickup.

While there were others in between, notably and perhaps karmically (shhh! The universe is sending messages and I’m straining to listen), my trip was “bookended” - upon arrival in the US and then on the occasion of my return to Rome – by the rare luxury of airport pickups. At the beginning and the end of my trip, I was met by someone who had gone out of his way to put his own life on “pause” (ridiculously late at night or early in the morning) so I did not have to suffer the grave indignity of mass transportation hauling luggage. (To Mr. Hospitality and Sgr. Luna Piena, I offer my humble and most genuine thank you.)

Those "bookend" pickups stood out for me. They taught me that there are two kinds of people who meet you at the airport: the very best of lifelong friends - those with a shared history who genuinely care about your wellbeing and who know that you would repay the favor in an instant without even blinking twice. And those who are completely and utterly enamored by / infatuated with you.


The stability of an old friend who you know will be there with you through anything.

The adventure, unpredictability, and excitement of total-if-slightly-irrational infatuation.

In my sappy romantic heart, I believe that out there somewhere, there exists the guy who is the perfect combination of both. And, I say to myself, "Self: pay attention to the signs here. When the guy meeting you at the airport is THAT guy, the guy who can simultaneously be the best friend AND totally and completely infatuated with you, (“Did you really think that I’d be the guy who just pulls up out front? That I’d be cheated out of our hello?”), THAT guy is one worth fighting for."

Yes, I am blissfully happy to be standing still in Bella Toscana again. But the next time I have to get on a plane, I really hope... I would be luckier than I deserve to be to have THAT guy picking me up on the other end.

And if he turns out to be a fantasy figment of an overtraveled imagination, don't you worry, I'm a professional: I've always got taxi fare.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you are home safe and sound. Miss you already,
Unassuming Princess

6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you know, if That Guy does drive you to or from the airport it will only be at the beginning of the relationship. Eventually things will move on and one day you will find yourself asking him, "Why don't you take me to the airport anymore."

Welcome home.


9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you'll say, let's forget the airport. Staying at home with you is far more important than anything else I need/want/have to do. That's when you know it's the real deal. Having found that, I hope everyone on planet Earth does, too.

3:45 AM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

DB: golly, THAT's a cheery thought. Yeah, yeah: "you don't bring me flowers, you don't sing me love songs." Seriously, how did you catch that pessimist streak?!?

You raise a good question though: why do we begin to take people for granted? Is it laziness or overexposure? And speaking of diseases, is there a cure?

Worthy questions. BUT, would it have killed you to just leave me to the fantasy, for a WHILE at least before tearing it into tiny pieces and swallowing it to erase the evidence?

So, Buzzkill, how about you help hold up the end of the bargain of men everywhere: take that cute wife of yours flowers tonight ... maybe daisies even ... and NOT because you're apologizing for anything.

Bet you'd at least get lucky. And isn't THAT worth an airport pickup, or $9.95 on a bunch of flowers?

Things that make us go hmmmmm, indeed.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How disappointed I am you would mistake such an obvious movie quote for an uncharacteristically pessimistic view on love.

And now so as to not look like a schmuck in front of the blog-world I will bring my bride flowers tonight. Even with no possibility of getting lucky (as it were for the next 4-6 days). TMI

For the record, I NEVER give flowers when I'm in trouble. To do so taints all random flower-giving opportunities.


10:48 PM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Definitely TMI.

It's amazing. You look like a normal person, but actually you are the angel of death.

(Give me a little credit!)

The point DOES still stand. And I'm glad that Mrs. DaisyBoy is getting flowers out of the deal.

Love ya. -V.

10:57 PM  
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