deJean and deCol do not jump out of bed when summoned,
but they did this day. The only thing worse than not
being able to sleep in was missing a plane, so they
got up and got ready ASAP. The taxi would arrive at
around 11am, and they needed time to dress, have lemon
tarts AND pack.
They hauled all of their belongings
downstairs just in time for the cab's arrival. With
everything thrown into the trunk, they waved farewell
to their hosts and jumped into the cab. deCol noticed
that the cabbie almost never had his hands on the wheel.
He was busy talking on the phone, and/or talking on
the radio and/or smoking a cigarette, which didn't seem
to leave a free hand to steer. Still, he did alright,
and what a way to go, huh? In a Mercedes in Paris. The
cabbie got them to the airport in, what had to be, record
In line at the airport, deJean
and deCol were suddenly surrounded by a million American
couples, all returning from their trip to France along
with them. It was horrible. They complained about the
French people, they complained about the food, they
complained about the prices. One woman complained over
and over about how she bought a subway ticket from point
A to point C. She got off at B, went up to the city
to have lunch, and returned to the metro with the same
old ticket thinking she could get back on at B and continue
onto C. And they wouldn't let her, they made her buy
another ticket. Who knows. Who cares.
Normally, deJean and deCol would
have politely excused themselves with some story of
how they are expected somewhere across town, and are
already late. Must go, bye bye. But they were trapped
in a line. They couldn't leave. They both instinctively
made sure not to make eye contact with the folks around
them, but somehow still managed to invite whining from
the other people in line.
With the huge luggage carts and
carry on's and whatnot, it was hard for deCol and deJean
to stand together. When it was there turn in line, deCol
went first, with her two wheelie suitcases, followed
by the huge luggage cart, followed by deJean. The man
asked deCol, in what had to be the thickest French accent
ever, a question. In fact, he asked her the same question
roughly four times. She couldn't understand a word he
said and looked desperately at deJean for a translation.
For deJean to move up to hear what the man was saying,
he'd have to push deCol out of range with the luggage
cart, which he did. The man and deJean stood there conversing
very seriously. deJean is shaking his head no. The man
refers to deCol and again deJean shakes his head no.
Now deCol has to know what they are talking about, and
puts down her wheelie luggage and makes her way past
the luggage cart and up to them both in time to hear
the man say "...guns or knives?" and without
thinking, deCol emphatically, and in her worst French
accent, said "AH, NON!!!"
All conversation stopped, and
the man looked at deCol. deCol looked at deJean. deJean
looked at the man and the man looked at deJean and he
started to laugh hysterically. Punch drunk with fatigue,
deCol and deJean begin laughing, too. Soon, the three
of them are doubled over, tears streaming out of their
eyes, with the man putting "passed inspection"
stickers all over the luggage and repeating over and
over "AH NON!!!" just the way deCol had said
it. This little scenerio attracted a lot of confused
glances from everyone else in line.
Their flight home was uneventful
except for the couple in front of them who slammed their
seats back even before the plane took off. There was
nothing to do, and nothing to watch, so deCol was watching
a woman make a phone call on the inflight phone. She
kept saying hello, HELLO?, louder and louder. She glanced
around to see if anyone was disturbed by this, as she
still couldn't hear the person she had just dialed.
deCol indicated to her that if she turned the phone
around, so that the receiver was near her ear, maybe
she'd hear something. Oh yes, that works much better,
the woman said.
So they returned to New Jersey,
and then later deJean returned to New York. And they
promised each other to Do It Again Sometime!