After the cab to the Barcelona airport, we hustled inside, hoping to beat the large crowd of obviously American high school students who were filing in. Happily, they were not on our flight, and not on our airline. By virtue of some frequent flier gimmick we got a VIP security experience. The ticket agent handed us little strips of paper that said “VIP Security.” Everyone went into this funnel for a security check, but when we showed our little passes the person standing there officially, courteously, urgently, waved us farther down the building. There was a different security checkpoint for us. It was expedited.

Which was great, because we’d arrived two-and-a-half hours early and now we could spend our time in the terminal, surrounded by other travelers, including a woman who couldn’t stop coughing. And some old people from Atlanta who, I gather, spent the bulk of their time in Spain complaining about Spain. And there was a long line for a sandwich snack, and a woman doing Spanish chamber of commerce type surveys, and a young woman who looked too young to be traveling alone. She was traveling alone. I am now old enough to see people and think “Isn’t this person too young to be going on an international flight by themselves?”

I’d expect that from other people, but, remember, I am daily surrounded by young people in a professional capacity. I can no longer discern these things, it seems. It isn’t a big deal, or something I would ordinarily do anyway, but I had the time, because I am a member of the VIP Security experience.

We flew from Barcelona to JFK. I watched four movies, including the Oscar winning Everything Everywhere All at Once. It’s silly. It’s gross. It’s poignant. Some of it is going to feel dated very quickly, so see it before, you know, the all at once happens.

I also watched Devotion, because Jonathan Majors is in it. It was a decent enough movie to watch on a plane.

Then there was Nomadland, which I’ve been meaning to watch, and, again, this was a good time and place for it. Frances McDormand is so, so great at doing all of the little things in a big way, and the few big things in the right way.

Then there was Paddington 2, a movie franchise which I enjoy much more than I probably should.

I had a scratchy throat in New York, and peppermints wouldn’t touch it. Started going downhill after that. At JFK, I stood in the incredibly inefficient passport control line for almost two hours. Global entry, go right through. If you have scanned your passport into this app (what could go wrong?) go right through. You might stand there long enough to think they’re trying to inconvenience people who aren’t paying the premium fees. That would be a quintessentially American thing to do, wouldn’t it?

Everything else worked well, though. We collected our luggage, deposited it with another desk. Stood in more long security lines. Got on a plane for Indianapolis, and so on.

On the one hand, we covered 4,454 miles — as the crow flies — today. On the other hand, it took 27 hours to get from the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean back to … Bloomington.

Unloaded the car, took a Covid test — I’m sick, but negative. Had a later takeout dinner, and started the unpacking process. I’ll spend the weekend coming down from jet lag and whatever sinus cold I’m getting.

Another wonderful vacation is in the books!

Comments are closed.