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from Savannah to NY in two shakes of a lamb’s tail

July 23, 2009

In America there are two classes of travel – first class, and with children.” (Robert Benchley)

* * *

Traveling with a one year old baby is a great way of discovering things about yourself. Endless patience, consciousness and self control prove to be the most essential attributes of this journey.

Now I’m using the Present Tense to describe the events, as they are still too fresh and vivid in my memory to be treated as passé.

* * *

First, we land in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, on our midway to New York. The airplane looks more like the “magic school bus”: small and cozy. The only thing that reminds me I am in an airplane is the small windows on both sides. Next, short but necessary connecting-flight-bureaucratic-procedures are taking place: going a little bit here and there, enjoying the atmosphere.. Boarding, at last!

The final flight seems to last forever. Exciting anticipation, mixed with the pain in my right arm (which serves as a pillow to my daughter) and general exhaustion turn naive, guileless seconds into unbearably long hours. The small window exposes a stingy square of an absolutely dark, cheerless night surface. Not a cloud or a spot of light is seen out there. It takes all my energy and optimism to take over the gloom.

* * *

The first flickering lights are cutting into my visual consciousness along with the flight attendant, whose voice is announcing the proximity of our long awaited destination.

* * *

I’d rather skip the next part that repeats itself continuously in every airport like a vicious cycle – carrying the luggage in one hand, the baby in the other; looking for an exit, missing it, coming back, going in circles looking for an elevator, laughing and cursing, soothing the baby – all the attributes of a traditional “family en route

* * *

Things have stopped surprising me quite long ago. What can be more natural than taking a cab with a Hispanic driver from the Newark International Airport in the middle of the night, flashing by the highway, watching the dance of the street lamps reflected in the side window. My time and space concepts are considerably shifted and my consciousness protects me from the disintegrating reality by putting itself into a ‘standby’ mode. Now what did surprise me a lot was the fact that the driver had to stop several times in order to pay a highway fee in cash (only!) to some wretch in a booth located in the middle of nowhere.

I’m lacking the energy to fully appreciate the glamorous view of Manhattan! The night life, generous and enthusiastic, is in its full swing: its pounding rhythm is reflected in every passer by – from scrubs to the most elegant dandies.

Ladies and Gentlemen – this is New York!

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