Here is the thing about being Royalty or a Former Glamour Girl; unless you have a full time staff, (uh, I do not,) which runs along beside you to carry, fluff and clear the way, you are not going to look glamorous most of the time, even though, God knows I try! (I invested in an ultra hep, army green military jacket,new high heeled motorcycle boots and wore them both with a black dress and brown leggings. It was a "LOOK!") In fact, there are times when just getting from point A to point B is downright unlovely! This is because, if you have thought about “your people”, who for me are my husband, daughters, sons-in-law, friends and grand kids, you have brought them little mementos from your travels.
My lone schlepping adventure at the Rome airport, following ten magical days in Rome and a villa in Tuscany, while trying to get home to Santa Barbara, was a vision, but NOT of the post card variety.More of the video game variety. It involved carrying three, overly stuffed, overly heavy bags and a large purse while walking what seemed like the circumference of Rome in circles, while wearing my new, high heeled boots, (the queen has her standards,) and hoisting my giant suitcase, (Which weighed-in at 30 kilos over the limit,) up a non functional escalator while carrying three additional bags, in search of the Airport Hilton where I would sleep my last night in Italy.
Needless to say, I was drenched in sweat and exhausted beyond words when I finally arrived, red-faced, at the Hilton front desk at 9:00 p m. I was up at 5:00 the next morning and thank goodness, I did not have to walk! Every inch of my body hurt! I think I would have paid any amount of money to have someone drive me. Fortunately. I got to take a shuttle to the international terminal.
When I arrived at the terminal and was all checked in and had passed through security including being patted down, I remembered that I needed to take one of the tax-free receipts for my purchases of a briefcase and wallet for Tom and a purse for me to get a refund. Being the “new” me, I decided to make the effort. (The “old” me would have said, “oh, what’s a hundred Euros!) When I got to the window the lady said we/I had to go downstairs, take a shuttle and go to another terminal, get it stamped by a customs agent and then come back and get the refund. My newly aquired wonderfulness was now in question!
There was a sweet young couple at the desk with me and we decided to go together, having been promised that we would NOT have to go through security again. Hah! We went downstairs, took the shuttle, (remember I am carrying my sparkleish carry-on, my big purse plus the big shopping bag from Florence filled with very heavy crap, (I mean treasures) There, ( big surprise,) we were directed to go through security yet again.
Remember the boots without sox? They had to come off. Okay, I thought. I can do that. Next I was waved over to a special table where the nice officer decided that I should get into my carry on and unwrap everything in it. They were baffled by my alabaster horse-heads sculpture, which I purchased in one of my “good idea-moments." The horses, carved from a single piece of alabaster, are the size of a watermelon and HEAVY! The nice couple waited for me while I re-packed my bag and got dressed again and I stood in line to receive the desired stamp from customs and the refund of a hundred Euros. The customs agent was star-struck about Santa Barbara, seems they're all big fans of the 1980's soap of the same name. Back to the shuttle and we were on our way.
The flight from Rome to Newark was lovely, I read and dozed, it was nice. When I got to Newark we claimed our bags to go through customs. That was fine except that the handle on my shopping bag tore and the whole thing fell totally apart, spilling the contents. I then found it necessary to carry the shopping bag while dragging the 150 lb suitcase and the carry- on- bag with the rocks in it! (Oh, yes! There were several smaller pieces of alabaster, and a large can of Italian coffee which apparently looked suspicious when being screened.) Let me just say, I was NOT A VISION OF LOVELINESS! The man letting us into the security line said I had too many bags and I should put my large purse into my shredded shopping bag. Okay, fine. I kept explaining to the people in line that I had shopped for my husband. When I arrived at the next security check point, I had to take my boots off but my feet were so swollen I could not get them off! Finally I asked the man in front of me if I could hold on to him for leverage, and he graciously consented. The friendly TSA officers then wanted to inspect my bags, and wand my boots, oh and pat me down for the third time! I was not glamorous but I guess I looked dangerous!
Before boarding the plane to Los Angeles, I bought a big canvas “I love New York” bag to carry all of the junk from the torn shopping bag. This caused the nice girl that was helping me to inquire as to whether or not I was "okay!" The new bag was bright pink to match my face, and in no way went with my "look," but at that point I did not care.
My life is so glamorous! It’s just not fair, lucky for me!!!!