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My Ten Minutes as Rudy Maxa
I recently flew to Vegas on business. It had been over 17 years since my last flight. (I was a kid then, and the only thing I really remember is trying to get my ears to pop and the plastic wings the stewardess gave me.) Keep in mind that I'm not someone who enjoys traveling. Okay, I HATE to travel. While I have no fear of flying, I was absolutely terrified about airport protocol. I was plagued by worries like: Where do I park? What do I do if my flight is cancelled? Is my bag too big for a carry-on? What if they won't let me on because my travel agent screwed up? And on and on...
As I overcame each fear in the course of the trip, two or three appeared in its place, like choosing between "Intermediate" and "Long Term" parking, then wondering if I had chosen correctly. (I hadn't.) Would my car be there when I got back? (It was.) Would the shuttle take me to the front door? (It did.) Should I tip the driver? (I should have.) This continued until I landed in Vegas, where suddenly, I became Rudy Maxa. I found myself telling people which shuttle to take, where to stand for a cab, where their gate was, etc.
I was calm and confident, the very picture of a savvy traveler. But then, towards the end of that first cigarette after landing, I realized that I had better get moving before I ran into any of the people to whom I had just been bluffing. In fact, there may be a handful of elderly Italians in Vegas somewhere still looking for their hotel.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Savvy Traveler does not condone deceiving elderly Italians -- or travelers of ANY nationality or demographic for that matter. In fact, we suspect the Fates will conspire against Andy for his wicked deception, causing airlines to lose his luggage on future trips and hotel computers to inexplicably delete his reservations. However, we must also PRAISE Andy for overcoming his fears and bravely tackling the logistics of his business trip. His experience stands as a shining example to other skittish travelers who might be timid about hitting the road. You CAN travel and return unharmed. And if you're REALLY good, the flight attendant may give you some plastic wings.]