2:45pm, 7.30.09, Dublin

I’ve been napping in a deep, squarish, brown leather chair in the mezzanine of Dublin’s airport for about three hours, trying to cobble together, along with the bits of sleep taken on the flight last night, what feels like a solid restful slumber. I’m close as I’ll get until I lay down in my rented bed at Prague’s Pension BETA late tonight. For now, at least, the hollow feeling of exhaustion has dissipated and my mind feels fuller, more focus than fray or fringe. Enough so to recount the opening dramas of this still unfolding adventure:

My two checked bags were both overweight, one (the big black duffel) so much so that regulations wouldn’t let it go through unlessened. I stepped out of line at the check-in and hurried to one of the airport shops at Logan and bought a $50 bag I thought would hold the illicit 6kgs, or more, which it did, eventually, prove capable of, capacious enough for. Back in line, my heart-rate up and my duffel decreased, portioned into a smaller bag (shit, what color? — will I recognize it at the reclaim on this travel’s terminus?), I tapped my toes and sighed pointedly as I awaited my second attempt at check-in.

A man, the man right in front of me in line, who I had taken little notice of in the first two minutes of his existence in my consciousness, looked, on reconsideration, to be very, very drunk; no sooner had I made this observation than he swayed a bit, leaning into the number he was padding into his smartphone, and then tumbled forward over his standing luggage, ending up on all fours. Immediately, I asked if he was ok–and then I saw the blood, thin as water and dribbling quickly as from a broken nose–but I couldn’t see his wound yet.

The man in front of the tumbler, who had vantage to spy the laceration, calmly asked the injured if he were ok, simultaneously signaling the airline staff to call an EMT, and to get towels for compression. By this point the wound was in my sight: a gash on the forehead that trickled blood down over his right eye, over his nose and lips, and finally to the floor’s dark linoleum sheen. It took nearly ten minutes for medical personnel to arrive, by which time the helpful gentleman (a doctor, natch!) had succeeded in stanching the red gush by pressing a thick wad of travel kleenex to his patient’s head, to the one-inch slash one of the tension-barrier stanchions had dealt in due course of its meeting the poor fainting sod’s face.

By now, having been once already to the check-in counter, and, an hour after initially queuing up, I was impatient to move forward. Mumbling something about an encroaching departure time, and expressing a desire not to be callous, I nonetheless urged I be let around the bloody incident so as to continue checking my luggage.

At the counter again, with a different face in front of me, I paid $125 in “extra weight” and “additional bags” charges and tapped my fingers anxiously as the (apparently) new A– L—– staffer fumblingly pieced together the appropriate sequence of keystrokes that would allow her, or the computer, to print my revised boarding passes–three bags checked instead of the original two. (We invented computers to do extravagant, difficult math — pish-tosh to this lowly arithmetic!!) Checked, printed, and still with the security gauntlet to endure, I thanked the young woman (sincerely, lass, you must believe me) for her help and hurried off, with a scant hour before boarding, to join the snaking line of shoeless grumblers ahead.

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