Fly away

What goes through my mind when I am on a plane.

Some days are meant for Prozac, and this is one of them.  After three flights and 14 hours plus one 90-minute train ride, we arrive in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland where we will be whisked away to a police station.

This is true. Before we can  rent a place, start work, order hamburgers, make our first attempts at yodeling, we have to get our residency permit from the local municipality, as represented by their police force.

The last time I had to visit a foreign police station, it was off a gritty Madrid alleyway. There, migrants waited for hours before getting inside the station where tense, gun-swinging officers patrolled a small waiting room that was  jammed with  people from nations where underarm deodorant  had not yet been introduced, which was a bad thing because it was over 35 C and we were packed in tight.

As one uniformed officer-or-soldier roughly herded a burqa-wearing woman and her startled kids through the crowd I tried to look like I had mistaken the station for the coffee shop next door. I was prepared to blurt out an order for coffee at the first sign of impending arrest or shooting, but my Spanish was poor, so I could just as easily have said, “Take me to your leader,” or “I have a gun.”

I’ve been under threat of arrest before, although I didn’t really believe it until afterwards when I inquired from a  police-friend and Crown prosecutor buddy, both of whom said, “Yup, he could have arrested you for (indecipherable legalese mumbo-jumbo).”

But that was when I was a reporter. So while the officer glared, I laughed brazenly, partly because he had once explained how he used glaring to maintain a  “command presence” at a crime/investigation scene, but mostly because I had seen him cower when his 12-year-old daughter walked in on an interview and put him in his place for forgetting to let her know he was working overtime. No cop can recover a “command presence” after that.

But I drift. The point is that just when I am at my worst (14-hours of white-knuckle flight-time plus more than 24-hours without sleep), I am going to try to be at my best so that the friendly Swiss police will lift the gate and let me in to their perfect country.

On one hand, I want it to go well, but on the other hand, if it doesn’t, I will have something interesting to write about – for once.

3 thoughts on “Fly away

  1. I’m so glad to know you arrived safely. Sorry you experienced flight delays etc. but you are there and you can sleep all day tomorrow 🙂 I will be watching for updates.

  2. Joanne
    You are so hilarious!!! What a great way to start the day reading your blog and having tears drop into my coffee because of laughing so hard.
    Hope all goes well. Can hardly wait until tomorrow’s installment.

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