Travel Articles




Christopher's Christmas Carol (Part II)

I had moved to Germany just five months before my redhaired, demon colleague caused me to break my ankle. When I left America, I bore the mane of a rock star—think Whitesnake or David Lee Roth...or Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, post-suicide blonde wig. I was pretty, and I’m not going to apologize.

So upon farewell, this is the lasting image they had of their son: an adorably sexy hunk waving to them as he boarded the plane. For this one, I’d picture Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire (with a tan).

But, for non-vampires, things change.

My hair got shorter and shorter every time I went to the haircutter’s. Odd, that. By December, my hair was shoulder length but still luxuriously wavy. The (h)air of the rock star was no more; Julia remained within of course, but people stopped asking for autographs.

My taste in clothing did a 180. Back then the style in Germany was a bit trampy: baggy jeans, patchwork coats. The hobo look, basically. I wonder where that patchwork coat is now.

Short story shorter, as I boarded the plane to Nashville—yes, I’d decided to surprise my parents by coming home even though I’d told them being in a cast would make a Christmas visit impossible—I looked homeless and crippled.

I placed my crutches in the overhead bin and took my seat. On cue, a big, fat Bavarian man came along, opened my overhead bin, threw my crutches in the back and proceeded to stuff his carry-on luggage in front of them.

“But sir,” I said in German.

“What. What. What,” he barked.

“I need to walk every 20 minutes, or I will die of thrombosis. A blood clot from my leg will travel to my brain and my head will explode.” I have a knack for drama.

“You are exaggerating.”

Yes, but that’s not the point. “I’m too short to reach them where you just threw them.” You enormous slug.

“What is a slug?”

“I did not say that out loud. Give me a break.”

“OK. If you need zem I vill get zem for you.”

“Every 20 minutes? Like you’re really going to get up and get my crutches for me every 20 minutes of this nine-hour flight. Slug.”

“You have a point.”

So, with my bum leg, I climbed up on a seat and put my crutches back at the front of the overhead bin. We took off, had a light snack, worked the crossword puzzle. When the fasten seat belt light went off, I got up and opened the compartment; at which point one of my crutches fell and hit the slug’s wife in the eye. Needless to say, I spent most of my time standing up at the back, far far away from my seat, pretending to chat and do anti-thromboidal leg exercises (which worked).

Stay tuned for the surprise arrival.

I must be off,

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