Boston, Part One
I understand now why Hannah hates flying.
We arrived at the airport way ahead of time- as recommended- which gave us lots of time to think about all the ways we might potentially get screwed.
“Sometimes they wait until the last minute to board me,” said Hannah, “and then seem surprised to see me, even though I always tell the airport ahead of time I’m in a chair.”
Eventually a woman who works at the airport came over and said they were ready for us.
“We have to take kind of a weird route to get to the plane though,” the woman said. “You’ll get a tour of the airport.”
She led us down an impossibly long, twisted ramp, down a corridor, down another corridor, and then out onto the tarmac.
I never thought I’d walk across a tarmac, but there I was. We were led to the plane, which was tiny; no more than twenty-five seats.
A bunch of workers huddled outside the plane to meet us. It was hard to hear what was being said, due to the wind and the roar of nearby motors.
Hannah was lifted off her chair by three people and moved over to something that looked like a cross between a stroller and Hannibal Lecter’s chair.
She was tied down and pushed up the ramp to the airplane. Fortunately they’d boarded us before anyone else. The flight attendant was very helpful, taking our bags and explaining where we should sit.
“Pretty much anywhere,” she said, “It’ll be a small flight. But for safety reasons you can’t sit next to each other.”
I had no idea what those reasons were- and neither did Hannah- but she was too distracted to ask a lot of questions. Three people were in the process of untying her and lifting her into an airplane seat. I sat across the aisle from Hannah.
The workers cleared out and the other passengers boarded. I helped Hannah adjust herself, and idly wondered if we were all going to die in a crash.
Then the plane took off, and I stopped wondering or, frankly, caring.
I love to fly.
The only plane I’d been in before was a Boeing, and it was fairly large. It took some time to get that fucker up in the sky; I remember it being a process.
This little plane simply zipped into the air and then we were dizzily, unbelievably high. I stared out my window at the farms and roads below, and then somehow we climbed even higher. The cars shrunk and the houses became less visible. Somehow we climbed even higher, and the roads became thin lines. I kept watching, taking it all in. We flew from flat farmland to vast forest, through a brief hilly patch, and then over miles of suburbs, streets twisted into pretzels and cul-de-sacs.
At one point I looked across the aisle and noticed that the flight attendant was staring out the window.
Shit, I thought, if something’s got her attention, it’s probably worth looking at. I lowered my head to get a glance out the tiny window and saw a flash of blue.
It was the first time I’d ever seen it.
The plane swerved and turned and then the ocean was on my side. It looked a lot like the Great Lakes, though somehow the mere knowledge that on the other side was fucking Europe made the sight more impressive.
We landed, and everyone else disembarked, and Hannah got manhandled some more. On the tarmac me, Hannah, and about eight other people had a frantic conversation about a piece of Hannah’s chair that had been removed. We couldn’t figure out how to reattach it, I couldn’t hear most of what was being said over the roar of motors, and Hannah was in a position where she couldn’t see what was happening.
“We’ll figure it out at the hotel!” she said, and we were escorted into Logan Airport.
Hannah had booked a wheelchair taxi to take us to our hotel, but we couldn’t find it. We wandered around for what seemed like an eternity, before serendipitously walking right past the taxi as it was parking.
We reached the hotel. We were both bone weary.
“One last hurdle,” said Hannah. We’d been dreading this, and knew if the Hoyer lift wasn’t there, if the shower wasn’t a roll-in, if the toilet was too high or too low, or somehow they’d forgotten she was disabled, we’d be screwed.
“We’ve got something for you in the back,” the person said as we were checking in. It was the lift, delivered by the only medical supplies company in Boston that Hannah could find. We’d had no idea if the company would come through, but they did. The lift is in perfect working order, the bathroom is spacious, and everyone here is very polite.
We settled in, and Hannah realized the hotel offered free HBO and that Game of Thrones was starting in ten minutes.
I left her to it, and walked to the nearest grocery store. I have a monomaniacal, sensual obsession with American junk food.
They are the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of the world, and they’ve devoted significant portions of this unprecedented genius to the production and celebration of gluttony.
Egypt had the pyramids, Greece invented democracy, and America has its food.
I wandered the aisles of the grocery store, almost weeping with joy. A special deal on boxes of snack cakes: 10 boxes for 10 dollars. Three kinds of meat in one breakfast bowl. Sausage wrapped in a pancake on a stick. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup flavoured Oreos. Spring-coloured Oreos. Garlic bread flavoured chips. Bacon Mac and Cheese flavoured chips. Bottles of pop proudly advertising that they contain real sugar.
I lost track of the time, and worried that Hannah might think I was dead, so I grabbed a few essentials (Oreos, chips, pop) and left. I only saw about half of the store.
Later, Hannah and I tried to find some place to eat. I looked up a pizza place online, and tried to memorize the directions, but we ended up walking right past it. This gave us an opportunity to explore Cambridge. At eleven o’clock on a Sunday night the city was totally dead. Everything was closed. There were no pedestrians, and hardly any cars.
After turning around and retracing our steps we finally found the pizza place- closed- and The Cheesecake Factory, still open.
We got a slice of cheesecake to go, went back to our room, and ordered a pizza. We ended up eating at around midnight, going to bed at two, and waking up at 9:30. The only reason we woke up that early was to get a plate full of free bacon in the hotel lobby.
God bless America.