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Articles: Only a Decade Late, or The Meeting of the Confessor and the Council
Posted by Schizo on Monday, March 14, 2011 - 09:57 AM PST

Cult
A few weeks ago, I did something that several of my dear readers had been hoping for years that I would do. I went to Spain and met Arthegarn. These are the chronicles of that historic meeting.

On February 20, 2011, around 3 PM, my plane landed on the runways of the Barajas Airport, outside of Madrid, after twenty-one hours of travel wracked by delayed flights, missed flights, re-routings, and shaky communication. I was an exhausted, confused, disheveled wreck, numb to all except my need to A.) find my luggage, B.) find my way out of a foreign airport terminal, and C.) see that Arthegarn actually got my message about the changed arrival times, because otherwise I was screwed.

Let's start with need A. Thank heavens that the Barajas Airport posts signs in both Spanish and English, because my Spanish is twenty years rusty. Nevertheless, I felt very nervous as I went through a door or two marked with what ultimately meant "If you go through this door and need to get back, sorry. You're screwed." However, my faith was rewarded, and I was dumped out in the baggage claim area, and quickly found the carousel marked with my flight number. Before long, the sirens sounded, the lights flashed, and the carousel began to vomit up baggage. Piece after piece of luggage paraded past my tired eyes, but when the conveyor belt finally stopped, and the crowd dispersed, I was left with two or three other women, standing about empty-handed, with nervous expressions. Luckily, they spoke English, so we discussed among ourselves what to do. Eventually, one of us went to find help, and eventually returned, saying that the source of information that she found indicated that there was some issue with our baggage, and it was sent to a different carousel. Either six, or sixteen. She wasn't sure, but the source of information had pointed to a particular region of the baggage claim area, so we set out in that direction. Only problem was, there was a long, glass wall between us and our destination, and, for quite some distance, no discernable doors.

Eventually we came to a door, that seemed to service up to carousel 15, and 16 and up were indicated as being located further down. This was a problem because this door, like the others I had passed through, was posted with that ominous message "You can go, but you can't come back! Ha ha!" But as this section seemed to be closer to the area that the communication-challenged source of information had pointed to, we decided to take the chance, and go through the one-way door. Luckily, our guess was correct, and we retrieved our luggage. Unluckily, I got mine last, and my newfound companions had disappeared before I could see which way they had gone. Which brings me to need B.

So here I am, exhausted, off the beaten track, in a strange airport, in a foreign country, and separated from the herd that I would otherwise be able to get direction from. I was bitterly aware that I had no confirmation that Arthegarn had even got my message about the change in schedule, and even if he had, I knew my flight was late, and I was later still, due to the baggage confusion. But there was nothing to be done but move forward, so I grabbed my heavy suitcase and began to trudge towards the only thing that looked like an exit in this god-forsaken glass-walled room. I wasn't sure it actually was a legitimate exit, because, instead of having a nice big sign labelled "EXIT," or even one of those one-way-only doors, this door was only marked by a picture of a stick-figure dude running through a door. Which looked to me more like an emergency exit, but what do I know! So I hesitated for a bit, until I noticed some official-looking (handsome) Spanish guys in uniform hanging around. I tried to ask them if I was allowed to use this door, and if it would take me where I needed to go, but unfortunately, the handsome hombres in uniform did not speak very much English, so the conversation devolved into "I can go through here? It's OK?" "Si, si!" So I went through the door, and found myself in the general lobby area. Which brings me to need C.

Now I am in the lobby of a foreign airport. I can see Spain through the glass doors at the far side. I can see hundreds of dark-haired people rushing to and fro. What I cannot see is Arthegarn.

At this point, I am a quivering mass of exhaustion and nerves, so I take my luggage and pace back and forth for a bit, searching the area, trying not to cry, and hoping I do not look too much like the kind of person it would be easy to rob or take advantage of. Strangers mill around me, and none of them look familiar. Finally, I look at a group of people a few yards from where I entered the lobby, all standing at a barrier, looking towards some doors, through which people are walking, dragging luggage and being greeted. The crowd shifts, and I see the back of a bald head, attached to a man wearing a well-fitting black suit. I call out to him, but he either cannot hear me, or has no reason to respond to the name I am calling. I approach him, but still cannot see his face. I realize the only thing to do is to tap him on the shoulder, which I don't want to do because A.) even in normal circumstances, I am very shy, and B.) all the stress and exhaustion has made me shyer than usual. But there is nothing else to be done, so I gather the last pathetic remnants of courage that I can find, and reach out and touch the man on the shoulder. He turns around, and it is Arthegarn, looking absolutely exactly as he does in his Shmeng pictures. He gives me a huge hug and whisks me off to the garage, tucks me and my luggage into his little car, and then realizes that he has lost his garage ticket. This is typical of all my travels to, from, and in Spain.

So Schizo has made it to Spain, and found Arthegarn. What kind of adventures will they have, and what kind of trouble will they manage to get into? Find out in our next installment of Only a Decade Late, or The Meeting of the Confessor and the Council!


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Only a Decade Late, or The Meeting of the Confessor and the Council | Login/Create an account | 4 Comments
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Re: Only a Decade Late, or The Meeting of the Confessor and the Council
by Devin (devin-at-vibechild-dot-com)
on Mar 14, 2011 - 09:58 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://devin.vibechild.com/
It's about time. I guess 10 years later is better than never.


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