I anticipated this whole trip to Eleuthera as one big disaster. Usually I’m not a worrier—after all, I just made a trip to Africa a short time ago, and the travel accommodations were flawless. But for this trip to my Eleuthera hide-away I spent way too much time planning for all the things that could go wrong from oversleeping and missing my 6:15 AM plane to snowstorms to finding my misplaced door keys to the cottage, to nobody there to meet me at the Rock Sound Airport… And the biggest nightmare: I’d miss my connection in Nassau (the last flight of the day) , and have to spend another $120 night in a funky little run-down motel before I got to my destination.
So I repacked my bags to cut down on imagined excess weight, and left behind some new artist paints which seemed to weigh a ton. But Bobbie was waiting to take me to the airport, even though I was five minutes early, and the morning sky was cold and clear—not one snowflake between me and the stars.
My bags were approved and I wasn’t charged any fees, the TSA pat-down was early-morning lethargic, and the aircraft de-icing went without a hitch. I made my connection in Detroit, and again in Atlanta, and was bumped up to first class on both flights so I could refuse mimosas and doze in peace.
All of that perfection put me into Nassau seven minutes EARLY, on a plane large enough to have a jet bridge (not all that common in Pindling Airport). There was a wheelchair waiting, wonder of wonders! That’s never happened in Nassau before, but I know enough to know that even though my hip is pretty strong these days, changing airlines in this facility requires about a mile and a half hike. And of course, I am toting my suitcases, going through customs and bag inspections, getting new boarding passes, surviving security and the requisite pat-downs for those of us with metal implants.
But two good things happened. The first was the help of the handsome young man in charge of wheelchair assistance. He took it upon himself to beat the system—jockeying me into special processing areas, jumping up on the luggage carousel to free my stuck suitcase, winking audaciously at the beautiful girl behind the ticket counter, and blithely ignoring the customs baggage inspector by walking through an empty lane. He got me to the departure lounge of Bahamas Airlines in a record 45 minutes. I had 12 minutes before the scheduled boarding…which, of course, doesn’t always take place on schedule in the Bahamas.
I had time to do a little serious reflection about myself as I sat there, watching the gate attendant doze in the lazy afternoon heat. “Get into your Bahamas mode,” I say sternly to myself. “That’s why you come down here. Now’s the time to make your personality change. You’ve already wasted way too much energy worrying about disasters that haven’t happened.” I take off my jacket and my socks, and roll up the sleeves on my shirt, ready to walk out into the sunshine to the tiny commuter plane.
And when I get to the plane and settle in seat 2C, the attractive stewardess says in her perfect British accent, “Please sit back and relax, ladies and gentlemen. We are waiting for three passengers transferring from another airline, which was late in arriving to Nassau. When they are seated, we will fly to Rock Sound. I am sure you will understand: thank you for your patience in accommodating them.”
Somehow, leaving behind my Northern anxieties and assuming a Caribbean personality just got much easier.