When you let it go, it finds its way back to you
We were on our way out of the Museo Regional de Guadalajara on April 21 when I stopped at the gift shop to find a souvenir.
I was looking for a T-shirt or other wearable item with the museum’s name or identifying symbol on it. There was nothing.
About to give up, I spied a slightly damaged two-foot by four-foot poster featuring the one-of-a-kind reconstructed Tyrannosaurus dinosaur fossil and the museum’s logo. For 23 pesos, less than $2, I took a chance.
Monday morning, around the corner from the Grimaldi house, I found a tiny poster shop. The two saleswomen rummaged in the back of the store to find me a used tube to protect the poster on the plane home. They charged me 5 pesos for it – about 40 cents.
Just before leaving for the airport Tuesday at 11, I wrapped both ends of the tube with tape. The poster was as secure as I could make it, with about three inches protruding from one end of the tube.
With plenty of time to spare, around 1:15 p.m. I breezed through an almost empty security checkpoint.
Duty free shopping was next. The tubed poster was inserted in the strap of my leather “mobile office” bag to ensure I didn’t misplace it somewhere or forget it entirely.
Taking more time than I should have to find my items, I was at the cashier when I heard over the Public address system: “… last call for Los Angeles.”
I panicked. “Hurry, please,” I begged the cashier, who was having trouble totaling my bill. I laid my last pesos, a 200 peso bill, on the counter, having mentally added up my purchases and thinking the total would be about 150 pesos.
“That will be 1,805 pesos,” the cashier finally announced. I was shocked.
“What?” I said urgently, pointing to the price tags. The Cointreau was 60; the Polo for Men 75, the Toblerone 20.
“It doesn’t compute, but hurry. That was the last call for my flight.”
“The prices are in U.S. dollars,” came the response.
Instantly I realized what a rip-off it was. The same size Cointreau at the store a block from my house is only $35.
“Oh, forget it,” I almost screamed as I picked up my possessions and fled for the gate.
Panting, I found the check-in kiosk, pushing my boarding pass at the attendant.
“Don’t worry, we’ll begin boarding in about three minutes,” the pretty young woman said smiling.
I must have looked stunned. She and her male colleague must have thought I was nuts.
Then it hit me. I remembered seeing on the overhead screen a departure of Aeromexico to Los Angeles about half an hour ahead of mine.
After recovering my composure I rushed to a nearby Johnny Rocket’s, ordered a vanilla ice cream and a large bottle of water.
My flight was called. Recomposed I breezed through the final security check, down the ramp and took my seat: 7F, right behind the first class bulkhead, window with lots of extra legroom.
As I sat down, I yelped, loudly, like a wounded puppy. I had forgotten the poster.
I jumped up, told the flight attendant, and she kindly said I could leave the plane to find it. Crowds were now pouring aboard. There is not a single empty seat on this aircraft as I write this.
After agonizing for perhaps three or four minutes while passengers found their seats, I sat down in anguish. No way was I going to go back out, then again come through the secondary security for a 23-peso, used poster of little sentimental value.
When the flight attendant finally asked me if I wanted to leave to look for it, I shook my head. “No, it only cost 23 pesos,” I said, probably with a hangdog look on my face.
Seated, I reflected. “Let it go. It was of only minor significance,” I thought. I breathed deeply, looked out the window as the baggage was loaded, and relaxed into a comfortable reverie.
Perhaps 10 minutes later, the passengers now all seated, the flight attendant appeared between the bulkheads.
“Is this yours,” she asked, smiling broadly.
“YES,” I screamed at the top of my voice, jumping up. I couldn’t help noticing the startled looks on the faces of all the passengers within earshot – I think that was the entire 737-800!
I wanted to hug her as she handed me the precious cargo. “Better put it in the overhead bin,” she recommended.
With a huge smile on my face for everyone to see, I reached across the aisle and complied.
That was about half an hour ago.
April 23, 2013
Aboard UA 1538 bound for LAX