NGW: The New Roman Triumvirate   9 comments

As one cabbie in Florence put it so succinctly and with “all due respect”: 

“Are you courageous or stupid?” 

Traveling with three women to Europe, always allow 1 hour for drama.  Ms. R has her own pace and she is not to be rushed.  It’s not that she is horribly late, but 15 or 30 minutes is nothing to her.  She has a habit of making me routinely late to anything we have to get to.

The drama started before we even left the country.  Too late in leaving the house, we ran into major traffic on the way to the airport.  Some of us had not had lunch, so we made a “quick” stop at the nearest Castillo Blanco for a 10-burger sack– a strategic error on my part– but I know how cranky Ms. R can be when she hasn’t eaten (it’s almost as bad as me).  Yes, we love those square little burgers.

By the time we arrived at the airport long-term parking lot, we were about 90 minutes from the scheduled departure time.  Normally, airlines recommend that you arrive at the Terminal at least two hours before departure on international flights.  There are, as it turns out, good reasons for this. 

We were still a short train ride away from the Terminal.  Naturally, Delta has two terminals and we went to the wrong one.  70 minutes to departure.  No problem says they– they permitted Ms. R to check her bags there.  I am thinking, “Say goodbye to those bags– they will never make it to Rome.”  (I was carrying mine on.)  We were instructed to proceed to security check-in at this Terminal and after clearing security, board a shuttle bound for the correct Terminal. 

“But you will have to hurry!” 

Airport Security– the now accepted Privacy Invasion Experience.  300 people in line in front of us.  60 minutes to departure.  The numbers are adding up to a whole lot of stress.  While we stand in line, Ms. R snakes her way past the crowd to see if she can find a legal way to cut the line.  “Sure,” comes the reply, “just ask everyone in front of you to let you cut!”  As she is making her way back to the three of us, a miracle– like a Biblical parting of the seas, the crowd behind us parts to let through an airport employee, pushing a wheelchair ferrying someone’s enfeebled grandmother past the throng.  Traipsing behind is a line of Granny’s family members.  45 minutes to departure.  With the slightest encouragement from my fellow travelers, we hitch ourselves to the end of Granny’s Entourage.  The last member of her family is a 12 or 13-year-old boy wearing a bright green shirt. 

“Follow the Green Shirt, Girls!”   

“Yes!  This is actually working!”  Meeting Ms. R halfway up the queue, as first the wheelchair-bound biddy and each of her family members pass her she looked surprised when she saw us hot on the heels of the Green Shirt.  As I walked past her all I said was “Follow us!”  This she did to many a dirty look from the people just ahead who had witnessed her ploy and did not know what to make of the fact that she had acquired a family of 10 people, one in a wheelchair.  Yet they all kept silent.  As we snaked our way past the 300, I admonished myself– “Don’t make eye contact!” 

“Stick with the Green Shirt, Girls!”

My stomach in knots.  40 minutes to departure.  Our flight is boarding.  But we are just getting to the body scanners.  Naturally, I am the one that gets stopped by airport security for not one, but three body scans and a frisk.  I would have stopped me too– I’m stressed, I’m perspiring, I’m a mess.  The minutes ticking away.  And we are still in the wrong Terminal!

Running to the shuttle, we get on and take the 5 minute ride to the correct Terminal.  Interesting word, “terminal”.  A noun in this instance describing a place, but normally an adjective or adverb describing a situation– as in terminal disease, or as the Eagles sang, “She was terminally pretty”.  It does not describe situations that I like to find myself in.  The shuttle lurches to a stop half way to our Terminal.  There is some crazy traffic rule about yielding the right of way to aircraft on the tarmac.  WTF!  35 minutes to departure!  Now going to 30!  Aircraft doors closing about 15 minutes before departure.  The shuttle lurches forward.  Pulling into the terminal we sprint for our Gate. 

Gate.  A better word, I think.  There is safety inside the Gate.  But the Gate can bar your entry.  Which shall it be?  Arriving at the Gate we are relieved to see that there remain about a dozen passengers that need to board.  We queue up behind them knowing we will get on the plane.  Reaching our seats, we stow away our carry-ons.  I am now ready for a strong cocktail and for this plane to pull away from the Gate. 

And then—- we sit.  In fact, we sit for long while.  30 minutes past the time that we should have left.  Then the voice of the Captain comes on overhead.  We’re delayed while they locate some luggage that is supposed to be on our flight.  After sitting for over an hour past our departure time, they located the missing luggage.  And we were off.

Now I can’t prove this, but I am certain that it was Ms. R’s luggage which she checked in at the wrong Terminal that held up our flight.  Today, some three weeks since that day, I chuckle about this.  Not only did she make me late.  She delayed a whole damn airplane! 

But I am the only one who really knows this.

Am I Courageous or Stupid?  More the latter, I have to admit.  But I would gladly do that again.  But next time without the drama at the airport, of course. 

Arriving in Rome the following morning, a heat wave has accompanied us from New York.  We settled into our Roman apartment in Trastevere.  Having washed the stink of travel from our bodies, we settled in for the evening– a little jet lagged and thirsty for some Italian wine.  Here are some of the things we drank the first 4 nights in Rome.  Maybe, they won’t taste as good outside of Italy.  Maybe they will bring back a few funny memories of the day an invalid in a wheelchair came to our rescue. 

As Caesar might have said: Veni, Vidi, Bibi!  For a trio of women, today we get a trio of vino bianco. 


Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo 2011 (€12).  With floral component on the nose, this is a tasty treat that is perfect for a Roman Holiday.  This has very pleasant acidity providing an ample backbone for the fruit.  Rated **

Müller-Thurgau Alto Adige – Südtirol 2011 (€5).  Opening with a little funkiness that led to kiwi with a touch of fizz and minerality and a limey acidity on the finish, this just kept satisfying.   A great bargain at this price!  Rated **1/2

Carpeni Malvotti Extra Dry Prosecco Superiore Conegliano and Valdobibiadene (NV) (€9).  A thirst quenching Prosecco, with clean floral notes, a slight yet pleasing sweetness balanced out by just the right amount of acidity.  Serve well chilled on a hot night.  Rated **

Postscript: on the flight back to New York, we arrived at the Gate a stress-free 90 minutes before boarding. 

The little guy in the photo at the top of this page doesn’t have a guilty bone in his body.  Neither should you.  No-Guilt Wednesday (NGW) is not about compromising on quality.  It’s all about drinking good wine that does not break the bank ($15 or less), eating good food and of course, it’s about sharing with the ones you love.

Posted July 12, 2012 by Sybarite Sauvage in No-Guilt Wednesday

9 responses to “NGW: The New Roman Triumvirate

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  1. Your misadventures reminded me of my best friend’s French ex. Her reaction to arriving at the gate 15 minutes before the doors close was, “Great! It means I still have time for an espresso”. Needless to say, it drove my friend mad.
    La ora latina, as they say…

    On another note, since you were staying in Trastevere, I hope you made it to Fior di Latte gelateria and to Antico Arco for dinner?

    • Sadly, we did not make it to either of these two places. But we did have a nice meal at Ivo and Gelato all over the city– just look for the places with lines. That seems to work.

      La Ora Latina– I like that…

  2. I’m glad you finally got to Italy~
    I don’t think our luggage has ever delayed the airplane that long, but I was on one flight where one of the passengers lost his passport. We all had to look around our seats and then, when it wasn’t found, we had to wait longer, while they found his luggage and took it off, since he couldn’t fly without a passport.

  3. Funny, George Carlin had a whole skit on the use of “terminal” and flying…not a good combo.

  4. SS, “Airport Security– the now accepted Privacy Invasion Experience.” You could have tried Delta Flight 126 (; that will be an interesting write-up for you when this sort of thing does happen to you ;-)! I just hope you’ll have some wine in your seat to keep you preoccupied.

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