Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Back in Madison? almost almost but not quite and not for long

When you make connections in any of the European cities, you feel like the great capitals are swirling around you, reeling in and out of your space, tantalizing you, then retreating. I'm traveling from Vienna, connecting through Paris, listening to someone talk about their stay in Prague, another making references to some food she had eaten in Rome.

How interesting it would be to European-airport hop in a day or so and just take in that much of a city – the layover minutes!

Even those suck you into that country's habits in some small way. At the moment, you have to really really love those brief moments of Parisian air to route yourself through Charles de Gaulle in making European connections. With construction, not nearly enough gates and an insane terminal distribution, added to tight connecting times, you really get your adrenaline going just in the run across the airport to make it to your next flight.

Yes, I love Paris enough to perversely enjoy that run across this very French airport, past the caf├ęs with the Illy and croissants, past the ads for the RER, past the TGV station, run, take a whiff, move on.

I am still in transit, suspended between Europe and Madison, though I will be back in town later today, to teach my adorable Torts section. In three days I am off again. No, not across the ocean this time. Maybe, though, I’ll stand by the water’s edge and stare wistfully, with a white hankie fluttering in my hand, sighing deeply, wiping the occasional tear, humming snippets of waltzes and mumbling random German phrases picked up off of menus and overheard at street corners … Maybe.