Dona and Joe’s European Vacation, Episode 1: Dona Calms Down; Joe Gets Back to His New York Roots

Not quite in Europe yet, as we decided to stay a few days in NYC before the overnighter to Dublin. We’ve already had our share of excitement.

You know the trip is getting off to a bad start when your hotel in Dublin calls before you leave to say they’ve lost your reservation and have now overbooked and can’t accommodate you. Yeah, well, we only made the reservation last December, on the hotel’s own website, so sure we can understand how we can have to scramble to find a last-minute replacement…ugh. That’s the Castle Clontarf in case you want to know which place to avoid. Dona’s on edge even before we leave.

Day of, and my first near gaffe. I figured leaving at 5:30 am would be soon enough for a 7:40 flight. Maybe in Peoria. Not Seattle. Fortunately Dona talked me out of that one and we left at 5. And with the requisite accident bottling up the freeway, we made it just in time.

Dona calm yet?

Don’t bet on it.

Get to the gate and for some reason the gate agent has accommodated another passenger’s seat request and inadvertently split us up. After holding us at the gate while they tried to figure it out (which let everyone else board so that there was no overhead bin space left), we figured we’d just ask whomever the passenger was to switch with Dona—she’d take their middle seat and give up a window seat. Who could say no? Well, let me introduce you to the first passenger in the history of aviation who WANTED the middle seat. Fortunately another passenger was willing to trade and it worked out. Dona, though, is still not calm.

Our flight was full of New Yawkers. I could right away tell from their lack of courtesy, mostly because I used to be one, although I haven’t lived here for forty years. In a strange way it felt good to be back, and let that darker, New York side of me—the side that would never dare come out in Seattle—have its day. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when within five minutes of landing I wound up calling some guy a jackass. (He barged through a doorway even though I was already in it, so yeah.)

After having our luggage delayed, and an Uber through Friday night NYC traffic, we are finally at our hotel. With a room upgrade. And a bar downstairs beckoning. Dona is almost ready to go down.

And she’s calm again.

More tomorrow.