Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's not déjà vu if it's really happening again.

Near the international gates in PHL, there’s a snack stop called Flight Meals.  It’s not an actual room, just a few cooler shelves of drinks, sandwiches, and candybars, with a cashier sitting off to the side.

I was coming off three weeks with my family in the US, and was about to catch an overnight flight back to Europe.  I passed the shop on the way to my gate.  I stopped, glanced at my watch, and thought, “When am I gonna get the chance to have a raspberry Snapple again?”

Like any store in any airport, Flight Meals robs you blind.  The Snapple was $2.50.  But I glanced at the American change I had left in my pocket, and could have sworn I had enough.

When I got to the cashier, I counted dollars off as I handed her pairs of quarters.

“That’s not enough,” she said.


“These are twenty-five cents,” she said, holding up a coin.

I’d been away so long I was confusing quarters with €.50 pieces.  I felt stupid enough when someone had to explain to me how much a quarter is worth.  I felt even dumber when I realized that ALL of this had happened before. 

Last year I’d flown out of Philly after spending the holidays at home.  I had an overnight flight, and like this year, it was on the 9th of January.  At the last minute I started jonesing for raspberry Snapple.  I had a senior moment at the register, and my poor, frustrated cashier had to explain to me just how much my money could buy.  I can’t be sure, but I think it might have been the same girl.

I only hope she’ll remember me when I do it again next year.

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