Continuing with thinking about the trip, there are a lot of good bits to remember.
I found myself running through the best stories from the trip with a friend on the phone last night - most of them involved airport travel or Americans abroad - and other than running into my old undergrad adviser unexpectedly - the best story happened on the flight back, as I was making a plane change in Shannon, Ireland.
In front of me, stood two American recent college grads - a boy and a girl - and they were chatting each other up in the way that American college kids do (you know, with the assumption on at least one of their parts that if the conversation goes well it equates to them likely hooking up later). And so I hear them swapping travel stories, trying to one-up each other with where they've been or how much they've spent or how long they've stayed. And then flight begins to board.
They call for the first round of regular boarding, and the two kids begin to head towards the ramp, with the girl remarking she's not in this boarding group (evidently the conversation is going well). Neither is particularly bothered by this, no doubt assured by their recent college graduate status and certain sense of entitlement that might come from age or from being American or from having been through so many airports. The boarding guard, an Irish gentleman in his middle years, balding, takes the boy's ticket. Then the girl's. Then he hands it back.
"It's not your time to board."
The boy, feeling his victory close at hand, goes for the kill, no doubt wanting to show both his entitlement and the level of cool control, "Oh, it's okay. She's with me."
The boarding guard looks him over for just a second, sizes up the situation, and says with just enough sense of sarcasm and finality that every young male in the room would've winced and cupped themselves, "Not any more she's not. Get aboard, please."
And with that, head hung in defeat, our young protagonist was left to head alone down the jetway, his dreams of summer fling put coolly to bed. And I must say, seeing it, and hearing the Irish accent and the sarcasm saying it, made the many walks through security well worth the trip.