Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.


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Guatemala City Bound 4/15/08

By Milt Abel | May 20, 2008

| May 20, 2008

Tax Day and I’m leaving the country. I filed for an extension but I’m leaving still, best to get away from the craziness of how all us adults behave at this time of year; doing our taxes like a college assignment, putting all the paperwork off until the last minute. If I don’t have to, why should I surround myself with all that harried searching for receipts, the fretting over deductions and audits, or the silly sidewalk barkers dressed as Uncle Sam hired to make you notice, as you drive by accruing mileage deductions, the cottage-sized accountant’s place of business that you haven’t noticed the other fifty-one weeks of the year because of its cottage size. No, I’m leaving that all craziness behind me and headed for Guatemala City. I wonder when taxes are due in Guatemala?

The trip started out well enough. I had a mid-morning flight so I could sleep in and serve breakfast to my kids before they headed to school and me to the airport. I held my departure from home to as late as I could and was rewarded with no traffic for the drive and short queues at the ticket counter and security. There’s no predicting what is going to wait for me (for me to wait) at the airport. I’ve come at five am and people are dropping from the rafters hoping others’ luggage in line will cushion their fall. And yet arriving at four pm can mean having to snap your fingers trying to wake a dozing ticket agent, “Hello? There’s someone here. Hello?” If that doesn’t work I’ll slap their forearm away from supporting their chin in their palm. That’ll wake anyone: a jawbone slamming into a stapler. But there’s just no planning around what to expect at the airport; it’s a lot like a first date, except your baggage, and their baggage, is in plain view.

Before arriving into Guatemala City I connected through Dallas-Forth Worth. DFW remains on my list of airports that I don’t moan over when I see it’s on my itinerary. There’s a good variety of places to eat there, especially in the newer terminal D, and the semi-circular arrangement of the gates fools me into thinking that I’m not walking that far to go from gate A2 to A35. You cant see around the curve of more than a handful of gates so instead of being dismayed, I think, ‘what I’m seeking is just around the bend, a long bend, but there’s food along the way.’

My only current beef with DFW is the lack of electrical outlets. Those of us with low batteries wander suspiciously around looking into low corners and around people’s seats hoping to find the one outlet that serves the entire airport’s late night cleaning crew’s vacuum. There must be an extension cord that’s coiled around a discarded transatlantic cable spool hiding somewhere in an abandoned hanger that unreels nightly like a thread through the Minotaur’s maze –curved maze, that is, with fast food stops along the way.

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