October 6, 2010

A Trip to Vienna - Chapter 1

Chapter I


I just came off a plane from Vienna from a quick run, planed as hell, with the knowledge of a guy who discovers a new territory. The proclaimed territory wasn’t Austria, or Vienna what so ever, was Neurosurgery, the reason I traveled and knew not much about the situation I was about to go fencing for the next week. About a year ago on a trip back from Mexico, my Aunt, the only living blood relative I have left from my mother's side of the family got her back frozen instantly and thought it was a cold or something she caught from the change of temperature while traveling across the continents. She came back home and by some doctors advice she began physiotherapy, working out the soaring muscles. For the following months she got worst and worst and heard lots of stories about what that could be, until she finally found out it was a double hernia on the back disks at the base of her spine.

I for one, told her to take action every other time we spoke on the phone, and finally she decided to take it one year later when the thing got to her so far, as to unable her to step on her left foot which felt as an electricity conductor, under a triceps muscle who fought hard for holding her uncontrolled weight from the right foot which was beginning to crack as well. In fact her right leg lost control too a few times in what was to be her last week of severe suffering, and convinced her it is time to get under the knife.

On the 26th of September, last month I got the call I was waiting for the last year, and promised myself, once it came I should not ignore it, no matter what other business plans are waiting me. On the opposite, I “Mobilize” myself and jumped into action as an action hero. "Mobilize" as understood here out of the Romanian meaning it had as I grew up: "In times of war the Romanian tropes were mobilized by the order of who ever commanded them, first the Germans then the Allies, and that was the term young soldiers’ mom’s, sister’s remembered it was called, when they were packed up and sent to open each battle as the first line of raw meat. Well, as a much simpler definition the term stoke to the Romanian vocabulary as “come back to reality and give yourself into the action”, and my bread use it when someone close to you needs your help, and you are not suppose to think back for a second, even if the power that is needed, overwhelms you.

Back in my family we were all like that, as the attitude is based on an old lesson of my grandma' who once tried to put the bases of a new family she was trying to create, after loosing most of heir’s in the war; 9 brothers on the first line, then a broken hearted father and a overwhelmed mother who left the knots loose, at the instauration of the communist nationalization, not far after the strike of the 23rd economical crisis.

On the 28th of September I was booked to fly off to Vienna with my Aunt and get her to a private hospital, operated, recovered as good as jumping back in the plane for the trip home and back to Romania in 7 days, today.

The trip reached its purpose, as my Aunty is well back on her feet, but nevertheless left a strong impression in my mind with its atmosphere, adventures and blank ending; with me sitting and writing about it at 5 AM, when the film of it still rolls in my mind, making me not sure if I am home in reality or my spirit is still there.

I realized I learned many things in my life, from hard experiences, angels who come my way to help and a little study on psychology that I picked up doing my later years of film directing. Perhaps the need to tell this story comes from the same place; the love for adventure set in a different environment from the one I am used with every other day. Much like a film itself.

Therefore I think this chapter can begin with receiving both my uncle and my aunt the night before we had to fly away. What followed was a serious lesson of patience and self control, for I am a man who knows what my powers are, next to considering the hernia I got on my belly from a former story some years back; So I got served with the Aunt I haven’t seen to be as worst as the hardest pains began a week after I visited her last in my hometown, Constanta.

As we settled on our way to the restaurant down the back alley, over of the parking lot in front of my block we stopped several times and walk the 100 meters in about 30 minutes: My Aunt trying as hard as she could to keep up her smiles, and sounds of lion yowling coming out of her twisted face each time she stepped further. I thought he future looked bright with handling her away to Vienna, and driving was out of my mind right away, as I knew she couldn’t bare the ride and a night stop with that thing eating out of her spine.

Next day in the morning we took the plane and got there quickly, Vienna is not far off Romania. Once you cross Budapest you are already there. The first interesting scene happened as we got to The Vienna International. The airport there is weird, old and very badly managed. It reminds me a lot of "Baneasa Airport" in Bucharest, a small halt mostly for internal flights, of course at a different scale. We came right out of the terminal and walk, our walk, towards the check out like everyone else, when a young Austrian wearing an orange jacket with the word “Services” on his back; a kid of about 20 years of age, with the look in his eyes as coming from a long bread of airport workers, encountered us with a question, making sure my Aunt was not faking the walk.

He asked if we need a wheelchair and we said: Yes! I froze still for 3 minutes as he went off to get the chair, balancing on my arms: My Aunt, My Camera bag, My Laptop bag and a plastic bag containing my Aunt’s radiographies from the doctors back in Constanta. He came quickly and sat her down. He disappeared for another minute asking permission in the same time as bumbling some harsh German in his walkie-talkie, dialogize with someone else from the Airport’s premises, and once back, he pushed the chair with the sick lady up to a counter where we had to wait for another 20 minutes to ask permission to use the chair.

The girl at the counter was good enough to mark the event on her computer screen and I was sent with the chair into the elevator where the young Austrian excused himself for leaving me alone, for he had to attend other important business on the arriving floor. I found my way on the complicated alleys, got my Aunt through the disabled people check-in booth and sat on to look for the luggage. Time did passed and all this little adventure to the pick up baggage rolling band got us more than a half of an hour as I had to guess after laying my eyes on the empty room. The spinner drove soundless with three lonely bags that quickly caught the eye of the security guys who announced that they are ready to pick up unattended luggage for security reasons. Me, action! Kept pushing on the wheels of the crying wolf, who got pains now even sitting on the chair, with my other eye looking for a trolley and trying to move the bags a little so they see is not unattended.

I wore a classic jacket, well cut as a short military trench with double rows of buttons, shiny strong booths and a cap to protect the brain from the weather change I knew I’ll have to go thru after checking the internet the day before. I guess as seen on a wide lens I looked like one of the Marx Brothers running from the chair to the spinner and back to the exchange office to ask for 50 eurocents coins so I could unlock one of the airport’s trolleys, that I already knew I wont be bringing back to claim the cents. The image was almost black and white, as airport lighting is best set to light the metal walls and the advertising panels bringing people to simple spots of contrast on the cold surface of the shot. I guess it looked funny. It was much funnier once I gathered the luggage and came close to my suffering Aunt and asked her to stand up and try to walk the rest of the way out to the taxi cabs on the street. All this because it was impossible for me to push a trolley with bags at the same time as I would push her chair. She understood and “Mobilized” herself out of the chair, got her weight into her cain, to the street and into the back seat of the first Airport Taxi Cab in line, while I brought in the bags. The ride in the cab was smooth, as the car was one of the latest models, an E Class Mercedes, and as I got a break, I thought: How good is to know to do that when ever necessary, not blaming no one, and on the path of reaching your final goal.

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