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Eerie fluorescent clouds and mid-western humidity should have tipped her off. Those and the stillness combined with intense heat. She’d heard about the heat wave, and said prayers to the weather gods that everyone camping could realize it was a night for cold sandwiches and root beer. Or regular beer. So when the first trembling flickers of silent lighting lit her bedroom, she buried her head under the pillows. She fell asleep and was awakened by strong hail and wind. Then thunder. Lighting and thunder and rain. Thunder so loud all she could see in her mind was freight train cars colliding at full speed. The pillows and ear plugs and face mask made no difference.

She grabbed for a second pillow and fell into a reverie with a thunderstorm backdrop. What would be a million times better than this? Traveling to Paris, that’s what. She thought of the last time she’d gone, to celebrate a reunion with 8 women she’d lived in Bordeaux with during her undergraduate junior year. She’d splurged on a business class seat, which on Air France started in the fourth row from the front, undistinguished from first class. These were the seats that each had their own video screen, unlimited movies, and that extended out to full sleeping length. Amazing little plates of food continued to arrive along with actual glasses of wine. It was like a wedding reception for seated people, and the atmosphere jolly.

What else was so great about the trip? Well, frankly, the preparation. She’d bought two new pieces of luggage from Edwards, one fantastic rolling piece and a second small heavy-duty bag that snapped ontop so that the result was one bag easily pulled. She bought a fabulous raincoat that was fitted and had a hood and a back kick pleat. She bought a black cross-body Coach purse with silver buckles. And she went to the tiny store at the Stanford Shopping Center that sold travel-sized items. A small electric toothbrush that ran on batteries and came in colorful choices–she chose a purple and green paisley. A small hairdryer with converter plus to accommodate the European current. A tiny laundry line with suction cups on each end to put up in the shower and hang up laundry. A plastic circle flap to put over the sink bottom to give any sink the ability to hold water and do some hand laundry. A tiny mirror for her purse. These were so much fun to purchase, and they made her trip much easier. She was a kind of uber-traveler ready for espionage. Oh, to go to the little store–Goin In Style–again and stock up for a new trip. She heard the thunder but could see the travel items and her seat on the plane and the Parisian shops with perfect meringues and roses.


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