My View For Awhile: Strangers and Italian Sojourners

I’m on my way to Italy. At first I’ll be with a magnificent group of pro-lifers in the north.

Meanwhile, this is how the trip began.  A not small service dog as my middle seat companion.   She was very good, I have to say.

Up and away…. to E Concourse.  I think the gal on the escalator got her shoes mixed up.

Of is this a thing?

Here at E Terminal of Atlanta, is what I assume to be one of the fast COVID check places.

Folks, what I did to get a test valid for within 48 hours of my arrival was… horrid.  Quite.  simply.  Horrid.  That, and whole series of snafus that wound up being expensive to solve made the lead up to this trip really stressful.

This morning, day of travel, I got an email from Air France, my connecting airline, informing my that passengers to Italy have to have masks and they specified FF2P.

I looked them up.  They don’t sell them where I live, at least a few hours before a flight!

I used some highly descriptive language as I contemplated the situation.   They sent an email a few hours before the flight saying people have to have something that many won’t have.

So, I’m in the lounge waiting, working on the phone to find things that were supposed to arrive last week but were late – NEVER TRUST FEDEX AGAIN – I note nearby two guys who are talking about Rome and I see that they have the type of mask required by Air France’s email.

I struck up a conversation, gave a few restaurant suggestions, and then explained the MASKSIT.  Asking if one of them had an extra mask of that type, I offered one of the two N95 masks I stuffed into my pack for one in trade.

Thus I had one of the weirdest bartering moments of my life: the Delta E Concourse Lounge Mask Diaper Barter Exchange Caper.

Holding our newly exchanged masks.

Notice that they are both N95.

This stuff is so stupid.   It makes us all stupid.

I will see if the Air France people enforce this type of mask.  And, if they do, whether they will make them available.




The process at CDG was pretty much as it was BCT (Before COVID Theatre). Smooth. No reference to tests, etc. Of course there are indications on the boarding passes, but they don’t seem interested. Perhaps the drama will commence in Italy.

Meanwhile the lounge is comfortable and it affords a bit of quiet and a bite.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, What Fr. Z is up to. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. WVC says:

    I fear we opened Pandora’s Box and the stupid will never go back in again. The stupid will rule over all traveling for a good long while, partly because the FEAR still holds a strong place in the hearts of so many.

  2. jameeka says:

    UPS has gotten a LOT better than Fedex lately.

  3. Raphael Sabadim says:

    Hi Father, some urgente help please.
    What do I give a father who is on the way to visit his family next month (in France).
    Sunday is the last time I see him before the trip so I thought I’d give him a France flag with the Sacred Heart printed on it, what do you think?

    Some background: he’s is french but lives in Brazil, he is the Brazilian FSSPX prior, he came to have lunch with me and the kids a few times, he likes wine (but I’m not sure to what extent), works a lot, is very sober and gentle, he also loves Switzerland.

    If I don’t find something more fitting I may stick with the flag or purchase some Italian cousine stuff (in Brazil we have a lot of imported Italian stuff).

  4. WVC says: I fear we opened Pandora’s Box and the stupid will never go back in again. The stupid will rule over all traveling for a good long while, partly because the FEAR still holds a strong place in the hearts of so many.

    Our response to 9/11 is actually what opened the Pandora’s box of Stupid.

  5. Sportsfan says:

    Does the dog need a mask?

  6. mo7 says:

    I’m on a committee tasked with arranging a breakfast meeting and speaker for professionals in my field. For the last couple of years we provided a virtual conference. The event is scheduled for fall ’22. My colleagues want to still do it virtually or outdoors. Honestly, it’s a big joke and excuse for laziness. Like a woman blaming her overweight on a pregnancy 20 years before.

  7. Irish Timothy says:

    Father it looks like your are doing some small purgatory time at the start of your trip. Safe travels! If it’s any consolation it’s just as bad (aka totally moronic) to travel here in Canada. And yes it makes us all stupid!! Awful!

  8. grateful says:

    Perhaps something from Brazil? Coffee?

  9. 21stCentury Anglican says:

    I will pray your flight goes well. Have a wonderful trip.

  10. JonPatrick says:

    Even worse than FedEx is DHL where packages disappear into a black hole never to be seen again. And I thought Germans had a reputation for efficiency.

    I hope the rest of your trip goes better. Safe travels!

  11. Dan says:

    We just returned from Rome a couple weeks ago (days before they lifted the in flight mask mandates) Flying into Rome no one looked at any of our covid information and while there we were only asked for our “green pass” AKA covid card at two restaurants. One of them was McDonalds (I know but I wanted to experience ordering a beer at McDonalds and there is only so much pasta and pizza I can take) , and one of them was a higher end place we took our son and another seminarian to.
    As for the masks most places didn’t care about the type of masks. Except when going in certain places. The dumbest being a hop on hop off bus we decided to ride around on one day. They required the higher quality mask even through the stupid bus is topless and you are sitting outside!.
    Overall most of Italy seems as done with Masks as we are here.
    The airport coming back the flight attendants were super bitchy about the kind of mask we needed (again this was before the mandate was lifted)
    In Italy (Rome at least) it seems the covid tests can be taken at nearly any pharmacy the day before the flight but they only test at certain times during the day so you might want to find one and check it out a couple days before leaving.
    In the end we could have probably photocopied someones vaccination card and had no trouble. not that I am condoning that sort of thing. :-)

  12. kurtmasur says:

    It’s been my experience that they usually have (free) FFP2 masks at the gate for those passengers who are not compliant. So maybe the staff would have offered you such a mask at the gate, Father?

  13. HoustonTrad says:

    Regarding the red and green shoe trim, it might be a subtle reference to boating. Boats (and aircraft) have red lights on the port (left) side and green lights on the starboard (right) side.

  14. Grant M says:

    Navigation lights.
    For ships, a red light to port, and a green light to starboard, each visible from dead ahead to 2 points abaft the beam.
    Of more relevance here, for planes, a red light on the left wingtip leading edge, and a green light on the right wingtip leading edge.
    For shoes…

  15. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    Enjoy yourself in Rome. I know you know your way around there. Maybe you will get to visit with Raymond Cardinal Burke too.

    For what it’s worth I don’t enjoy wearing a mask at an airport but the last thing I want to do is end up on the evening news for being responsible for a three hour delay.

  16. aviva meriam says:

    I agree with Jameeka: UPS is a lot better than FedEx right now.
    WCV is right: the FEAR cycle that so many are caught in is just awful and because of it, the Supid is not going to yield ground any time soon.. And it was created by the media and politicians looking to advance themselves (financially or politically). It is just pathetic to see the Media and the Party of Death try to recreate the FEAR cycle this summer (similar to 2 years ago) with women to advance their political agenda. Somehow, I just hope and pray people will reach a point of understanding, and learn to not respond to the fear prompts.

    There’s some talk of another Covid variant that will arrive in time for the Midterms (convenient?)

    However, I am glad you’re travelling again. ENJOY every moment of it and post pictures when you get a chance.

  17. MaterDeicolumbae says:

    Did you get to pet the service dog (of course with the owner’s permission)?
    I hope you found out the dog’s name!
    As a dog lover I would have been thrilled to see that big puppy as a travel buddy!!

  18. KateD says:

    Safe travels, Father. Maybe say a blessing on the land as you fly over?

  19. ex seaxe says:

    FFP2 vs. N95

    FFP2 and N95 masks are quite similar in regards to filtration effectiveness. The key difference is FFP2 follows the European EN 149 standard, while N95 follows the American NIOSH standard. FFP2 must filter at least 94% of airborne particles, while N95 must filter at least 95%.

    Bottom line : N95 is better (higher filtration) than FFP2

  20. grateful says:

    the shoes and the dog…too much!

  21. WGS says:

    and as to running shoes and running lights, it is convenient for memory that: “The sailor named Red left port.”

    red green
    left right
    port starboard

    The shorter word of each pair is a clue to how the words fit together.

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    Mater, I always get the feeling I can’t pet service dogs. They’re on duty and some people don’t like them petted. That is super hard for me.
    Raphael, personally I like your sacred heart flag idea. Easy for dad to bring too.
    Mask theater is absurd, and will continue as long as we cooperate. The worst are the medical buildings and offices. You’d think it was ebola. But facts no longer matter. Control matters.
    Happy and safe travels, Fr. Z.

  23. Imrahil says:

    The slowness in ending a temporary measure such as masks (noone if he thinks about it wants them to stay, no one) when the situation has obviously become permanent (and, in addition, quite tolerable, but that is not even the point) does get on the nerves, yes.

    But noone would lecture someone with N95 that it’s not FFP2. They would of course not say “yes, you can also take N95” if in the regulations something different is written in black and white; but noone would hold up an N95 wearer and say “you can’t enter; that’s not the mask we require”. Much of all about that is absurd, but I can’t imagine it to go as absurd as that.

  24. JonPatrick says:

    @aviva it wouldn’t surprise me that we suddenly have a “resurgence” in October resulting in a call for unlimited mail in ballots. Of course it is harder to fix a midterm with hundreds of races, that’s a lot of ballot carrying “mules” that will be needed.

    The COVID theatre is worst at doctor’s offices. Later this morning I have to go for a checkup at an office where they give you a plastic card to tell people not to sit where you have been sitting until they sanitize it. I guess they didn’t get the memo that says COVID is not transmitted by contact.

    Actually I heard that a court in Italy struck down the vaccine requirement. Maybe some sanity is starting to return.

  25. Sandy says:

    I agree, port and starboard. My pilot husband taught me years ago, “port wine”, thus port is red (and left, of course).
    Safe travels, Father, surrounded by the angels! Soak it all in for the rest of us :) My roots are Spanish, but I loved Italy when I saw it so many years ago.

  26. Charivari Rob says:

    Re: shoes/trends – I bought socks recently. Good brand, supposedly form-fitting (spoiler alert: FAIL). They came with the pattern labeling each one “L” or “R”. sigh

    Re: service dogs – Do not distract them.
    If the harness is on, they’re working, even if they may not appear (to outsiders) to be obviously guiding or whatever at the moment. The harness is part of their training/conditioning
    In a public/crowd situation, assume they’re working until told otherwise, even if no harness.

  27. Liz says:

    My guess about the mismatched shoe lady is that she’s an overtired mom of a large brood of children!

Comments are closed.