Eat @ Joe's By Ralph Raffio
I Have Family in Paris Now. We All Do.
November 19, 2015 -- I finally made it to Paris, for the first time ever, about a month ago.

Today all I can think about is booking a flight, any flight, back to Paris. That's big for me because I've got a short fuse when it comes to air travel. A very short fuse. Simple as that.

My wife and I took a bus to Boston/Logan from Portland, Maine, last month because I refuse to travel from our hometown "jetport" due to the endless connections that air travel from small markets requires. From Logan, at least, we could catch a nonstop flight to Paris/CDG on Air France. Easy peasy.

For an extra hundred bucks and change, we even wrangled an "upgrade" into the upper deck of the aging Boeing 747 that Air France still uses on some Boston-Paris flights. Air France never put its much-liked premium economy on the Boeing 747s, but at least the upper deck coach seats have a few extra inches of legroom. We even had an empty middle seat.

Travel to Paris that night was effortless and painless, just the way I like it. Actually, it's not only the way I like it. It's the way I demand it.

Faced with complex flight itineraries, I often beg off an airplane trip entirely. No flights, no hassle whatsoever.

I understand that this makes me very different from most of you reading this. You travel by air because you must. Your livelihood often depends on it. On the other hand, pleasure is my bag. If I can't figure out a way to make traveling easy then I figure out a way to not do it at all. Which is why I'd never made it to Paris until last month.

But as I said, today all I can think about is booking a flight--any flight, even from right here in Maine--back to Paris. I feel as though I belong there right now. Like we all belong there.

Who cares how much a same-day booking would cost? What difference does it make that it'll take fifteen and a half hours from departure to arrival with connections and layovers? So what that the only seats that are open are in economy--and in the middle? To say nothing of the pumped-up security and the extra couple hours that'll add to the trip. And the chance that my flight might get diverted by some a-holes phoning in bomb threats.

When your family needs you, when they're really, really hurting, you show up.

You. Show. Up.

The humans who were watching a friendly soccer match or attending a rock concert or eating at a restaurant or walking the streets of Paris when the ISIS scumbags launched their killing spree Friday evening are all my family. Our family.

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't see things that way last month when my wife and I arrived at our hotel in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood in the Sixth arrondissement.

Don't get me wrong. We found the Parisians to be wonderfully accommodating and lovely people. We enjoyed living amongst them and eating with them and sipping aperitifs and coffee with them and all of that.

We just never got around to thinking of them as family.

Now we do.

Now we must.

This column is Copyright © 2015 by Ralph Raffio. is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Ralph Raffio. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.