Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Year Ahead

I’ve decided I hate flying, I hate airports and terrorists have won the war on terror. My poor little red suitcase has returned with a few more war wounds, my shampoo gave up the ghost and exploded and I sat in a catatonic state in Heathrow airport for too long yesterday.

BMI have somehow made the whole process of checking in painless by getting rid of people and having an avatar on a computer screen. From there on in it all goes horribly wrong. I merrily tootled off to departures and then started following the queue back from departures that zigged this way and zagged that way and zigged... look it was just blooming long OK. So after an hour in that queue with people frantically trying to squish all their liquids into this tiny little freezer bag and me staring at my little tub of Vaseline and wondering how can anyone get that much make up on one face anyway we then get to the x-ray machine. Oh bliss – take your belt off, your coat, your shoes – would it not just be easier to turn up naked?

And then it all got peaceful again. I bought three different types of cheddar; I got a cup of tea and a flapjack. I stared through the mist at the grey green hills of the environs of Dublin, I wished the planes would get out of the way, which to be honest they did and I squinted over at the departure screen. After much squinting I realised that yes, that was my plane delayed until 11.45, but some slow counting in multiples of ten on my fingers and I figured out it was OK, just. Sitting on the plane having lost my window seat to a mere infant who would otherwise have been separated from her family and being told we couldn’t take off until 12.30 I then realised that all hope of being at home by 5 pm was lost.

On landing at Heathrow I followed all the signs at break neck speed and it was like popping back through the wardrobe after being in Narnia. Hey this is where I was last Friday, there’s the hideous smoking room, there’s the check in, there’s the man who showed me how to check in, there’s ... Shit I’m going to have to take my boots off again. And then I tried to accept I wasn’t going to be home by 5 pm, but I still must have looked very very sad when I went to the ticket man at BMI because he gave me a WINDOW seat in one of those big seats up near the captain!

And finally we landed at Terminal 1 of CDG. On home ground at last, yeah! Terminal 1 is like the set of a bad 60’s sci-fi movie with it’s white pebble dash walls and rounded pod holes everywhere and the travelators that go down and up and down and up and then the criss crossy escalators that are actually outside the circular terminal, but inside the circle and finally, finally the moment I’ve been waiting for: THE TAXI RANK. I could almost hear the hosts of angels singing ‘Alleluia!’ Due to the one wayness of my road being the wrong one way from the airport I was still happy to be getting out at the corner of my street and sprinting up the last bit, following the bin man in, lugging the case up the last few steps, keys in the door and then yes, yes, yes, yes ... MY SOFA, with sleeping bag already curled up on it. It’s good to be home.

Yeah I left the Paramount hotel in Dublin at 9 am yesterday and got home at 7.30 p.m. That’s 2 hours shy of a London to Singapore or to Mauritius flight. I’ve travelled from one end of Mexico to the other on buses that took less time than that. I’ve been in a Polo whose top speed was about 75k per hour (top max) and it still didn’t feel like I was going nowhere because oh yeah, I did spend the majority of yesterday going NOWHERE.

So what I was going to write and say was: HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. It’s going to be a good year. I can feel it, it may be a year where I should just stay at home, but it’s going to be a good year.

PS Thanks to Susan and Minx for your special messages.


Debi said...

Happy new year, V! I hope you're right and it turns out to be a really good one for us all ...

Brian said...

Welcome home. :) You probably could have swum home faster. You do realize that this is all just an incentive for all of us to get off the couch and finish that million seller novel. That way we can all buy private jets.

Have a great weekend.

Susan Abraham said...

Happy New Year, Verilion.
How different we are.
I love flying! Oops!
But off-season works better.

Atyllah said...

And here's wishing you a very happy New Year too! May it be filled with all and only good things!

And no, we don't even want to get me started on check in procedures at the Big Airport. It was almost more than this chicken could bear - why, I asked myself, could I just not have teleported!

Verilion said...

Hey everybody, nice to see you all. Well in order, Debi, I don't understand numbers but I added them all up this morning and I still think it's going to be a good year. And hey Brian now you've put it all in perspective, I'm a rubbish swimmer and who wants to swim the channel in this weather - so I suppose there is always a silver lining. Right, now I must go and get started on that novel, but after watching The Inconvinient Truth last night I think I'll skip on the private jet. And Susan, honestly I love flying, I love take off and I always rate landing out of 10, I actually just hate airports and to be exact HEATHROW. And Aytllah do you think the world is ready for teleportation? I can tell you I've been ready for years, especially at night after a few vin rouges!

Susan Abraham said...

Just wondered Verilion, if you were familiar with the old Hong Kong airport before the new one was built some years ago?
The original version closely represented a supermart. With the kind of stuff, loud & noisy passengers carted about everywhere, I swear I could smell vegetables & fruit, all the way to the next destination. :-)

Atyllah said...

The world might be ready for teleportation but are humans? That's the tricky question. And no, you most definitely cannot teleport when tiddly - can you just imagine the mayhem - or where you might end up!

Verilion said...

Hey Susan, I haven't been to Hong Kong before, but it kind of sounds a bit like queuing at Orly airport to go to Corsica. Corsicans are insane at the best of times, when you're trying to cram them onto a tin tube it gets even crazier.
And oh Phoeey Aytllah, but those are the moments when you really need to just be whisked home. It actually sounds like it could be quite fun. Sorry boss can't make it to work today because I'm on Venus, oh by my legs went to Hawaii (a whole new meaning to legless).


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