(No time for pictures, sorry.)
Left Victoria at 4:30 in the afternoon on the 12th and it was already the next day where we were headed. This is traveling. It’s not one place or another, it is suspended, quite literally.
Planes have their own time, their own schedule. The future time for the person traveling, however, must always be kept in mind. Just because it is mid-day for your body, with supper still a few hours away, that was then. On the plane it’s late snack and sack time.
The little tv screens for movies seem to help with the tranquilization. No matter how big the topic, how well the suspense is built, on a teeny screen it becomes an effort to follow.
And with the unpredictable interruptions by the pilot/co-pilot/1st officer/here-you-tell-them person, it becomes even harder to immerse in the plot, follow the peregrinations and hero’s struggles.
The announcement guy had an especially creepy voice, for some reason. Probably trying exceptionally hard to sound smooth, in control and polite. Certainly not the usual faux Texas drawl of most pilots.
But that is another story.
Oh look, there goes an optimist, in denial, wearing slippers, carrying a toothbrush headed for the toilet to freshen up. In a space designed to accommodate a body, a sink and a toilet. Don’t look at the floor, lady, you’ll want to incinerate those flannel bunnies rather than put them back in your overnight bag.
It is no use to leap up to be the first to take down the carry-on and shuffle down the aisle to get off the plane. You will get to the luggage carousel or the customs line-ups not much faster. 3 more people may be ahead of you but, really, it isn’t a race.
Like all airports, the beast that is Heathrow has no time. You land, you twist down this hallway, that, then hairpin turn back, up a ramp, down a ramp. 2 signs, luggage this way, connecting flights that way…what about clearing border control?
No one to ask.
Make the wrong choice and you will not only have to go back to a point lost in the fog but there will be a time penalty.
There goes everyone else. The insecurity of not being with the herd but, well, I am connecting and that says connecting. By the time the commitment is made and stairs, corridors, switchbacks run, there is someone official in an official blazer. Yes…and take that bus.
Yes, that one about to leave.
It has now been over 20 minutes of twilight time and here is customs. There is the check-in desk. The piece of cheese is coming close, I can feel it.
Now, in this section of the terminal, must have been built in the ’80s, it’s all circular, central docking pods and tubes connecting them. It is no longer an imaginary rodent run, it really is a Habit-trail similar to the one you built for Larry the Hamster when you were a child or for your child.
But, eventually, sit in yet another airport waiting area and walk onto another plane – another tube, really – and snooze through an hour in the air, the destination rolls up under the wheels.
Again with the race to saddle up, load down with carry-on – my sincere apologies to the gentleman in the window seat. I couldn’t help it, sometimes when half standing, trying to put on a heavy pack, looking around…well, I lose focus. Losing focus means the wind that has gathered internally seizes the opportunity to escape.
And, realistically, will I ever see him again?
Eat, pray, love? More like eat, toots and leaves.