Sunday, 19 February 2012

Anticipation in the Air

Saturday, Jan. 28th: In the Air.

Time is passing. Silme is sleeping with a blanket halfway pulled over her. In a few hours her plane will leave.

Hah! You thought I would oversleep didn't you? So it seems, did everyone online that night who followed my accidents.

At 02.55 I opened my eyes, checked the time, got out of bed and turned off the alarms. None of them had yet sounded, and wouldn't have until 10-20 minutes later (depending on which alarm). I was tired but lucid. The nap had done me good. Dropping the last items into my bag, I got ready to leave and was about to head out the door when I realised it was at least 25 minutes until the car would come to pick me up. Back to the sofa and impatiently waiting.

Around 05.00 I was at the airport, bag left at the check-in counter (I hoped it would show up when I arrived at the airport on the other side of the ocean). I discovered that most restaurants were in one end of the terminal and the gate my flight was leaving from in the other end. Breakfast and coffee needed anyway.

Some time later I was seated in my window seat on the plane. Noone was in the middle seat yet, and I kept my fingers crossed. I felt like I was taking up too much space and that the poor person placed there would be squeezed. No such luck. The guy who turned up and sat down in that seat was fat enough to make the arm rests bulge. It hurt. I decided to keep my mouth shut and smile politely if he could buckle his seat belt - this was after all the short flight. Inwardly I prayed for better luck on the longer 9h flight from London-Heathrow to Raleigh-Durham.

Wish granted! After some hours spent at Heathrow, where I to my later regret did NOT buy jellybeans, I had passed through multiple layers of security. They all spoke so softly I couldn't hear them properly. My flight turned out to be half empty and everybody had two seats to themselves. I was still high on excitement at finally being underway, and didn't sleep much on any of the flights. I got a short nap, I think on the first of the two flights, but after that I was awake and bouncing. I entertained myself by taking photos of clouds, and eventually the ground along the US east coast, until the captain told us to shut down all electronic equipment, raise our seat backs, and buckle up. Almost there!

As is often the case I was almost last off the plane (not wanted to hang around in the aisle waiting for the doors to open I tend to stay seated until things clear up), last through customs, and my bag was right in front of my nose when I reached baggage claim. I proceeded towards the exit signs, which led through several sets of tall white sliding doors.

I hoped that on the other side of those doors, my distant cousin Wayne would be waiting to pick me up..

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