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Hello London! I'm back, and you have rewarded me by providing me with more pleasant weather than the United States. For that, and your well-developed network of public transportation I heartily salute you and I will be sending you personalised incoherent texts just as soon as Z remembers where he put my SIM card.

Having spent some 9 hours on a plane contorted like an Egyptian mummy in a sarcophagus in an attempt to inch myself as far away from the overflowing arm and thigh flesh of the man next to me as it crept into my seatspace, and distance myself from his varied but unpleasant body odours, I greeted London like a beloved friend, a friend who offers the possibility of falling face first into a bed and not moving for many hours.

I had slept for an hour on the plane, and that was all the rest I'd had in over 24 hours and it turns out that this level of exhaustion makes me delirious and unfit to make decisions.

As part of this deliruium and our post-holiday financial crunch Z and I were all: "let's keep doing things we can't possibly do with the baby by taking the tube home from the airport! It will only cost us £6 and we will spend all the money we didn't give to Heathrow Express and London's Black Cabs on pizza!" And we congratulated ourselves on our hardiness and fiscal wisdom and stumbled off into the bowels of the Underground like a couple of zombies.

Here is a list of tasks which sleeping for only one hour disqualifies me from performing succesfully:

1. Remembering where I put my goddamn Oyster card after each barrier, necessitating deep rifling through two bags and three pockets before each interchange or exit.

2. Moving in anything but an underwatery slow-motion.

3. Balancing my suitcase on escalators without at least one of us swaying.

4. Hearing the words "No Jubilee or Victoria line from this station today" without making a noise that's a cross between a scream and a caveman wrestling with a bout of constipation.

5. Carrying my suitcase up the non-moving stairs without bumping into hapless strangers, pausing every so often to stare into the middle-distance and sway gently and appear on the verge of toppling backwards luggage and all.
(Thankfully extreme sleep deprivation does not disqualify me from being married to someone whose prowess at carrying our baggage up endless staircases has previously been demonstrated on holidays).

Eventually though a combination of trains and buses deposited us in the proximity of our house (which hadn't been robbed, or burned down) and our two fat cats and my bone-aching missing of the baby became a gratitude at not having a small person's demands standing between me and the bed I had been dreaming of for the past sixteen hours. The cats and Z and I all piled into it like a fat lazy tribe, and there we surrendered to the unconsciousness and the certainty of fucking with our body-clocks and facing a cocktail of full working day and serious jetlag tomorrow.

Actual, proper America travelogues coming soon but in the meantime an anecdote that demonstrates Z's wallet curse and the combination of fortune and absent-minded chaos that is the time-honoured Rainsinger Way.

Therefore, let us wind back in time to Saturday August 1st. At 5:55 Z and I return the rental car to the airport and then take the Courtesy Shuttle to our terminal enveloped in a smug cloud of self-congratulation on the subject of our Magnificent Organisation Planning Skills which enable us to cruise to the airport without a worry in the world and the moral superiority of people who have four hours in which to leisurely stroll through the duty free shopping before catching their flight.

This is Act 1, and it is called Foreshadowing and Hubris.

We peruse watches in an attempt to find a promised birhday present for me. In the process of reaching for his wallet to pay for this watch, Z comes to the horrifying realisation that he has forgotten this wallet in the door of the rental car. The rental car which we have just returned. The wallet with all our cash and credit cards in it.

His face goes through a mime of outrage and disbelief depicted in various shades of pallor and redness. His forehead develops a fine sheen of Many Sweat. My stomach and jawbone plummet, my intensines wring themselves like laundry. We both burst into spontaneous and frenetic activity, sprinting back out of the terminal, dividing our forces between trying to call the Lost and Found office (closed), the Hertz customer service (non-responsive) and locating and flagging down the shuttle to take us back to the rental area.

This is Act 2, and it is called The Advent of the Craziness.

Once we reach the rental area we burst from that bus like grenades out of a rocket launcher. We have the determination of heat-seeking missiles and the overpacked rucksacks of EuroRail travellers. We fling ourselves into the hallogen-lit stale air of the returns park with the desperation and sharpened senses of people who know that the only thing standing between them and endless insurance documents is some good fortune and the moral codes of strangers.

My senses have grown as sharp as Terminator's. Adrenaline has gifted me with drive and fire. And across the lot I suddenly spy with the acuity of a hawk our rental car. Being driven away. My lack of coordination and distaste for physical activity brisker than a walk is well-documented but suddenly it's as though my feet have spurted wings. I sprint across that lot like a motherfucking hurdle-jumping steeplechaser on steroids, heedless of inappropriate shoes and parked cars and the weight of trailing luggage.

For a single bright moment of my sedentary life I am like the sports hero that scores a goal in the last second of the game. If this were a movie there would be the sight of my body hurtling itself ill-advisedly through space in slow-motion and to the tune of an inspirational soundtrack whose strings swell just as I manage to execute a bold leap straight into the path of our rental car.

"Stop!" I shout, and pretty much hurl myself at the bonnet of the car with outstretched arms like a stricken Jesus. The car stops and from behind the windshiled I see that I am being watched by a nice couple and their two small children whose gaze suggests that they may be frightened and scarred by our encounter and I think they're expecting me to follow through with something like "There is a bomb in your trunk! Run for your lives!" but all I inquire about is Z's wallet.

It's not there.
They drive on, shaking their heads.
I stand there, deflated, my anxiety mounting, my inner fire quenched, my thigh muscles throbbing gently.
The inspirational soundtrack ends and we hurry into the rental office where we encounter a queue stretching almost out of the door and we break 12 years of attempts at English Integration by asking whether we can trespass and jump ahead of everyone on account of our plane.

We do. The wallet is found.
Act 4 would be the Happy End except that the heroes are seriously behind schedule now and there is more Running With Luggage and Desperate Boarding of Shuttles, and there is some pleasing Confusing of Airport People who dispatch us through security for the second time in a row and then we are in the boarding lounge embracing as fundamental truth that we are haunted by a powerful karma which teaches that obviously no matter how early we leave, or how well we think we have prepared we are doomed to never encounter an airport without at some point having to sprint through it.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
I thought things like this....
only happened to me and my husband.

I am praying for karmic smooth sailing on our trip to Heathrow on Sunday....

Glad you guys found his wallet!

Aug. 14th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
Hello! I am a friend of trinity_gal - hope you don't mind me adding you, though I must admit I post once in a blue moon here myself these days.
Aug. 14th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
Well that attempt to link to N's journal didn't work terribly well did it. Forgot to mention I am commenting on this post rather than the other more recent ones because they didn't seem quite appropriate to comment on somehow.
Aug. 14th, 2009 06:06 pm (UTC)
I look forward to getting to know you.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


deep sky, firefly

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