I originally started writing this post on saturday where (at the time) I was about to start the post with the word “Yesterday”. What I actually meant was Thursday. To add further confusion I’m posting this days later to keep with my promise to myself, and my wife, of reducing my blog postings. It’s the foggy brain syndrome with travelling. So after starting on a tangent, albeit a relevant one, on thursday afternoon, I caught a flight from LAX to Heathrow in the UK. I’m not staying too long and on this trip, for various reasons, I’m travelling on my own. I’m going to miss my wife and son loads, but it is not for a long time. We are planning to visit as a family in a few more months. Incidentally, for those who asked about my son, he is much better, almost back to normal just a few remaining cough symptoms from time to time, and the odd blocked nose, but otherwise back to normal. So normal that Thursday began at 6.15 AM when he decided it was time to get up.
I didn’t need to be at the airport until 2.30 so we used the morning to pop out and do a few things. Over the last 5 years or so I have done the LA to London route many times, and it struck me how much of it has become routine, and how many routines surround it. It starts with packing a day or two early. I would often forget one or two things when packing so I realised that if I packed a day or two early, then I have time to remember what I’ve forgotten. It seems to work. I also pack my case a certain way. Always roll trousers and shirts. They can be put into the case around the edges working a bit like structural sections. But, having lived out of a suitcase on numerous trips, they also make it easy to remove things and put things back again, without disrupting the whole case.
I’m not superstitious, but I like to wear the same t-shirt when travelling. We have had some good trips in the past, so it is like having an old friend there.
At around 2.30 I got to the airport. We always use the quick drop off to avoid long winded goodbyes. I always use online check in so I can reserve a seat and quicken the bag drop off. Security at LAX (through terminal 3) now involves the body scan. I don’t much care if it appears intrusive, the person at the scanner will see thousands a day. I cannot see how it would be more intrusive than my wife’s gynaecologist, and she has to have a conversation with that person. I went through fine, almost forgetting to remove my sunglasses from my head, but it was ok to hold them. The guy in front got pulled aside, the look on his face as they swabbed his hand was priceless.
Once through security I have a small routine around getting a drink, where to sit to avoid being bothered too often, and when to use the bathroom before getting on the plane. The flight, around 10 hours give or take, can be boring so I try to mix it up with a few films, and reading, a glass of red wine with the meal, and some of my own snacks. I tried to avoid films that I might watch later with my wife so I watched “Warrior” and “Chronicle”, the former better than the latter. The book was the third Game of Thrones book “A storm of swords”. I couldn’t sleep on the plane. I gave it a go, but I couldn’t get comfortable, so I just had shut eye without the sleep.
At the other end the plane arrived on time. I had a bit of a wait for the suitcase, the downside of arriving early at the airport. First in, last out. The best bit was when I went through customs. I had a few gifts with me, but I went through “nothing to declare”. I immediately, and for the first time ever, got stopped by security who asked where I had come from. I misheard, and then with my foggy head, paused before answering. He asked to see my boarding pass, which was in my bag so I said I would have to find it, so he pulled me aside. I found the pass and he asked me to put my case on the desk. He said the classic “you have walked through nothing to declare, do you have anything to declare?”, I grinned and said no. He asked if he had my permission to look through my case. I decided to front it, unclipped the clip around the case, smiled again and said something along the lines of “help yourself mate”. He looked in one corner, spotting some chocolates, then the other corner under some clothes, and that was it! He smiled back and said I could go. Most of the gifts were in the middle. On the way out I spotted Michael Bisping (he is a British UFC fighter), I almost stopped to ask him when he was fighting again, and to wish him well, but I continued on my way. I’m not into celebrity spotting, I was more impressed with that.
I’m staying at my parents, who I usually try to talk to on the webcam at least once a week. We usually do this around 9.30 am pacific time, 5.30 pm UK time. My wife and I decided we would stick with this time so we could catch up after I arrived, and also for me to see my son. It was nice to see them and a bit odd given they had slept the night but it was still like the same day for me. We agreed to try do this again the following day. Later I recalled I was going to try to play a small round of golf the following morning so I said I might not be home in time. My wife asked if I will be playing until 5.30? In foggy brain state I got confused with the time and thought I would be going online at 9.30. Oops. Anyway I did make it to bed later that night, at around 11pm at the end of an almost 33 hour awake day. I did make it up at 7.15 the following morning for golf. I was rubbish at it. The rest of the routine worked though.
Oh also waiting for me when I got to my parents was a copy of Sugar’s re-released and expanded edition of their debut album “Copper Blue”, pictured below. Some readers may recall it is one of my favourite albums!
Lexicon word of the day: gomer.