Nov 21, 2007

OTP (3), Day 12 -- Headed Home (Warning -- this post is long and boring)

Why is it that the journey home always feels longer than the journey there? I don't know why, but it does, every time. It probably didn't help that I stayed up until almost 2:00am, and had to get up before 7:00. Not sure why, probably those 3 cups of tea when I arrived at the Turners at 11pm, frozen from the rain. Anyway...

Here's the layout of the homeward journey. All times are Greenwich Standard, with Eastern Standard in parentheses:

  • 6:45am (1:45am) Awaken for the day. Stretch because I've slept on a short loveset.
  • 7:30am (2:30am) Leave the Turners' house in Hackney to walk to the overground train. My flight to Chicago leaves Heathrow airport at 11:15am.
  • 8:05am Catch the overground train to tube stop at Highbury & Islington
  • 8:20am Realize that it's rush hour. Stand with your suitcase, backpack, and computer bag and try 5 times to get on the overpacked cars. Finally abandon scruples and worm your way past some businessmen because you don't want to miss your flight.
  • 8:45am Change tube lines at King's Cross station, trying to get the Circle or Hammersmith lines, but not Metropolitan. Watch 4 Metropolitan lines go by, then finally get the one you need. Get stuck back against the doors on the wrong side of the car, step on someone's foot as you fight your way out.
  • 9:10am Get to Paddington Station to catch the express train to Heathrow airport. Collapse into seat and think about breakfast.
  • 9:25am Get to Heathrow airport and take the train to the terminal for Virgin Atlantic. Try unsuccessfully to check in at the kiosk, only to be told that our flight is cancelled. Get into another line and arrange for a seat on a British Airways flight, also to Chicago. Collect bags and walk back to the train, get back on the Heathrow express, reach the next terminal, take another mini-train, and get to the BA check-in.
  • 10:15am Realize that the lines at BA check-in are very long. One employee begins to separate us, saying, "Chicago? Chicago?" She looks around at the crowd she's gathered and says, "There's a hell of a lot of you!" Yep. We are fast-tracked through the line.
  • 10:40am Get to security only to realize that 1) we can only take one carry-on bag. Spend time trying to stuff my purse into my computer bag. Then, 2) reach security only to hear that I don't have a boarding pass, only a ticket receipt. Head back to BA counters. Accost agent who's standing around chatting. Get boarding pass. Go back to security.
  • 11:15am Get to my gate with just enough time for a brie & cranberry sandwich (I've got to make this at home!) and a juice.
  • 11:35am Board the plane and get seated, in my middle seat. Sigh.
  • 11:45am Hear announcement that takeoff is delayed.
  • 12:15pm Takeoff from London. Spend the next 7.5 hours reading Stephen King's The Waste Lands and watching "The Interview", starring (and written and directed by) Steve Buscemi. It's great. So was Stephen King. Doze for a while.
  • 7:45pm (2:45pm) Flight lands in Chicago O'Hare. Proceed through customs, baggage claim. (Do you know how many bags come off a full 747? Lots and lots and lots.) See Jerry Springer across the baggage carousel. Yawn.
  • 8:15pm Re-check baggage into United for the flight to Lexington. Wander to the train, checking your voicemail for the first time in 11 days. Text Billy. Take train to terminal 2.
  • 8:40pm (3:40pm) Reach terminal 2 and learn that I need a new boarding pass, which means heading back to the main United counter in terminal 1. Realize that the quickest way is a refreshing walk outside. Reach terminal 1, wait in line 15 minutes before realizing that I can a boarding pass from a kiosk. Say "D'oh!" like Homer Simpson and go to kiosk, get pass, and proceed through security.
  • 9:30pm (4:30pm) Reach my gate area to discover that about half the flights are either delayed or cancelled. Recognize the impending arrival of a migraine. Find a coke and some advil, administer both and feel sorry for myself until I remember how much harder this would be with Miranda. Feel a little better and lay down for a nap.
  • 11:45pm (6:45pm) Wake after sleep almost 1.5 hours, feeling very stiff but much better. Go in search of food. Consider Chili's but realize that, for some reason, it smells like... 5 kinds of wet dog. Quickly reconsider and settle for Burger King, where I cautiously purchase chicken tenders and fries (still feeling a bit of migraine nausea). Find my gate and nibble while watching the monitor. Make a few phone calls and check email. Finish Stephen King and begin reading Ender's Shadow.
  • 1:25am (8:25pm) Give thanks that our flight is actually departing on time. Board the flight. Read. Do a few sudoku. Sip juice. Yawn.
  • 2:45am (9:45pm) Land in Lexington. Text Billy, and watch gratefully as he arrives. Wait on baggage. Collect baggage and head home.
  • 3:30am (10:30pm) Arrive home, eat a bowl of cereal. Head to bed and fall asleep while reading.

Are you yawning from boredom as much as I was from fatigue? Mission accomplished!


Mike said...

welcome home, Maria! I'm tired for you.

Anonymous said...

glad you are safe and sound with your fam. great reading your blog again. thanks for taking care of my husband a few weeks ago. -lara

Janet said...

glad you're back. It sounded like a wonderful trip. Well, all except that last part, which sounded dreadful. But typical. Hugs to Billy and Miranda.