We’ve all been there, the adrenalin pumped moments before you’re ready to set off to the airport, passport in hand, constantly thinking that you’ve forgotten something, maybe you’ve left the iron on (wait, if I own an iron why are my clothes always so creased?), maybe you’ve left the stove on (you know that large thing in the kitchen)? It always feels like a last minute flurry of activity in my house, I run around wondering if I’ve packed everything and always throw some unnecessary rubbish into my bag as I head out (this time I have brought with me some tiny yellow post-its, I don’t know why, but they’re making the trip with me). In any case, considering the day I’ve had, I thought it may be worthwhile to reflect on five of the worst things you could hear on day zero of your new adventure, so sit back and revel in the fact that this wasn’t your day!
- Your flight is cancelled
I am busy, totally absorbed in a task when my phone moves slightly, angling itself towards me vibrating to let me know that someone is trying to get in touch. Absentmindedly I pick up the device and half read the message as it pops up on screen. My heart stops, a chill runs through me, this must be a joke, we’re flying out this evening, how is it possible that I am reading a text that tells me my flight is cancelled? CANCELLED? My mind struggles to right itself and before I can spiral completely out of control (cue tears, self-pity and me flinging myself onto the ground cursing my misfortune), I reign myself in and think that there must be a solution somewhere. Pushing thoughts of my third world drama (do you know what the South African Rand is worth?), issues with the historical legacy of oppression in our country (remembering the snicker an old boss had when I said that I had never been outside of our country before), I picked up the phone and tried not to fall apart as I dialled the customer care number. Crisis averted, a friendly man on the phone informed me that there was already another flight scheduled with a two and half hour delay. We would still make the trip and our connecting flights and delay or not that was the only thing that matters!
- “I don’t think I’ve ever been this sick before”
Now we all know that man flu is the most terrible of all afflictions, it cripples, it destroys, great men, warriors, have fallen before the cunning blade of man flu. There is, in fact, nothing more sinister and devastating as man flu. If you’re wondering what “man flu” is, don’t be surprised if modern medicine has not yet caught up with this vicious beast of an illness, you may only find descriptions of the common flu or a cold. However, the evils of man flu remain wickedly hidden and with the stealth of a cat, unseen by it’s prey, it manoeuvres and positions itself, latent with the promise of attack. So when my husband started coughing and spluttering like an old car refusing to give up on it’s glory days, I knew I was in for trouble. Poor lamb, it was really not his fault, I did give him the flu in the first place. Of course, I only had the normal flu and he, the more life threatening man flu, so there really is no comparison. In any case, I am armed with a suitcase filled with meds, a bottle of whiskey in a wonderfully ornate box and a series of gentle pats accompanied with the words “you poor baby” so I’m hoping that does the trick.
Now I am a very light sleeper so I tend to react rather violently to the sound of snoring when I’m awoken from my sleep by it. I am not above kicking, shoving or punching my husband in his sleep. For some reason, that level of violence grows exponentially if I am subjected to the sound of snoring while I’m awake, in fact I only ever forgive my dogs for their snores but only because they are impossibly cute. It does also appear that I attract snorers, the most entertaining of the lot being an overweight lady on a ferry to Mykonos, who ate two pies with great ferocity and then promptly fell asleep, resplendent with pie crumbs covering her chest and her hand still clutching a Coke. And even though she was producing deep, resounding snores that could have been mistaken for engine trouble, I had the beautiful dark blue waters of the Aegean as a suitable distraction. Unfortunately, there are no dark waters to entice and inspire as I write and, worse still, I have to pretend to be a considerate wife since my husband has man flu (see point two above) so I am left without choice. The melody to my writing are his snores, varying in intensity and duration, almost symphonic but not as beautiful, desiring a crescendo but never quite getting there.
- Where is my phone?
Do you know that feeling when you realise that something you have has gone missing? That cold rush that pulses through you as you frantically search for something that you’re not going to find. Well, that, coupled with an odd sort of relief is what I felt as the doors to the Gautrain closed and I realised that my phone was on the train continuing the journey without me. I could not fault the phone for following it’s path, a brave, restless path that desired to move onward, to move forward while I stayed behind. No, my phone was a brave warrior, wearing its battle wounds from numerous acrobatic tumbles to the ground proudly on it’s front screen. It was a good companion for the last couple of years; always seeming to have my best interests at heart. For instance, it would often stall and freeze apps like Facebook, reminding me to slow down my pace and that life is not measured by other’s expectations of you. The quality of the pictures it took were poor, again allowing me to capitalise on the moment and create a memory instead. I wonder, even, if it’s final act was not a lesson as well? Yes, that was a wise phone and now as it continues its new journey without me I hope that it will make a good Christmas present fro some back home.
- “Actually that’s my seat”
There is a large man, perhaps he is a giant, perhaps I am over exaggerating, but he is far larger than I am and he is going to spend the next ten hours asleep on the plane next to me. Sounds fairly harmless right? Well, luck would have it that this large man has no idea about personal space and I am forced to spend most of the journey avoiding him as encroaches into my space. I did get in a few good nudges while he slept soundly but they probably felt like light tickles as opposed to the impetus to move. He slept through everything, apart from breakfast when I was forced to eat with my arms tucked in towards my body. He even slept through the landing and awoke with a surprise and a Santa Claus type chuckle to find we were on the ground. Who could blame him for being in such good spirits? He had probably had the best sleep of his life while I sat there staring at him with bloodshot eyes looking like the lead in a horror movie (that girl from The Ring comes to mind). It was a good thing he laughed like Santa Claus though because the moment I heard it, I decided to forgive him. More importantly, the moment I heard his laugh was the moment we landed in Amsterdam and the beginning of our holiday. Who could be angry at that?
If I’m being honest, the start to this adventure has not been all doom and gloom, in fact, most of my troubles have been long forgotten and replaced instead with the excitement of new cities, new adventures and new memories. I would live my terrible day and ones far worse just to have this opportunity again, to have the opportunity to chase my dreams and whatever adventure I desire. And that my friends is something you want to hear when setting off on a new adventure!