Thursday, January 4, 2007

Day One – Southern California to Edinburgh to Dundee

The Plane! The Plane!

Things started out fairly uneventfully – just the usual mad scramble out the door.We have managed to keep under the weight limit, which is good news.I was two pounds over in one case, but the ticket taker let me slide. She was very kind.First stop, Las Vegas. Until I was actually in the air, I was nervous. I have only been overseas once, and that was when we had actual paper tickets. What if Rowan and I don’t get along? What if the plane crashes? What if there is a terrorist bombing in the subway? Scottish separatists? Sigh.

Upon check-in, I started to have a very bad feeling as I was told that the plane was overbooked and I do not have a seat. I gape at the ticket-taker in shock and tell her that that can’t be true. She is unruffled by my reaction. I want to reach across the counter and grab her by the throat and shout, ”you don’t understand – I am flying to the UK!!” I realize that antagonizing her is probably not the wisest course, but I am flummoxed. I text my husband to tell him that they are trying to bump me and I get a brief, profane response, which makes me feel better. The airlines bribe some passengers to give up their seats. My first seatmate was chatty, but very nice. I generally get on a plane and begin broadcasting “don’t talk to me” vibes, but she was very nice. Her daughter was playing in a field hockey tournament and they had been out for the weekend.

I changed planes in Las Vegas for the flight to Atlanta.My seatmate dozed and I got to enjoy my book. Surprisingly, I did not watch “My Super-Ex-Girlfriend”, which was the in-flight movie.It was in Atlanta that I began to regret not having a carry-on with wheels.I was told that my gate was at the end of the hall and to the right.They did not mention that the end of the hall was about five miles away.It was also in Atlanta that I found out that I had not brought the power cord for my laptop.In addition to being hot and out of breath after my yomp, I was now swearing.Thankfully I was able to find something that worked as a universal cord at the Brookstone store in the airport.In Atlanta, I got on one of those wide-bodied planes and got settled in for the overnight flight.My seat mate was chatty and slightly inebriated. He gave off little puffs of alcohol when he spoke. He worked in the oil industry, which I did not know was big in Scotland -- but I guess it is. We ate a lackluster dinner and the lights dimmed. After some time he fell asleep. I settle in, put on my headphones, look out the window, and listened to a podcast from Calvary Chapel, Stirling (in Scotland). The pastor has a wonderful accent that is so heavy that he is almost incomprehensible. I am learning about Jonah as well as brushing up on my ability to understand the locals. By the end of the sermon, I am getting drowsy. I decide to get some sleep, despite my antipathy to sleeping in public.

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