back though the underworld tunnel and out into the swirling mass that’s terminal 4 concourse on a rainy sunday lunchtime where I’m already on the wrong floor so I’m pressing all the buttons on the elevator again to see where I come out which is thankfully right next to WHSmiths where I need to buy 17 litres of spring water just to make sure I don’t get a flaky nose by the time I’ve coated my face with everyone else’s breath passed through a chlorine filter that has probably come from the swimming pool in greenwich and makes me look like pete burns by the time I’ve landed in Denver and all the indians start wailing at me as I pass them over the walkway that connects BA to CO via TSA and FBI.
so I’ve checked in online and I’m 2 hours early which is a contradiction that BA can’t really deal with, so I proceed to the bag drop to be told that I’m checked in alright but I’ll actually have to drop my bag somewhere completely different like off a cliff or something so follow me and I’ll get that taken care of for you except you don’t know where you’re going do you? still, the bag passed onto the conveyor at the back of the check in area and my confidence in ever seeing it again dropped to somewhere below zero which was rather worrying as I’d packed the tadpole and so all the work I needed to do was in there and never mind you’ve had a wasted trip sir – couldn’t you just do your presentations without the pictures you drew in them? without the pictures? are you mad? they are the presentation. you’re not in marketing are you? anyway, if I never see my bag again, I’m remembering your name, er, steve, and I’ll hold you personally responsible for its safe return. ok, calm down and zip up everything that moves to progress through the security screening and then on to wander aimlessly around the rubbish terminal 4 shopping and almost buy a shirt from pinks for no reason probably. I might just get a ridiculous sandwch from starbucks that takes me about 30 mintues to undo the packaging.
wait up. that’s surely not the queue to get through security. I’m surely not going to have to stand next to this annoying wailing family for half an hour listening to that insidious little twerp rattling on about the computers. excuse me! full body scan! me! me! oh, right, they’re doing the full body scan. I expect it will show up that alien growing inside you. shuffle. nice shoes. shuffle. nice hair. shuffle. you don’t really need a carry on bag that size mate. shuffle. ooh, you’re nice, I hope I sit next to you. shuffle. aah. not you. shuffle. etc. in the end its pretty painless and after putting all my clothes back on and applying some of the cream they kindly gave me, I’m sauntering into the safe haven of a stateless environment, only cluttered up by the loons on their way to paris, oman, brussels, new york, wherever.
godammit, get me on that plane. I’ve been to the bathroom and so I’m ready for my window seat. I hope 29H and 29J had some kind of passport problem and won’t be boarding today so that I can have these 3 seats to myself and move my leg at least 15 degrees off-centre to get some movement in them. oh, hang on. hello enormous russian lady who will be sitting next to me for 9 and a half hours. is that your friend? oh, no, just some unrelated wiry looking black jumpered snippy little man who probably will get his laptop out in a minute. right, so everything set now. perfect. let’s get the sony walkman out and start with maximo park to see me through the first tedious stretch…
as we are a few hours into the flight, we go north just far enough to dip out of the daylight and into the twilight to the point were they meet in the middle and everything goes purple. I was expecting this to happen which is why I had planted myself by a window, but I didn’t really know that everything would look quite so other-wordly as we passed over Iceland in a kind of drug-fuelled luminarium, which is how I like to think of the whole Iceland experience anyway so it was appropriate. as my forehead stuck to the window, I just kind of fazed out for a moment – like I do on conference calls about portal architectures and globalization business models requiring platform enhancements that I hadn’t included in the original brd in 2003 – until everything went blank with my camera whirring in the background and mrs seatanahalfakov dribbling over some story about a tractor factory in the newspaper while mr beaky played poker online via satallite with a young woman called brandy from ohio who was really big dave from east ham but it didn’t really matter becasue we were all playing with complimentary lemon fresh tissues