Date: Hard to say. Still 27 May, I suppose.
Location: seat 26G (aisle), over the Pacific Ocean just about to cross the International Date Line, Japanese Airlines/American Airlines flight from Narita to LAX.
Notable sightings: At the prospect of flying Japanese Airlines I’d gotten all excited about the possibility of one last Japanese meal. I was wrong. So very wrong. A million times wrong. This particular flight is operated by American Airlines and dinner seems to be miscellaneous red-covered pasta masquerading as ‘seafood penne’. Oh America, why?
My movie choice was Her – an eerie, wistful and rather languid Spike Jonze exploration of our evolving relationships with technology – which I mention only because it was, as I imagine it was designed to be, very thought provoking and neatly linked back to something said at the Nepalese yoga weekend (bear with me – this is going somewhere). There we spoke a lot about meditation and how it can help you choose a better approach to things, let you separate yourself from your emotions when needed. For example, think of a Monday morning where you wake up groggy, the milk you go to pour into your much needed coffee is sour (even though you bought it only yesterday) and the cat’s shredded your Women’s Health over night. When a stranger collides with you on your way to work how do you react? Honestly, I’d probably snarl. Now think of a morning where you wake up easily on time, you have fresh bananas from a weekend market run, the cat purrs and your milk is fresh. Now how do you react when someone collides with you on your way to work? Differently, maybe? Anyway, there’s this one line in Her where Samantha, an operating system, gets upset by something said to her but later realises that she needn’t be; that she chose to take the upsetting comment as a slight and a sign of her inferiority but, really ‘It’s just a story I’m telling myself...’
Right. Reflection time over.
Once this flight and two more are done it’ll be time to, in the words of that immortal songstress Miley Cyrus, Party In The USA. Starting in that hot and sweaty den of iniquity, the city of beignets and hurricanes, New Orleans, Louisiana. Here this trip ceases to be all about me (well…) and becomes a girls’ trip.
I’m both unsure if I’m ready for the reality check of seeing people from home and so, so excited to see familiar faces. As the girls in question are longtime friends, I’ve devoted serious thought to selecting appropriate blog sobriquets for them — names with just the right mix of affection, sarcasm and diplomacy. (For example, while ‘Pinky’ and ‘The Brain’ was tempting, I knew which one I’d have to label the Brain, and also that the other one hits harder.)
It was a store window back at Tokyo’s Parco Department Store that delivered inspiration. The window displayed 90s kids toys: Popples, Trolls, Cabbage Patch Dolls, My Little Ponies. And so the girls now get names from My Little Ponies released in or around their birth years: all, meet Bunky and Tassels.
Bunky is a spunky, no-nonsense-tolerating trouble-maker with a mass of hair that changes colour regularly, a penchant for loudly coloured pairs of pants and floppy summer dresses, whose idea of a leisurely weekend run is what a saner person may call a half marathon. She comes equipped with pink boxing gloves.
Tassels is her blonder little sister, a master of the ‘Houdini’ method of exciting parties, a devourer of big books, a messy nocturnal eater and comes armed with a med degree which may yet prove a valuable asset on this trip. Let’s hope we all play well together. Love Alex