Date: 24 January 2015
Location: seat 49E, Emirates flight to Dubai
''Here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again. / Oh, here it goes again.” – OK Go, 'Here It Goes Again'
I won't bother with describing the clichéd airport scene to you, save to say that my flight was an evening flight, leaving me with far too much time during the day to ambitiously over-fill. I blame a nasty combination of genetics and law school for making me overfond of a list and Saturday's looked something like this: 6 – 8am clean kitchen, 9-10am donate items to Salvos and post final eBay purchases, 10 – 11am sweep and mop, 11am – 12pm storage drop offs with dad and fridge collection, 12 – 1pm brief chill with Twin and Planeteer, 1 – 4pm giant slip n slide at the Nova Slidestreet with Bunky, Tassels and assorted ex-pat Parisians, 4 – 5pm shower and deep breaths, 5 – 6pm dinner at Papabear's. Upon arrival at this last I suddenly realised about eight things at once including:
'I have a one-way flight! Farrrrrrrrrrrrrr out.'
'Oh my god I'm giving up my beautiful sanctuary of an apartment!'
'What the hell do I think I'm doing? Did I really make this decision?'
'What am I going to do without therapeutic cat snuggles with my kitty, Persephone?'
'What about all of my gorgeous friends? No one I meet verse as can replace them.'
'God I am so sunburned from that slip'n'slide.'
And relevantly, my head pouring and my knees suddenly weak with exhaustion, 'All I've eaten today is a container of yogurt.'
And I promptly burst into tears on the doorstep.
This, of course, was not my first cry of the week.
Actually, I first started to mist up back in December when — urgh, it was such a little thing to start giving me misgivings and tears! — we walked out of the last trivia night before Wolfgang went to Germany. I'd known our ad hoc trivia team people — two men in their forties, and one gay-but-doesn't-yet-know-it son of 11 — for just 5 months, seen them once a week, for three hours at most, over drinks and Parmas and trivia. And yet something made me get a bit teary when I was saying goodbye to them all. I felt a little bit like I was walking in slow motion as I stepped out of The George for, let's face it, probably the last time. I got a lot teary when I got a 'I miss you already' text from the 11 year old later that night.
Fast forward a month and a half.
On Thursday I survived a farewell dinner with family and old friends without a drop but come Friday and a big rowdy dinner with 30 at the trusty old Binh Minh, a cheap and cheerful (thanks, BYO) Vietnamese diner in Little Vietnam that boasts disco lights and two very rustic but truly magic karaoke rooms. As the wine bottles dried up and people started to say their goodbyes I, assisted by too much red wine and severe exhaustion, started to leak tears.
Come Saturday a thoughtful text message from Ariel set me off, as did a beautiful photo card from The Planeteer (but perhaps I was only crying because I was forced to reflect upon the number of times I'd tried having bangs, despite knowing that they are just plain fug on me). Surprisingly, I didn't cry saying goodbye to Bunky. She and I just don't really indulge in that kind of histrionics, for better or for worse.
Which takes us to the airport, giving goodbye hugs to dad and to Celine. (Celine, who is one of those rare humans who senses with cat-like instincts what you want better than you do, had insisted upon coming out to the airport to say goodbye.) I just bawled and bawled.
[Author's note: At this stage the author, now in Dubai International Airport sipping on a bad latte (first of many no doubt, London not being known for its cafe culture) and tapping away on her iPad whilst also vaguely trying to work out what she just paid 15 of for her coffee almost misses her connecting flight to Amman having cunningly set her iPad clock to Jordanian time already instead of Emirati time but, at 7.05am realises that her flight leaves in precisely 20 minutes and does that awful (/hilarious to bystanders) jump and scramble thing that you see in cartoons and just makes her flight. Phew.]
Today's little incident with the time differences has just served as a reminder of how naive I can be. It honestly didn't click in that, despite both being in the Middle East, the UAE and Jordan may exist in different time zones. This, despite the fact that there are at least three different isles zones in my own country. Today was also my first time hearing Arabic spoken as a primary language. In fact, Arabic was only one of the 26 languages spoken on board by the 20 stewardesses on my Trans-Indian Ocean flight. Again and again when I travel I'm reminded that I know nowhere near as much as I think I do. Not even close.
Honestly guys, I usually try to keep my posts somewhat on point but I'm not even going to re-read this one for fear that I'll simply shake my head, tit tut at my grammar and delete the whole thing. It may be the altitude exhaustion or watching too much Community as I fell asleep, but I'm not feeling entirely coherent. (And I cannot get 'Troy and Abed in the mo-orning! out of my head.)