I love looking around me and experiencing whatever life throws at me. I try and make a joke out of very bad situations and soak up the best times as and when they happen. I love meeting new people, even strangers and most of all I love how random those situations turn out to be.
Take a long haul flight to LA La Land, California.
Lets start with how come I got the bog end of the flight deals. I had choices but all came at a price so my thrifty eye weighed up the pro's and cons of my travel. I could have flown from the following options: Manchester to.......
- Heathrow then Heathrow to LA
- Paris then Paris to LA
- Schipol then Schipol to LA
So anyway, I boarded the plane at Manchester and prayed to whoever that I don't get dicked to be sat next to smelly, bad breathed man. That's not because of my suffering but because of his - for I am chatty bag almighty and I really do feel sorry for people sit next to me. I have to know everything about that person, I get excited telling them about my family and work and experiences and I have to know the same. I even manage to withdraw bank account details and pin numbers from them; I mean, how else to do I pay for these jaunts? As I schmoozed up the cabin, edging slowly past premium and drooling at the leg room and travel bag full of bed socks, ear plugs, eye masks, moisturisers for the discerning traveller on a fat pay check - I eyed up the destination of seat 18A. My main focus was on 18B to be honest and in search of smelly, bad breath man. Alas, when I arrived there was a lovely lady sat there and as I asked her to kindly move so I could get in my seat - I made sure I inhaled past her presence to test whether she had halitosis....just in case. Thankfully she did not smell and gratefully she was able to tell me how much she had in her off shore bank accounts as well as random tidbits of useless but utterly delightful information. We got off to a great start.
Her name was Gayle/Gail/Gayal (I never thought to ask for the spelling) and she was in her fifties. She travels the world on business and had just been working in Yorkshire. She lives in Cleveland, Tenessee. She has been married twice and has two good looking kids in University ( we shared pics...as you do). I could go on all day but we talked about everything from 911 to the inauguration to gulf war to movies that we watched together and chatted about afterwards. It was just the best. I always meet such nice people and I will always remember them.
I would have loved to have said that the time flew by but it didn't. It took 10 flaming hours to get there and if wasn't for The Duchess (sad, tragic film....loved it), Road to Rodanthe (Bloody hell, I blubbed my eyes out at the end, if it didnt have the ending it had - it would have been pants) and then I watched little bits of Ghost Town and I have to say as much as Ricky Gervais gets on my wick, he was a bit funny in it.
Anyway, the cool, gliding descent in Atlanta made me love terra firma again and a tick off in my "states Ive visited" list. Ok, I was only in the airport for two hours but I was in Georgia and it looked purdy. And here is my picture to prove it.Whilst at the lay over in Atlanta, I met Doreen. She is 77 years old, very glam, very funny and very wise. I loved her immediately. Sadly she was on a bereavement visit to the US as her nephew had passed away but you know, she was cool about it to a certain extent. Well were right old gas bags for that crazy two hours and talked about everything. She was such a hoot. At one point I was talking about airport security at Manchester to her. I explained that I got frisked after the alarm went off when I walked through that thingy. I had to whip off my boots and stand with my arms and legs in the star position. For the purpose of the story I have to tell you at this point that when I fly long haul, I don't wear a proper bra. They are restricting and uncomfy for such journeys and therefore I wear like a camisole with in built support which means, you know, they kind of hang loose-ish. And believe me I ought to wear a bra as mother nature cackled when she donated my wares, the bitch. Anyway, when she started frisking me she wasn't exactly quick and embarrassed. No, she was a bit too much touchy feely. I almost died at how intimate she got. I was, indeed, dumbstruck, speechless and mortified. And because I didn't have a bra on, it felt like she had to heave each boob-i-kin over each shoulder to check for my obvious concealed nuclear weapon. After she had done with her near-rape, I walked away all smug and thought "hmmmm, you didn't find the kalashnikov I had tucked in my hair - sucker" and I went about my business in the departure lounge at terminal 2. Which I have to say is undergoing refurb and looked like Beirut. I didn't fancy any preflight splurges and instead stocked up on more mags that 17 hours could handle, a bit of choc and shed loads of water. Heat magazine, my absolute bible was at the top of the list. It is my gospel according to Saint Bull and I love how tacky everything is. I even love how they know whats going on in a conversation when a picture is taken of two celebs having a chat. I mean, these pictures are bought from huge picture agencies, so the journalist writing about the article wasn't even there so they make up some bull story that we all believe and therefore our love affair with celebs is based loosely on a journalists bull and wit. Rather like the smack blog philosophy, don't you think?!!! Except of course, wit doesn't come into it.
So after regaling my frisking incident to Doreen she quipped "A little case of Lesby 'aving you, then?". Which prompted me to spurt my half shot skinny latte over three rows of people in the departure lounge. I laughed so hard that I now know the full meaning of a hernia and I give my dog credit with having to live with one for so long before his op last Monday. Doreen is my new BFF and I love her. I love how I came to learn about her surname. Which is Dentist and guess where she works? Well, actually volunteers? At the dental hospital in Manchester. Isn't that cool?
Before we knew it we were on a 5 hour flight to LA where I found myself in the middle aisle in the middle seat, flanked by two very abrupt, rude and loud women. The person on my left I shall call "yah, I have no manners" and the person on my right "I snore, I eat everything on the trolley and dont even think about asking me to move if you need the lavvy". Oh fabulous. On the last flight I went to the loo once and I promise you I drank 3 litres of water. Thats not healthy but it was so dry and air-less between Manchester and Atlanta. By the time we landed I actually felt more than desperate to go. Gayle mentioned that the restrooms were seconds away near baggage claim so I used my pelvic floor muscles to keep the sloshing bladder bag in control. Well, what used to be my pelvic floor muscles anyway. Oh I was in such pain. You know the bladder pain face you pull when you think you wont make it? The look on my face was enough to make customs and passport control ban me from ever visiting America again. Can you imagine how many Brits visit the US after long hauls, desperate for the loo, pulling bladder-pain faces? They must think we are such a stunning nation of lookers. As we walked almost 15 miles (Atlanta is the US's largest airport and boy did I know it) the signs for the restroom kept pointing ahead and ahead and ahead. Gayle said that I shouldn't think about it. But I had beads of sweat running down my head and back and I reached out in slow motion for the lavvy when I saw the sign finally came into sight. It felt like that every step I took, I took ten back when I neared the loo's and when I finally got in there, it was the best toilet visit in my life and I will never, ever forget it. Never. It was a wonderous moment and the sigh of relief was greater than the moment where I thought the Manic street Preachers were going to split up in 1996.
Anyway, these two women either side of me were not going to be on my hit list of people to get to know, clearly. Lady on my left was on the phone the whole time when we boarded and was asked twice to switch her phone off which she did just as the engines fired up for take off. Lady on my right was asleep and snoring in my right ear. Friggin great. I was permanently wedged and as much as I promised my bladder Id never do that to her again, I declined any water on board and opted to munch on Trail Mix (OMG, my new fave snack) and the ever so reliable Pringles. I made sure I chewed real loud to let them know that although I was wedged, I wasn't doing it quietly.
The flight was frigging boring. Delta Airlines will show you some great movie if you pay (robbing dogs) for them on your personal little tv in front of you so instead I opted to watch TV. I mean - TV! LIve on board? But in the US, TV adverts come on every 7 minutes and last for ages and one hour into the flight, they were doing my tank in. So I pressed recline that went from 90 degrees to 86 degrees (oooh big drop) and fell asleep, upright. Only about 10 minutes later I woke up as my head fell foreward and cracked on the tray before me. Damn, I wish Id have bought one of those tacky, bulky neck pillows that cost the earth but actually have a purpose. Another 4 hours of this crap was going to make me grumpy. Lady on my left elbowed me constantly that the rest of the flight I spent with my arms crossed over my chest and hands behind my neck. I didn't want their infectious bad manners to touch me and as stupid as I looked (like dracula, you know) I also didn't mind losing the blood supply to each arm neither.
We landed 15 minutes early and baggage claim was prompt and at the door of the exit. Cool. I spied and hailed a taxi which I hadn't read the small print of on the side markings. It read "You are a stupid brit and we will screw you $17.50 for a trip that's less than a mile and by the way, we speaky no englio". Bloodio painio in the arsio, if you ask me but I needed my bed so I checked into the travelodge, screwed my clothes up into a ball, threw back the sheets and feel into a fat juicy super king size bed. That was at 6.30 in the morning UK time as well.Its now 1500 Uk time (Sat 24th) although its 7am here and I don't look like Ive been punched in the eyes with puffy cheeks and oil slick hair. Im sure a shower and a quick visit to the all you can eat breakfast buffet will sort that attractive look out and even though its raining and my room still wreaks of gas (I dare not even light a match even though I dont smoke but still) - Im off to Anaheim laters with the SC girls and attend a pre-show event with SEI (lick, slurp, yum).
Note to Belle: Miss your sugar lips, gorgeous girl. Ill bring you those crispy M&M's back that you love so much even though you can get them in Sainsbury's.
Note to Mark: Boy I needed your super efficient organisational skills at passport control love. You know how much I need you and being without you is like having a missing limb.
Note to Dog: Miss your really smelly breath and slobbery licks, Momma back home soon.
Note to scrappers: will post pictures of delish things, as soon as.