Sunday, June 21, 2009

And I Shall Call It....Gatwickia

Once, when I was a senior in college, Jeremy and I borrowed our housemate's car to make a fairly large grocery run. We came back to the car with about three full carts from Grand Union (pronounced "Grand Onion") only to discover that one of us ahem had managed to lock the keys in the car. Eric, the car's owner, was in class, and these were the days before cell phones, and our only recourse was a piteous message on the answering machine back at the house and copious prayer. But as we're both action-oriented risk-taking types, Jeremy and I decided to explore alternate options. We considered taking the groceries back to the house on foot, but this seemed like a lot of work. So instead, we decided to set up a new and culturally rich civilization on the grass median in the middle of Highway 9, just outside the Grand Onion. We had plenty of supplies, after all, though the frozen stuff was already starting to melt we figured the rest would sustain us. Well, most of it. We soon declared our new civilization would be dairy-free, in the interest of public safety. We gave ourselves governmental titles--I think Jeremy was a Grand Vizier, and I was the Secretary of Transportation, or something. We were hard at work developing a belief system based on traffic lights when someone (probably Becky, a long-suffering person if ever there was one) showed up to rescue us with Eric's spare keys. Thus ended our grand social experiment.

I'm in mind of this story right now because I arrived at Gatwick airport this morning at 8:30 am GMT after a week in London and parts south, ready for my 10:45 flight home. Worked my way through the line at the check in desk, and the woman behind the Delta counter said, "Ah, yes. The first thing I need to tell you is that your flight has been delayed. It will leave around 4 o'clock this afternoon." Ah. Yes. Four, as in seven hours from now? As in getting back to the states at 8 pm EDT, which is 1 am on the time I'm currently on? As in trying to decide if I should then rent a car and drive to Indy from Cincy, getting home around 3 am on my present personal clock, or if I should let the airline put me up overnight in Cincy and miss work tomorrow, blowing yet another precious vacation day? That 4 o'clock? That's FABULOUS. So with 7 hours to kill, and ready supplies of food in the North Terminal, I have joined the Greater Civilization of People Who are Stuck In Gatwick Airport. I am busy developing simple hand tools and building crude luggage-framed structures near the public restrooms. At least I know what my belief system is going to be based on...