Following are excerpts from the diaries I kept on my trip. If you read my last blog, I made it clear these are not for you, but for me. I follow a fickle spirit's lead and make this exception for no good reason and without apology.
I also feel the need to tell you sadly that even though I have a wall of diaries, there is a vacancy at 2015. I have no idea why or how, but the fates stole my diary of this year. I replaced it in February with a new one (not a Brownline), and it too has disappeared. It seemed 2015 which did not start ominously or eventfully was not to join the others. To this day it saddens and confuses me. When I was about to take this trip there were no Brownlines to be had and I had to use an imposter. I lost that diary on the fourth day of my trip and had to scratch notes on all manner of placemats, napkins and hotel papers until I replaced it with the most ridiculous looking one I have ever owned. I filled that one and subsequently two more which are nothing more than paperback moleskins. I hated the idea of these hideous things breaking the majesty of a perfect row of Brownlines, but in the end they served me well and have earned their place between the organization of the past 30 years and the crappy little sucker which has yet to endear me but which will finish the year from here on in.
So without further adieu, I give you my trip;
This little book has one job: to fill the void left by the journal I started 4 days ago but lost in Positano. I have been planning this trip for a year, but no amount of internet surfing could have prepared me for the reality of it all. I am confident I can recall most or at least the spirit of the missing days.
Carl came over early to take me to the airport. I have far too much crap in my suitcase. I was very afraid of the flight so Carl took me to McDonalds for ice-cream as you would a child, and it did in fact curb my anxiety. A baby sparrow was perched on the fence testing his little wings. After much trepidation, he made the all important leap of faith and fluttered down. I licked my ice-cream and watched him fly back up and do it again and again with all due respect. I have 6 flights to take and if he could do it, I probably could.
It is a beautiful day in Toronto. I have no good reason to leave. What could possibly be over there that I need? I have as much sunshine, trees, rocks and water as anyone. Canada is beautiful. I haven't seen Canada. I haven't even been out of Ontario. Who do I think I am? I can just get on a train. Trains are better than planes.
I have never been on a long trip by myself, especially overseas. Overseas. So hardly necessary. I am very nervous about the whole thing. There is a cloud smiling at me like the Pilsbury dough boy. He may be mocking me.
Carl left me at the curb. I am sitting in the lounge. I have just taken the lorazepam the doctor gave me which is supposed to magically make this flight inconsequential. It is a tiny little thing and I doubt it holds any power. I am actually panicking a bit because I have no idea what it does. I was tempted to test drive one before I came, but I only have a precious few and because I expect some bizarre out of control acid trip I thought it best to not party alone. I feel nothing but paranoid. It probably does not help that I did not sleep last night due to a 24 hour hallucination of plane crashes.
I have settled into my pod. Yes, I am in a pod. The flight is a gift from Joel and he is rich, so a pod it is. It's something between a lounger and a coffin. I focus on coffin. I am okay with the take off and landing bit. It is the time between that shakes me. 7 hours feels like 70. Then there's the fact that a very thin bit of steel is all there is between me and the earth a million miles below. I have so many things to consider. Is there a terrorist in here? Can I outsmart him? Them?
I didn't listen to the how to work my gas mask. I don't know how. This makes my heart pound. I resist the temptation to raise my hand and ask for another demonstration. A normal person would not do this so I remind myself that I am pretending to be a normal person.
I do know where the exits are. I want to open one and end this. Do it. No. Come on, do it. Shut up. The seatbelt sign is off. People are getting up and wandering. SIT DOWN! I fear there are too many people in the other row standing. They will tip us. I will never understand why planes have to fly so high. I am sure it is just some macho show off thing. If planes can fly around the airport waiting for a runway, why can't they just cruise at that height across the ocean. Must we all be obliterated in a crash? No one ever gets scooped out of the ocean while snugly strapped in their floating device chairs. A parachute is what should be under the seat. Just a big ole parachute.
I will not remove my seatbelt thank you. I do not feel all cozy and safe. The lorazepam is so full of shit. I cry for a bit, think of my children, pray, cry more. Not a real cry. A silent cry which I have mastered just for flying. It's a silent weep. Tears stream down my face but I don't even sniffle. There are no gasps or flailing of the limbs. (I should mention I have flown before. I have cried out loud and flailed like one of those giant blow up stickmen at car dealerships. This got me sent to the back of the plane to the idiot chair which has restraints and where you are trapped between the coffee cart and the speaker so the stewardesses are always inches away to glare at you. The next time I flew I was sent directly to said seat. My next trip I was questioned but not restrained. Glared at none the less, so 20 flights later, I am showing progress).
I get bored of sobbing and try to work my tv. I use my mantra. I'm on a bus, I'm on a bus. I am suddenly so exhausted but I can't sleep because I have to stay alert to save everyone when the plane crashes or when the terrorists attack. I decide to watch Lucy. Not the loveable redhead, the Scarletthead who uses 100% of her brain. It wasn't a good choice as I am soundly stoned and have no idea what I am even watching. I am using 1% of my brain right now and everything seems a bit pretend. What a wonder to be able to fly. It really is an amazing thing. These are words I do not say. This is the comment of a drug.
I've decided to just stare now. I feel like I have been doing it for a long time. A hospital meal with an excess of lids and plastic things to unwrap has come and gone. I know this is just a diversion to lull me into a false sense of security but I play along. So has a clangetty booze cart which I wish would quit going by because I DO want a drink but am not allowed to mix my drug use with booze or I will die.
We have landed in Rome and I am still alive. I get up like a normal person, grab my little carry on (which is the only suitcase I brought) and toddle out like the brave little soldier I am.
I am in Rome. I am alone and I am so tired I wish mind travel was a thing so I could get into my hotel and sleep.
I made it. I love this room. It has a bed.
TO READ MORE OF MY EXPLOITS CLICK ON THAT TINY LITTLE ARROW AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE. THEY ARE IN REVERSE ORDER SO THE LAST PAGE IS ACTUALLY THE BEGINNING. ENJOY!