Commute does not compute

Commute does not compute

This blog post also appears on the Fairlady site.

Sunday afternoon, no nap for me! It’s been a whirlwind of a weekend and I’m leaving for the airport – and wet, windy Cape Town – soon. My bag is uncomfortably over packed, I lean into it heavily and zip, ziiiip, ziiiiiiiip it… closed! Whew. Pray fervently to the luggage gods that it won’t explode mid-flight and fling various possessions everywhere.

Don’t have long to eat laboriously and deliciously specially prepared home-made stew, in between bites of steamy yumminess chat with mom and fend off eager brother, trying unsuccessfully to please both. Mind darting around, thinking of the weekend past, the flight ahead and the Monday morning after. Guilt: not enough time with mom. Guilt: not enough time with brother. Guilt: forgot to phone Rachel. Guilt: didn’t go the birthday party! Guilt: keeping Alet up heinously late on a Sunday after she agreed to fetch me. Yaw… yaw… yaaaaaawn – sleepy after a hectic weekend. Try to remember all the possessions I brought and whether they have all been re-gathered and repacked.

Chat with mom, play X-Box with brother. TRIUMPH! Beat Matthew. Defeat, lose (badly) to Matthew. Recheck possession list. Check flight time. Hug mom, hug brother, carry bags to car. Pat dogs good-bye, wipe dog spit off hand, recheck possession list. Drive off. DAMMIT! Despite multiple possession checks, I forgot my toothbrush in Pretoria! Guilt: make Matthew drive +40km to drop me off at airport.

Toothbrush
Damn you, toothbrush, for being so forgettable!

Chat with brother. Plug iPod in to car, select song. Skip song. Skip song. Skip song. Laugh with Matthew, tease Matthew, pre-emptively miss Matthew. Lightning flashes in distance, worry about Matthew’s drive home on dark, dangerous, ill-lit roads in the thunder and rain. PANIC: do I have my phone?? Get Matthew to phone my phone. Can’t find it, but hear it ringing in bag. Relief. Skip song. Skip song. FLASH of irritation with driver ahead as they slow down to snail’s pace for speed bump. Laugh with Matthew. Hear phone ringing, scrabble frantically in full bag but miss the call. It was from Mr Tall. Note to self: call Mr Tall. Check airtime – R2.35. Note to self: call Mr Tall tomorrow. Arrive at airport, park. Grab bag. Hug Matthew good-bye, tell him in clichéd older sister style to drive home safely. Wave good-bye, thank God for wheelie bags, roll into airport and join queue.

Wait… Wait… Wait… Wait… Move forward. Wait. Repeat x 30.

Secretly judge people around me. Louis Vuitton bags, really? Must be spoilt. Hide jealousy and shallowness at own secret desire for Louis Vuitton bags. A couple – from body language must be having a fight. Guy with crazy eyes; potential serial killer. Lady with huge feathered clip in hair. First thought: how cool! Second thought: how original! Third thought: how ghastly! Move forward.

Finally! My turn to check in. Smile at check-in lady, see other check-in lady ask my check-in lady for advice. Secret sigh of relief; my check-in lady must be very competent. Hand over driver’s licence; hope zealously that actual ID document is at flat in CT. Smile at check-in lady. Get ticket, smile again at check-in lady. Over-smiling? Must stop smiling!

Reach security gate. Unpack laptop. Walk through security gate – beep beep beep! Concentrate very hard on not feeling violated as security lady runs her hands over my body. What can I possibly be hiding under my (probably indecently low-cut) summer dress? Smile uncomfortably. Repack laptop into bag, sneak a peak at bag’s x-rays. It’s an indecipherable collage of navy-blue shapes, except for clear outline of keys.

Find a seat in waiting room. Fish iPod and tattered copy of much read And God Created the Au-Pair out of my bag. Check ticket. See lightning flash! over room. It’s 8:25pm – was supposed to board ten minutes ago. See people looking up; pull ear phones out of ears: “Due to weather conditions, the flight has been delayed by 35 minutes.” Collective sigh. Sms Alet about delay – R1.80 airtime. Read a little, sigh a little, wait a little.

Finally board the plane. Endure tedious safety demo. The plane meanders down runway, speeds up and … takes off! Try very hard to not think about plane explosion scene in Final Destination. Then try to not overthink the im-frikkin-possibility of a hunk of metal actually flying – briefly consider that the plane is actually kept aloft by blind belief in plane’s ability to fly and not scientific blah blah etc mechanics. My disbelief might bring the whole thing crashing down! Concentrate on believing that the plane can fly, can fly, can fly!

Airplane travel
That’s a long, long way to fall…

Watch the city disappear into sparkling mass of lights.

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