Here I am on vacay!! I’m at Sonya’s writers group as we speak. They spend several hours just sitting at the table here, writing, so I worked on a 250-word story for the current contest at NYC Midnight, and now I figured I’d blog. I’m supposed to be beta reading for the other members, but I can’t figure out for the life of me how to work with documents on this device. I’ll ask Sonya at break time which should be… well, now.
Traveling here was fun. The first flight from Louisville to Washington, DC, went well. But I was using the restroom in DC when an overzealous custodian started mopping underneath my door. I’m not freaking kidding. It’s like, I’m in there with my pants down engaging in intimate acts, and there’s a mop coming under my bathroom door with aggressive fervor.
So then when I exited the restroom a few minutes later, I walked right into security tape that said the restroom was closed. It sure hadn’t been there when I’d entered! I decided to be all drama-queen about it for fun, so I stood there with my hands on my hips until a male employee ran over to me and pulled aside the tape, thus freeing me.
The main flight from DC to Germany was interesting. It was the red eye, and by some miracle, I had the whole row of seats all to myself—all three by the window. (I love window seats!) So I put up the armrests and lay down on my cozy travel pillows and got doped up on Ambien. (I used to take Ambien nightly but have gone off of it as of two years ago. However, I still take it for travel or other similar difficulties.)
Ambien causes hallucinations because it’s hypnotic. As in, from what I understand, it hallucinates you to sleep, for lack of a better way to put it. So I was lying there, convinced that one of my long fingernails was on fire and I was supposed to do something with it, like light part of the plane, or something. Then my conscious mind interjected with, Meg, you keep your fingernails—all of them—cut short due to your fingernail phobias. You’re clearly hallucinating.
And then I was convinced that the people sitting in front of me were talking about me and also trying to talk to me. My conscious mind interjected again, this time with, Meg, there’s only one person sitting in that row, and he’s lying down. You’re clearly still hallucinating, you doped-up idiot.
Then I fell asleep.
At Germany, they shuttled us across the airport, but it was too little, too late. There was no chance I was going to make my next and final flight from there to Prague, even though I’d had the foresight to have layovers longer than an hour. The second flight had gone way over.
Demoralized, I briefly considered taking up residence in the German airport, but then I decided I wouldn’t be happy with that long-term.
(By the way, Sonya’s device is doing autocorrect, so if you read anything strange, that could be why. I never use autocorrect at home.)
Sadly, I had to “leave” the airport in order to get customer service. Ugh. But I did eventually find the airline’s help desk, and they said I could take the next flight at noon. (I’d missed the 9:40 AM flight.) And feeling duly guilty, they gave me a $15 airport credit for food or whatever.
Okay, we just got back from lunch, during which time Sonya and her friend tried to convert me to their political party. It was fun! And anyone can try. But I don’t have a solid mind for politics one way or the other. Now, where was I?
Oh, right. So I had to re-enter the airport, which meant essentially going through entry security, which I’d already tolerated in Louisville. In Germany it was pretty bad. They frisked me completely, looked down my pants (holy shit! What did they expect to find?), and tagged my bag as having something bad in it. The guy pulled out my camera and said, “Maybe you should’ve taken this out.”
Then he procured my headphones. “And this!”
“What else do you have in here?!” he asked.
I was glad I’d left my shrunken head and modest taxidermy collection at home. “Uh…”
And then he stumbled upon my tampon and panty liners collection. Perfect.
“There’s a trace of something contraband on your camera,” he told me. Because, of course there was. (Like, what the freak?! It’s a camera! I take photos with it!) He then called over the police. No shit. I tried not to freak out. In German, the policeman must’ve told him that it was okay before walking away, because the man then winked at me and told me to have a good trip. I chuckled nervously and tried not to run for it, feeling that that would make me look guilty… of something.
Meg, you know you’re guilty half the time.
Darned straight. I won’t sit here and deny it.
So then upon re-entering the airport, I looked at the time. It was around 11:00 AM, and I was still in Germany, and poor Sonya had been expecting me to arrive in Prague at 10:40. Oops. I resolved to find a way to contact her. Hmm… there were no pay phones anywhere. What to do?!
I went to the Lufthansa lounge (whatever that is) and asked if they could place a call for me, or send a text. The two ladies there were nice, and one handed me her cellphone. Not being much of a texter (I always use a full-sized keyboard), I barely managed to type:
Meg arrival 1:00
And this was the woman’s response: “That’s all you want to text? At least put a period on it!”
Well, she told me. And I’m a writer, for crying out loud! So as she wandered away to help someone else, I modified my text thusly:
Dearest Sonya, I hope this correspondence finds you well. I fear I’ve been detained in Germany for longer than expected. I shall arrive at 1:00 PM and hope to find you there forthwith. My heart longs to see the city of Prague once again. In the meantime, I remain your humble and obedient servant, now and forevermore, Meggerz.
The woman returned and seemed to approve of my modified text message, which she sent for me.
Feeling more relaxed, I went and waited for my flight. I bought $15 worth of snacks at a shop: a large pretzel, two German snack bars (both of which were good), bottled water (I can’t have artificial sweeteners, so when in doubt, it has to be water), and an apple. I ate the food and then boarded the final flight.
On that flight, I wasn’t allowed to keep my backpack with me because I’d been seated in the emergency exit row. Goodness! I was supposed to help in case of an emergency. I can guarantee you that I’d be horrible at that. Fortunately, the plane didn’t crash and burn.
After exiting the plane, I wondered if I’d have to go through any checkpoints, but there were none. And then there was Sonya! She didn’t recognize me at all because of how I’ve cut off all my hair into a pixie, but she was glad to see me! And she hadn’t gotten my text due to cellphone issues on her end. Instead, she’d simply stayed at the airport for four hours, staunchly awaiting my inevitable arrival. Good friends like Sonya are worth gold.
That was Wednesday and Thursday. Yesterday, Friday, I slept all day and all night. Now, here I am at Sonya’s writers group meeting, where we apparently just sit at a table and write. I can do that! But my Bluetooth keyboard that I brought is so freaking noisy that I’m feeling self-conscious.
Also, I’m supposed to be writing a microfiction story for NYC Midnight of 250 words, but I’m too socially stimulated to write anything good. Ugh. The contest might be a write-off for me. (I think I can blog pretty well, but writing fiction is harder when I’m braindead or overwhelmed.)
It’s great being here in Prague. Sonya’s got me on a vegan diet of vegetables and gluten-free bread. And macaroons. I don’t know how she does it—live here independently. She’s from the US like I am, but I don’t see myself being able to move here, learn the language, learn my way around, function at a job, and so forth.
I should go lie down! This writers group location has a loft with a sofa!