Monday September, 8
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” just so happened to be the best part of the British Airways flight from SFO to Heathrow. I’d wanted to see the movie, Shelly didn’t, so personal screens on the plane made this a reality. We got the edited version, no full frontal shots, but the setup still worked.
The rest of the trip – nine hours in all – was brutal as always. Stuck in the middle seat, forced to try and sleep sitting up, my arms tucked in between the arm rests, my restless legs (short they may be), fighting to get comfortable … the scenario played out repeatedly throughout the trip. The stocky ex-commando grey-haired guy next to me, looking at wifi schematics on his PC, was gruff and spraying bad breath. Shelly was in her own iPod world of podcasts and word-game books.
Trying to sleep, high on two benadryls, is a real mind game. Even my new Ambiance iPhone app, although pretty effective (I like “machine”), couldn’t compete with me worrying about my life, Frances and whether she would eat while we were gone, Mickey, Mickey, Mickey, a smattering of work, and you name it. Insomniacs know what I am talking about.
Arriving in Heathrow only made me crankier. Our carry-on bags that had just crossed over the U.S. and the Atlantic were deemed too big for the next leg of the trip. Fucking with the Americans – a pastime shared by too many countries.
Loved being back in England, even if they took our bags, and even if though it was for less than three hours. Had a quick lunch at Wagamama, failed to find free wifi anywhere in the airport, bought some chocolate, and Harrod’s tea, Number 14, for Shelly, and headed on our way.
On the three-hour flight to Roma, I played some iPhone mahjong, slept a bit, and cruised Italy for the first time since 1984. Dusk. We were picked up by a Mercedes driving, slick Italian guy, who smelled of cigarette smoke. He said nothing except when he argued with Shelly to close her window. She wouldn’t because of the smoke, so he argued again and turned up the air conditioning.
Our driver drove through impossibly narrow and winding cobblestone streets and deposited us in front of our Trastevere apartment, our home for the next five days.