Daylight Robbery (1 of 4) – Madrid, Spain

I must seek the true derivative of my middle name – Therese – and ascertain whether or not it does in fact translate to the Latin for ‘trouble’, or things pertaining to such. Why? Well, not less than once (an hour!) on my recent Spanish sojourn did I internalise, and sometimes even externalise, presumably to much amusement to surrounding passersby, the question, ‘Do I ask for trouble?’ Here’s why.

Despite my travel so-called ‘buddy’ cancelling on me 48 hours prior to ‘our’, now the singular, ‘my’ departure, I refused to see how it could/should inhibit my having a good time – commencing the night before.

As I have an insanely early flight, I decide rather than feel poorly from the inevitably minimal, ‘in-between’ sleep – you know the kind, where you’re, at best, ‘resting one eyelid’ with the other constantly open, holding the gaze of the red neon digits of the alarm clock – I’ll go out, play hard and survive on adrenaline! Why is it only in hindsight that this seems ridiculous? At the time it seemed perfectly reasonable and doable!

Well, Part A of that plan goes as, well, planned, and I, in the company of the ever-reliable lads, visit my even-more-dependable second home, Whelans. I boogie m’heiney off and cab it home by 3am. Having pre-booked an airport-bound cab for 5am, I shower, change and satisfy my vastly empty stomach, lash on the kettle and ponder how quickly two hours will pass. Not half an hour later, when the food has hit the spot, does my body yearn to be horizontal. In fact it’s actually progressed to craving that pissy-pissy-pissy-tired NEED to enter a self-induced coma. With a mere hour remaining, the nearly-completed task of staying awake still seems highly possible, though I’m reminded of the literal meaning of the task more than I’d hoped for. Try as I might, I am unsuccessful in fighting my resistance to cave and my eyelids’ will to close. Godknowswhy, but I fumble in the dark in an attempt to reset my alarm for a mere 45 minutes’ time, which takes far more effort than it’s worth, but the potential 45-minutes rest makes the fumbling seem entirely worth it.

I’m not sure if I sleep or not, but dragging my sorry arse downstairs is no mean feat – just very mean really. I seriously consider two things: a) NOT going to Spain at all, and b) sleeping for a year – that’s how I feel. But, fortunately, my built-in addicted traveller rears its head and assures that I’m ‘virtually vertical’. The cab’s as punctual as my immediate nausea. I endure the world’s CHATTIEST cabdriver’s zeal, couple with my favourite spiel, along the lines of, ‘Australia huh? I’ve an uncle’s daughter’s cousin’s budgie that lives in Sydney’… or words to that effect. Fascinating, and entirely relevant! All the way to the airport…

But, alas, I make it, safely and punctually, and that’s what counts. I check in directly so I can offload my pack and track down the necessary caffeine hit. (Even though the last thing I should be doing is loading my body with a sleep deterrent, it’s that habitual morning routine. My mind thinks my body needs coffee and my body will undoubtedly be very annoyed with my mind, but it usually wins these kinds of arguments.)

Avoiding queues of people sharing that auto-pilot mechanism, I head straight for the departure gate, so I’ll be ready and waiting – and can consume at my leisure! Good thinking 99! Naturally enough, the plane is delayed slightly.

This doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m in such a zombified state I don’t think anything could bother me. Except perhaps another rant from the cheerful cabbie. However, as my time-between-flights is a mere 45 minutes, I’m a tad concerned at the pace with which I’ll have to move to make it. Then again, I ‘assume’ that because my flight connection has been pre-booked, they’re legally required to wait for passengers on delayed flights. As a rule, particularly one that directly effects travel schedules, I don’t like to assume, so I make like a trooper to, thankfully the same (otherwise would-be very expansive) Heathrow terminal, to the departure gate as swiftly as possible.

According to my travel documents, the ‘recommended’ time allowance to make the transfer is 40 minutes, so given my scheduled flight ‘now’ leaves in 15 minutes, phrases like ‘slim chance’ and ‘close-shave’ run through my head as I, well, just run!

As a consequence of the central heating, my layers and toxin emission, I’m sweating ‘rather profusely’ by the time I reach the DEPARTURES screen which flashes, rather disconcertingly, ‘last call’. I run some more, until, half-expectedly, but not wanting to be presumptuous as I said, I reach a queue of equally sweaty passengers queuing like the rather topical lambs to the anti-foot-and-mouth-disease slaughter. Again, making it safely and as punctually as circumstances allow is what counts.

The flight’s fine, even if they’re ‘sorry they’ve run out of vegetarian meals’. What? You can’t ‘run out’ of something that is specified on my travel documents, double-checked at check-in and clearly marked on my boarding card! I have neither the energy nor inclination to give a damn. However, slightly more worrying, is my second questioning (and I’ve not even left the UK yet!) of my middle name’s origin, as a rather ‘playful’ air steward decides to nickname me ‘Trouble’ (as in, ‘here comes’), when I’m twice trapped between the food/drink trolleys and aisle when loo-bound. As if I’m the only passenger seeking the facilities at an inappropriate time! When y’gotta go, y’gotta go! On disembarking, he lends a cheeky grin and says, ‘Bye Trouble, see you again soon’. How odd.


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Trouble Arrives »

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