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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

1st Day in Miami

Well! Last night I was “in a state” as my mother used to say. I flew from Los Angeles into Miami. Only a four-and-a-half hours, which is nothing compared to the 24 hour journey from Portland to Northern Ireland. But I’ve never traveled when I’m ill, before. And I never. Ever. EVER. Want to do it again. Except I have to in a week. Gulp!

I was fine during the actual journey because I’ve become an expert at putting off how bad I actually feel until I’m alone, then I literally collapse. I have always put a good face on things and actually believe my own hype. I feel just fine until that moment, in this instance, when the valet has taken his tip and closed the hotel door behind him.

I went into the bathroom to take off my makeup, but didn’t have the strength to stand in front of the mirror. I ended up crouching on the edge of the bathtub and doing it all by touch. I used the faucet in the bath to wash… too tired to even take a shower.

Is this the shape of things to come? I asked myself, a perfect picture of abject misery and self pity. I dragged myself into bed and went comatose. I dreamed that I was at a friend’s house. A group of us sat around the firepit after dinner, chatting. In the distance a clap of thunder cracked the air and forked lightning stabbed the earth. As I watched, the lightning lost its hold in the sky, and the bottom of it, which looked like a blazing spider-like monster, crackled across the fields toward us. As it approached the firepit the lightning became black, and turned into that alien tentacled monster that invades my dreams from time to time. I jumped to my feet, ran round the fire and confronted it.

“How dare you come here!” I yelled. “I will not allow you to spoil this for me!”

It vanished with a hiss.

I woke up with a start in my friend’s house, where she leaned over a banister to call to me. We discussed at length why I kept dreaming about the monster. By the way, I don’t know who this friend is, but she resembles a wonderful new friend I met at Norwescon, called Sonia. This is where the dream got a bit silly. She suggested we should submerge in a submarine and see if I was afraid of octopi. I agreed.

Then I woke up again. For real this time.

Looking outside I saw that it had rained during the night, and learned later there had been a huge thunder and lightning storm. Interesting!

This dream kind of told me that no, the exhaustion and the illness are not the shape of things to come. My mind is already fighting that notion. But this will be the last of my socializing, traveling, lunching, camping, obliging, for a couple of months. I’m going to have to go into convalescent mode for real. I’ve been trying to do too much too soon, and have burned myself out. So, although I’ll come to events if I feel up to them, please don’t expect me for a while. But I’ll be back! And I’ll blog here in the meantime.

On Facebook I mentioned there had been an obnoxious passenger on the plane to Miami. I was in seat A of two seats on the left side of the plane; he was in B just behind and one seat over. By some luck of the draw the B seat beside me remained empty so I was able to spread out a bit, putting my computer case and Kindle on the empty seat within easy reach. The lady in front of me pushed the button in her seat and the back of it slammed into recline. You know how it is. Everyone does it. I wish there was an early warning sign so I could get my knees or head or whatever it is that’s going to get hit, out of the way. So I pushed the button on my seat, gently edging it back an inch to give me a little breathing room.

Next thing a hand reaches between the seats, fumbles for the button on the empty seat, and it gets pushed violently to the upright position. It must have edged back when I put mine back. Trouble is, my seat shot to the upright position again, too. I waited a few moments and surreptitiously pushed the button and very carefully edged back again, making sure the empty seat stayed put.

The person directly behind me must have started fumbling in the seat pocket on the back of my seat, because I suddenly felt jabs and pokes in the small of my back. I didn’t react and it eventually stopped.

Then I was aware of someone standing over me. I looked up, a smile ready on my face, expecting the flight attendant to be asking me what I wanted to drink. But it was the man in seat B. He was adjusting his sweater or something, glaring fixedly at me whilst he did it. I smoothed my face into a neutral expression, held his eye for a second as though to say, “Don’t mess with me,” and then pointedly ignored him. He stood there for what seemed like minutes, but probably only seconds. I was aware of him the whole time, and when he eventually sat back down I found myself breathing a sigh of relief.

Dinner (as such) was served, and hungry, I took a grateful bite out of my gluten free sandwich. Next thing a large Burger King bag filled with greasy trash came sailing over the back of the seat beside me, spilling some noxious yellow fluid onto my (cloth) computer case.

I grabbed it before it could spill any more, found myself holding it up and saying loudly, “What the hell?”

“What am I supposed to do, put it on the floor?” demanded the man.

“I don’t mind you putting it there,” I said evenly through gritted teeth. “But it’s polite to ask. You’ve stained my computer bag.”

He grabbed the paper bag from my hand, crumpled it up into a ball and threw it on the floor. “Happy?” he demanded.

“Not really,” I muttered, but didn’t want to engage him.

The rest of the flight I was on edge, waiting for him to do something else. But he limited himself to sticking his legs out into the aisle and sighing loudly every time someone tried to get past. When I got up to go to the back of the plane I was very careful that he didn’t trip me. I didn’t make eye contact, and kept a beatific expression on my face. (That always really annoys people when they’re trying to goad you.)

When the flight mercifully landed without further incident, it was my turn to be a bit of an ass. He was right behind me in the aisle as the passengers filed off, and although I was slow due to my recent knee surgery, I made myself walk even slower, forcing him to huff and puff in exasperation behind me. A wheelchair awaited me, and he had to wait further while I was settled into it and pushed into the terminal. Hee hee! That was kind of fun.

I told the volunteer who pushed my wheelchair about it, and she told me to write to American Airlines and tell them about him. If others write too, she says he’ll be banned from flying American again. I think I just might. If anything, just to warn them about him. Should his anger escalate, he could be more than just obnoxious. He could be a downright danger to everyone on board.

So, those are my adventures for the time being. Today I indulged in a body treatment and massage that did much to restore my spirits and feeling of well-being.

Just before that I had a go in the sauna, got sufficiently sweaty and hot, then dashed into the ice-cold plunge just outside. A group of six guests from Cuba shrieked and looked at me in horror. I could scarcely get back out again for laughing, then went into the steam room. I could hear the ladies talking animatedly for some time, recognizing words such as "loca". But no one else attempted the plunge pool. I felt quite strong and rather proud of my northern Viking heritage! I'm definitely on the mend.


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