8th December, London to San Francisco.
Those mountains sure look pretty down there. Yep, that must mean that after all the waiting we're on our way. Well on our way, as I write this, in fact - only two hours from setting down at San Francisco having spent most of the journey either over water (that'll be the Atlantic, folks) or ice/snow (Canada really looks like a large plain of nothingness from 37,000 feet up).
The last few days have been fairly eventful. Actually, scrub that - what I mean is busy. Very busy.
Friday was my last day at work, although in truth it ended at midday at which point the drinking began and continued for the next 13-14 hours. Just as I expected it to be the case. Actually, I was quite surprised that I was still able to function fully at 8pm - maybe others would argue otherwise - so I must have been reasonably successful at pacing myself! Then again, there was that incident with the doorman later on.
I had gone in to the pub with everyone else, then came outside to look for a couple of stragglers, turned around and walked back only to be stopped: "Sorry, no hooded tops, you're not coming in."
Well, the thing is, I already had been in and had in fact left all my friends and my coat, including wallet and iPod inside. I explained to the doorman that I had to go back in and after a while he at least said I could go back in to collect my stuff. "You've got four minutes [looks down at watch] ... three minutes. The clock is ticking." So I went in a did what any normal person would do - I removed the hooded top and tried to blend in. I was buggered if I was going to be coming back out again!
Several novelty vodka chasers later and nature called. Just as I was coming out of the WC I passed the aforementioned door monkey who unfortunately recognised me sans hooded top and told me that I was a good hour overdue and better be making tracks. I tried to look confused, like he'd got his wires crossed but probably just looked drunk and stupid for trying it on. That's what the sober part of my mind was telling me at that point at least. Then it added: "You're pushing it. He's clocked you. Walk before you get dragged out."
As we all walked out of the pub, boss man Brendan made a point of pulling his own hooded top over his head as he passed the doormen, while I kept on going back to the other doorman and telling him that he "was alright, it's just your mate that's a dick" and then getting promptly pulled away again by whoever still had a working braincell.
Saturday and Sunday became something of a blur of last-minute errands. This included shopping for odds and sods at the local Tesco, selling Manda's car, making sure everything around the house was cleaned up, switched off, packed away or thrown away, although it was broken up with a trip up to London and Chinatown on Sunday. It seemed strange to be walking about and seeing shops with names like Golden Gate Cake Shop knowing that only hours later we'd be seeing the real Golden Gate. And maybe some more cake shops too.
Only 1 hour and 30 to go now - yes, I am that nerdy one hunched over the laptop in the tiny space that is my economy seat (not that I'm complaining) but we're gonna have a lot to see and do and then write about, so it's not going to be the last time. But hey, you'd expect nothing else from me, right?
One final thought before shutting the laptop down. What is about airports that brings out the 'me me me' attitude in some people? As we were queueing up to get through the security check, Manda and I were behind an old lady with a walking stick that, judging by her very pronounced side-to-side swaggering limp, she needed very much. Behind us was Mr There's-Half-An-Inch-Space-In-Front-Of-Me-And-I'm-Gonna-Fill-It-Whatever ... While Manda and I were patiently waiting for the lady to make her way, this guy was bringing up the rear like his life depended on it. I immediately thought of the scene in Meet The Parents when Gaylord Fokker - yes, that was the character's name - was trying to stow his overhead baggage after what can only be described as a 'Bad Day'. As he does this, someone else is desparately trying to squeeze past to get his seat, and evidently pushes all the wrong buttons. "OK, where's the fire? Where's the fire?!" I didn't blurt that out, but I did say to Manda "You remember that scene from Meet the Parents?" and left it at that.
Body clock should be saying 11:30pm, San Fran time says 3:30 - currently the beautiful sunshine is confusing us so that we're in neither time zone yet. Is it dinner time yet?