In a few days I will be on a plane heading to New York, that mythical city that lives in my television and dreams. There is nothing left to organise, there is nothing left to itemise on my little lists. My bag sits half packed, full of t-shirts and entirely necessary books. My carry-on luggage is full of special little vials of moisturiser and toner and witches brew in a clear bag, because otherwise my face will dry up on the plane and I’ll suddenly look my real age. I am in a place of surprising calm, because really I’ve done everything I can to organise myself.
I was nervous about a week ago, anxious about effectively slingshotting myself into a different world. I kept buying things like travel planners to try and calm me down. But it wasn’t until Michelle, who is one of the people I am going on a road trip with, sent through a schedule doc of where we will be road tripping, which included a whole range of OPTIONS and PLANS and LOCATIONS that I had to highlight, that I actually properly calmed down, because I was obscenely delighted. It made me happy. It made me realise I have things to do, scheduled things, official things.
I also have about a thousand things to do on the plane, which is actually kinda dumb, because my main hobbies in life are sitting still and reading/watching things. Back in university, me and my sister went to Dubai to visit our dad. I decided that because I was chained to a seat for twenty-five hours, this was a great time to read a whole bunch of dense experimental literature that I’d been unable to focus on. Funnily enough, I wasn’t able to focus on Kerouac’s lesser novels or Pynchon, and wound up watching the same episode of Friends over and over again. Julia and I then ordered a glass of gin and tonic each, which tasted like it was made by pouring gin into a glass and then explaining the idea of tonic near it. It was strong and bitter and oily, and I gulped it down. A few minutes later, I realised I was massively drunk – apparently alcohol is more potent in the air. I decided to go and do a wee, and when I got out of the air-toilet, I saw a woman doing squats and stretches.
‘It’s so I don’t get deep-vein thrombosis’ she told me, with a wink.
‘I might join you!’ I told her, and started squatting beside her, which she took in good grace. She then started giving me technique advice – ‘butt OUT, butt OUT’.
I suddenly and immediately sobered up mid squat, and kinda wandered to my seat, wondering if I was the biggest light-weight in the world, but when I got back I saw that Julia was uncontrollably sobbing, and when I asked why, she said she had no idea. It was just that kind of gin.