South Bend Arrival

Nowadays every seat on the intercontinental flight has a screen on the back. In my section, 99 people were simultaneously buried into 99 different screens. It was like some sort of dystopian nightmare. I stood up a few times and they were all on. Barely a book to be seen. A hundred little screens, people plugged into them by the ears, jaws slack, drooling their way through stories as we howl through the sky in a tin can. It’s things like this that make me wonder if I’m just a tree somewhere having a really fucked up dream.

When I wasn’t watching films I was in my iPad. I was part of it. I sometimes struggle to let myself sit and watch a three hour movie at home so I figured I’d get Avengers Endgame ticked off. Then I noticed the woman in front of me and to the right was watching the John Wick movies in order and was just finishing the second one. I put on John Wick 3 as I didn’t want to watch it through her screen first.

The John Wick franchise is ridiculous but that’s the point of it and I love them. It’s a duration exercise. They’re seeing how much carnage can come out of a story about a man losing his dog. And Keanu Reeves carries a film very well. The time flew by. We have just landed.

The only downside is that the guy to my right was going to the loo the whole time to be sick. The cabin crew were bringing him fruit and trying to make it nicer for him. He was trying to be discreet but you could tell that he was having a hellish time and, selfishly, I’m hoping it’s not something you can catch or my first night in America is going to be fun. There was also, right off the bat a rudey mcrudeperson who took vast affront at my suggestion that we rearrange the stows a bit so we could fit other people’s luggage in as well. “Well you should’ve checked it,” she attempted regarding my accordion. “It’s an instrument.” “There are check in desks, you know.” I bit my tongue before telling her some facts from my point of view, or making any suggestions about what she might consider checking. I found somebody less unhelpful who I comprehensively thanked for her understanding and willingness to help instead, and scratched the itch through mild passive aggressive comparative gratitude.

Now I’m in a boneshaker van. There is literally no suspension in this thing, but there are sofas. It’s like a cross between a stretch limo and a bus, but the roads are rancid with potholes. I’m genuinely worried about my accordion in the back, as these hits we are taking are substantial. I’m glad I’ve got it through security though. First time is always the worst. A little bit of passive aggression from a passenger is much better than “Sorry sir you’ll have to check that bag, it doesn’t quite fit in our stupid cradle, and even though you and I both know it’ll fit in the overhead locker I’m extremely sad and lonely and it manifests itself in little acts of malice like this. Thank you for understanding.”

I’m thrilled to be here, burning through the potholed roads from Chicago to South Bend. It’s Labor Day tomorrow so everything will be shut. We can just have a relaxed day finding our feet and making sense of the time difference while working some scenes etc. They’ve thought this through. I guess they’ve been doing it for half a century now.

Arrived safe. Lovely room in Fairfield Inn and Suites.


Off for food. It’s 3.30am. It’s half midnight.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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