ritaxis: (Default)
[personal profile] ritaxis
 Most of this is going to be a simple travelogue, with a few trenchant observations, so please skip everything with the tag "UK 2017" if this is boring to you. Sorry, dreamwidth informs me I must delete 846 tags before I can make any new ones, and that is just too damned much work, so the tags for these are going to be vague.

The only things to say about the flight are, one, I was extremely smart when I packed myself piroshkis and carrot sticks. I had made the piroshkis of my own pickled cabbage, leftover bread dough, some ground meat, manymany onions, and dried mushrooms. They were good, they didn't cost me extra, they helped with the goal of leaving my fridge empty of perishables, and frankly the weird little dinners they gave the other passengers did not look filling or tasty. But not terrible. Just not forty-seven dollars worth of comfort.

Two: I had terrible, terrible seatmates. They were not mean to me, or especially rude (with exceptions I'll mention in a bit), but they were terrible, terrible people. I didn't have to interact with them much because I had an aisle seat, but they were about to commence on an affair so they spent all but a couple of the ten hours in breathless conversation in which they revealed their most terrible aspects as if they were precious diamonds: fortunately for them, they each found the other's tedious and horrible personalities enchanting.

Look, you know me. I complain a lot but I rarely say a person is just plain terrible. So it means something, right?

The fellow was one of those English guys who Americans always find attractive at first glance: a bit tweedy, maybe sixty, with a softly rumpled beard&silver hair, impeccable manners but not stuffy. You know what I mean: you expect an archaeologist or a botanist or perhaps a player of an obsolete musical instrument. This fellow was coming back from a conference in San Francisco: was it a Zen one or just a general spiritual one? Anyway, he was there flogging a book called Zig Zag Zen. I don't know which of the editors or authors he was. He asked was it all right if his friend joined us as we had an empty seat between us and of course that was all right. Even if I had known how the night was going to go I would have said yes because if you can't accommodate the worst, being kind to the best is kind of hollow.

She arrived, and she was another English type Americans recognize. Tall, blond, willowy, maybe forty, with an accent I think is a normal middle class one but it sounds a little affected and self-conscious to American ears? You expect an academic, or maybe someone who works in publishing or possibly fashion. But she was at the conference as a delegate from a group of Zen? or maybe something else? practitioners? 

Look, even though I'm uninterested in spirituality, this could have gone another way. They could have spent the time breathlessly exploring the history and practice of Zen, and they did a bit, but only in self-serving and self-aggrandizing ways. He was arrogant, self-regarding, and always sounded like he was lying about his accomplishments (he probably wasn't always). She was gullible, self-regarding, and always putting down some other party to magnify her own wisdom. Plus, she was convinced she had second sight or some damn thing because she predicted trouble with the pound sterling and Donald Trump's election.

They went on and on and on. He slept and she read for maybe two hours out of the ten-hour flight. By the end, they were talking about their respective love lives. Obviously this was their own business, and of course they had to have that conversation because they were going to part at the airport (she lives in London somewhere, he in Ramsgate)  and they had to send the signals that they were mutually up for working something out at a later date--and it was clear neither of them had a monogamous partner to consider, so this was certainly okay and not my business. It's just--they were so loud, and they had been being so awful all night long, and I couldn't escape them even by sleeping--that what could have been nothing at all or even kind of cute was terribly annoying.

I did pass a couple words with them, once when she had gone to the toilet and I was struggling with my chromebook (it likes to hide files sometimes and I was trying to work, silly me) and he asked me what work I was doing and I told him and he said he used to write for Marvel-My Little Pony and Dr. Who-- but "don't tell anybody." Given what I had heard all night I was not inclined to believe him, but then again, maybe he did. (I hadn't said a word about comics, by the way. Just I was working on a fantasy story)

The other time was when we were about to disembark-have you noticed that most stranger-seatmate conversations happen at that time? They asked where I was going and I told them and they drew a blank. They had nothing nice to say about Leicestershire. She said, twice, "It's not a cultured sort of place, is it? I mean, not like Manchester."

(I'm going to be a lot more careful about how I talk about hinterland cities to visitors, from now on)

And to think I sat in the terminal next to a large rowdy family from Modesto who had a great salty sense of humor and a lot to say to each other about everything. I was hoping I'd get to sit by them in the plane, because they would have been fun, but no. (My favorite moment from the terminal was during the long facetime call the younger matriarch was having with a motley group of children, some hers, some nieces and nephews and other assorted kin, when she said, "Now don't fall over, watch it--" she looked up and said, "she just fell right over and dropped the phone." My second favorite is when she said "Tell him put that puppy right back where he found it. It;s not his. We already have five dogs in the house. I'm outnumbered by dogs and children."  You can see why I wanted to sit next to these people and I was so disappointed when I got the terrible people instead).

Date: 2017-05-10 05:57 pm (UTC)
onyxlynx: The words "Onyx" and "Lynx" with x superimposed (Default)
From: [personal profile] onyxlynx
(I peeked--you have an astounding number of tags.)

Huh. I've had a few dodgy seatmates over the years (and yes, disembarking/preparing to embark is when most conversations happen) but nothing like that.

Date: 2017-05-11 12:28 am (UTC)
onyxlynx: Full moon reflected on open body of water. (Moon over still water)
From: [personal profile] onyxlynx
1,843 is a lot of tags. ;-) You've exceeded the number (1,000) that a free account is allowed. I think you can use what you have; you just can't add any more...

Date: 2017-05-11 12:20 am (UTC)
hairmonger: engraving of Brown Leghorns (Default)
From: [personal profile] hairmonger
That was wonderful. (I'm glad you had to suffer through it, not me, but you pinned them to the page so well.)
I think all spiritual practices have their parasites, but possibly non-Western ones have more in western civilization.

Mary Anne in Kentucky

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