It’s raining in England today, not that this is all that special. It rains most days. But today I had the absolute best rainy day. It was perfect in a way that Jack Johnson, introverts, and those with large families or children can appreciate.
Before I tell you about my marvelously empty day, let me talk to you about my third favorite form of transportation:
Okay, so I love flying. I love it.
I love flying for the same reason I love car, train, and bus rides: I love feeling like I’m going somewhere.
Traveling is the answer to the cognitive dissonance of productivity. Usually, you’re either productive and wishing you were being unproductive, or you’re unproductive and feeling like you should be productive. When you travel, you can sit and do nothing but listen to music under the guise of productivity: getting from point A to point B.
Now, some people would disagree with me. They would say flying is horrible. I don’t think that’s accurate. Flying is awkward. As an awkward person, I can easily see awkwardness in the world around me, and flights are awkward. Awkward moments during a flight include:
- When you find your seat and have to ask someone to move to let you in.
- When you try to put your luggage in the overhead compartment and it’s either full, or your bag is too heavy to lift. And everyone standing behind you is watching.
- When your seatmates arrive and you have to choose between awkward small talk and ignoring each other’s existence for the next 2-24 hours.
- When you have the window seat and the person next to you is looking out the window, but it feels like they’re looking at you so you look out the window too.
- When you need to go to the bathroom. Everything about this is awkward: asking to be let out, walking there, waiting there, being there, walking back. Everything.
- When you want to ask for alcohol, but everyone around you asked for water or Coca Cola, and you don’t want to be that person.
- When you want to readjust yourself, but it feels like a huge commotion. So, you don’t move for an hour, and both of your legs fall asleep.
Trust me, I get it. But, I’ve found that if you have four things: a good book, good music, window seat, and an empty bladder, then it’s okay.
Over a week ago, I flew to Copenhagen to visit my friend Emily who is studying there for the semester. You can read about her adventures here.
Copenhagen is my soul city for the following reasons: They have blankets everywhere. I love blankets. They have pillows everywhere. I love pillows. Their coins look like donuts. I love donuts. The people don’t wear color. I don’t like color. Oh, and everyone there is beautiful. I like beautiful people.
My friend Emily, her boyfriend Jeremy, and I spent a few days walking around the city. We visited Christiania. It’s this self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood in Copenhagen. Wikipedia calls it a micronation, but I think that’s a bit much. You can’t take pictures inside of the neighborhood because what happens is not strictly legal.
We also spent some nice nights in. We had a scary movie marathon, ate pie at Jeremy’s basketball game, had family dinner, and went thrift-store shopping.
There was a moment were Jeremy got robbed. We were on a very crowded bus. Two women hurried off after only one stop, and Jeremy ran after them saying, “They took my wallet.” Crime stoppers that we are, Emily and I stood confused on the bus while we, along with everyone else, watched a very awkward exchange between Jeremy and the two women. His exact words were, “I know you have my wallet. Give it back.” She gave it back. It reminded me of kindergarten. And that is an example of happily avoiding a potentially horrible situation.
I encountered a potentially horrible situation of my own on my way back to Canterbury. On Monday, my flight home was cancelled. The worst storm Amsterdam had seen in ten years was due Tuesday, and the airport pre-emptively shut down like the U.S. government.
We hunkered down in Emily’s apartment to wait it out. For a few hours, Copenhagen looked almost apocalyptic. People ran from doorway to doorway, windows crashed in, and the wind blew over seemingly immovable objects.
I was scheduled for a flight home the following evening. Emily and Jeremy put me on the train, and I began to make my way back to jolly old England.That was not the potentially horrible situation.
Just before boarding my plane in Copenhagen, I realized that I had 40 minutes
between the arrival of my plane and the departure of my connecting flight. This is the potentially horrible situation.
The entire flight, I obsessed over the idea of not making my connection. After leaving the plane, I had about 25 minutes to get my ticket, find the transfer area, go through passport control and security, and board my flight.
I pretty much came to terms with not making my connection when the loading bridge broke. I understood that I was going to sleep in the airport, but in my mind it was super cool like in the movie The Terminal. It was a very strange environment, being so close to that many unhappily anxious people. Ten minutes later, it was fixed and we were let off of the plane. That gave me 15 minutes to catch my connection.
I had already decided not to run. Now, this may seem ill advised. In my mind, there are very few things worth running for. If at any point in my life, I face a masked stranger in a dark alley, yes, I will run. Most other scenarios: probably not. Like any hang-up, Freud would trace it back to a childhood memory. Specifically, my being told in no uncertain terms that I look like a chicken when I run.
So, I speed walked. I speed walked like a retired woman wearing a sweat suit in the mall. I’d like to think I looked dignified, but I realize that’s probably in vain. All the while, some Swedish woman kept asking me to report to my terminal via the intercom.
By some miracle, I made it. Ticket, passport control, and security in under 20 minutes, and I didn’t even run. And, because no one flies to Manston ever, this flight was practically half-empty. As a result, I had an entire row of seats to myself. Please appreciate how rare and fabulous this was.
Like I said, it’s raining here in Canterbury. Slow and steady. I told you it’s been a marvelous day of nothingness, and then interrupted myself to talk about airplanes (doesn’t really make sense to me either). Well, here’s a breakdown of my Saturday, November 9, 2013:
- Woke up at 10:55.
- Woke up for real at 1:00.
- Cleaned my room. I love cleaning. This was a highlight.
- Put away notes for the 30%-of-my-grade essay due yesterday.
- Listened to rainy day music.
- Decided to make pancakes.
- Made pancakes.
- Watched The Fellowship of the Ring while I ate pancakes.
And now I’m writing this post.
Now, let me say something. Detailing the events of the past 20 hours of my life makes me uncomfortable. See, I have one rule for this whole online presence thing. That rule is simple: Do not post anything on the Internet that is not interesting.
This rule has an addendum that reads: The Internet is not your personal diary.
Note: I hate the word diary. It sounds feminine and like it’s full of frilly things. I like journal. I think heroes and kings had journals. It sounds strong. I only used diary here because it better made my point.
The Internet was originally created as APRAnet (Advanced Research Project Agency). It was created because researchers at liberal arts colleges and NGOs were upset that they weren’t given one of the few, powerful research computers.
I watched The Matrix last night, so I’m pretty much an expert on all things technology now.
The point is that the Internet was made for important things. It’s great that everyone’s connected, but the general public does not particularly care what you or I had for breakfast, and doesn’t care that you’re going to take a nap. And now you’ve permanently archived that thought in cyber space. Some things are not worth permanent documentation on the worldwide web. They just aren’t.
So, when I write this blog, I get anxious. I just told you the sequence of the last 20 hours of my life and one of those events was watching The Lord of the Rings while I ate pancakes. It feels very self-righteous to post the mundane details of your life on the Internet. I mean, it’s a capitalized word.
And then I get nervous in a very libertarian, Ron Swanson kind of way. I’ll be permanently linked to this blog. After I’m gone and technology takes over the world and humans become batteries, this will be floating in cyberspace.
It’s like leaving an online footprint. Like the environmentalists, I’m very self-conscious of my footprint.
I listed my perfectly non-eventful day because I have a point that I thought merited its listing. See, today I am supposed to be in London. My housemates and I planned a two-day trip earlier this week, but yesterday I missed my bus. It’s always the damn bus. There is a story here, but it’s not particularly interesting, and I’ve informed you of my one rule.
Suffice it to say that I was up very late working on a very important paper. I slept through my very loud alarm, and turned in this very important paper very close to its deadline. And afterwards, I was very tired.
So, today could have been a very bad day (I swear it’s the last one). A depressingly routine Saturday of nothingness in Canterbury. But it wasn’t.
Sometimes a series of unfortunate events (a stolen wallet, a cancelled flight, a missed bus) lead to a perfectly good ending. I guess that’s why I didn’t run and I didn’t mind so much when I missed my bus.
Things may not turn out as you planned, but they’ll turn out perfectly well. I would say ‘as they should,’ but I’m not sure how much stock I put in fate.
So, miss a bus and take a rainy day once in a while. It may not be what you wanted, but it may be just what you need.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.