The thing I would absolutely NOT do is waste a single minute sitting on a plane.
When I mentioned anxiety on Thursday (thanks by the way to those who suggested ointments and whatnot), I wasn't fretting about having to appear in a very public forum. The program is to take place in another city and involves a flight. It's the travel that gives me anguish. I woke up this morning with a memory of being stuck endlessly in an airport. I worked upon the images in my head trying to recall which airport I was remembering, till it came to me that it was Manchester, and only a year ago. My plane was leaving first thing in the morning, and rather than face a nervous and hectic early morning rush, i went to the airport the night before and did my best to fall asleep in the big empty departure lounge.
I travel abroad every year, often more that once a year. In 2002 I made five trips. The one that sticks in my head from that year is Florida. A couple of hours out of Denver one of the two engines conked out and the plane had to come down carefully in Memphis. Everybody else from that flight got an alternative connection except me. It was late and I had to book into a nearby hotel, knowing that I would need to be out of there by five in the morning to make the start of the Will Eisner 'Graphic Novel' Symposium in Gainesville at which I was a guest. This was after coming all the way from Australia. I was the walking dead already and was hardly likely to nod off knowing I needed to be alert again so soon. But I had to give it a try. A few days later I was stuck in motionless traffic for two hours between Gainesville and Orlando, horribly uncomfortably asleep sitting in the front passenger seat of a car.
Before October is over I have yet another flight to dread. I'm off to Italy and there has already been a hiccup with this one. It was all booked and paid for in July, but now I get a phone call to inform me that the manager at the travel agency, who has been dealing efficiently with all my travel for the last ten years, has embezzled a quarter of a million bucks and the place has had to close down. The payment I made, 4,600 bucks, did not go where it was supposed to go and I'll need to pay again to secure the flights while things are done to see about repaying the original deposit from the insurance fund to which the agency subscribed. The wife of my bosom has already told everyone we're going to Tuscany. Momentarily she pictures us sitting at home for two weeks with the lights off and the windows closed.
(Marco, It's all right. We'll be there. Image from The Fate of the Artist)