What a Long, Strange Trip It's Going To Be

Don't worry, I have enough Valium. (Trust me, I ALWAYS have enough Valium.) Which is excellent, seeing as I've been having a series of low-grade panic attacks since midnight last night, some of which have only involved butterflies in the tummy and some of which have involved hyperventilating in my car while driving to work. I have also been doing a lot of knuckle-cracking, eye-widening, nervous tapping, and rabid yelling, the latter of which has mostly been a variation on the words "OH MY GOD HOW CAN I DO THAT AS WELL WHEN I ALREADY HAVE A HUNDRED THINGS TO DO THIS IS INSANE I'M SO BUSY WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?" Probably the only reason I still have a job and a boyfriend and some friends is that most of this rabid yelling has been done in my head.

Here is the reason I am so stressed out. On Friday morning, I will be on a plane. On Saturday evening, I will be on a plane. THE SAME ONE.

How can this happen, you ask? How can one be on a plane for two days straight? This, my friends, is what happens when you fly from Charleston to Singapore. It takes twenty eight hours. You lose two days. My flight leaves at 6am on Friday morning, and by the time I'm home from the airport at the other end, it'll be after midnight, Singapore time, on Sunday morning. Do you know how insane this is, to be flying for two days? Can you tell that I am starting to breathe shallowly again just typing this?

Yes, there is a small matter of the time difference, which means that it will actually be Saturday afternoon, Charleston time, when I arrive in Singapore, and there is the issue of the plane change in Tokyo. But this does not change the fact that I will still be FLYING FOR TWENTY EIGHT HOURS. And you can bet that I will be sedated for most of them. (Well, sedated or reading Real Simple and the Oprah magazine, both of which I realize are very un-rock n' roll, but which I still plan to treat myself to, since I'm fairly certain I deserve them. Also, a very large box of Good n'Plenty. And a lot of vodka, which, hurrah! is free and in plentiful supply on international flights. For good reason.)

I'm actually not a bad flier. Which is unsurprising, as I've been doing it long enough. I first started going on planes all by myself when I was 11, when I'd fly home from boarding school in England to my home in Hong Kong, a journey that took (a comparatively paltry) 12 or 13 hours. Of course, for the first few years, I flew as an Unaccompanied Minor, which meant that I had to wear an embarassing gold sticker and sit next to a jolly uniformed woman who was always called Flight Mother Marge, but being an Unaccompanied Minor totally meant that you always got into the fancy airline lounges and were allowed off the plane first. It was during one of my flights as an Unaccompanied Minor that I sat next to another Unaccompanied Minor whose name was Richard Cramp. Oh my god, it was hilarious. Give yourself a second. You'll get it in a minute. See? Hilarious! All that laughing at the expense of the unfortunate Richard Cramp made the 13 hours just fly by.

I've done so many transatlantic flights---when you've spent half your life living on a different continent from your family and then have ALSO decided to have a long-distance relationship (do you think I need to see a therapist about this?), it's hard to avoid them---that I've got the routine down pat. I've done the aforementioned Charleston to Singapore route three times before and I'm fairly confident that only comfy socks, a pashmina, Tylenol PM, lip balm, and a very large supply of pistachio nuts can make it bearable. This year, I will add an iPod, half of the Charleston Public Library (uh, the books, not the people), and a shitload of moisturizer. I think we'll be golden.

Before I can even set foot on the plane though, have I mentioned that I have SIX THOUSAND THINGS TO DO OH MY GOD STOP GIVING ME THINGS TO DO PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD? It's not just at work, where they seem to be trying to guilt me into the fact that I've elected to TAKE my well-deserved two weeks of vacation time, rather than work myself dead/insane/miserable like so many other people in this country seem to do. It's the stuff I have to do outside of work, which consists of scrawled notes to myself reminding me to "get summer clothes out and decide what looks like crap" and "buy good supply of lipgloss so running out is not an option" and "try Mystic Tan so I am not the palest person in the world and scare all the people at the pool." You know, totally deep, spiritual, important things like that. By the way, all of you who have children and are LAUGHING OUT LOUD right now at how terribly busy I think I am, I can hear you from here.

But still! It is 6pm and I am still at work, and tonight I have to go and buy a MYSTERY present for my mother (hello, mother! You're not finding out what I'm getting you THAT easily!) and do many assorted things at the library. Then I have to go and hypventilate for a while and also do a Priority Mail Dance to ensure that the gift I ordered for my father a week ago gets here on time. There will also be some laundry in there somewhere. And undoubtedly some Valium.

Gretchen C.
Dec 14, 2005

Whew. I am exhausted just reading. The good bit about having children is that it excuses you from being anywhere. Twenty-eight hours on a plane? Shit, I need a triple gin and tonic just to go from Hawaii to California.

Richard Cramp. Hee. Do not even get me started on dick-related names, because my husband and I are terrible about that. It was my beloved Ben who first pointed out to me that the actor Peter Boyle is named after a pimple on the peepee, and I can't hear the man's name anymore without thinking Ewwwww. I won't even discuss Spotted Dick.

Dec 14, 2005

I for one hate flying even if its only 2 hours I say bring me a rum and coke. Seriously I feel your pain. The longest flight for me was 17 hours and I thought I was in hell... and i HAD NO VALIUM! Just thinking about it makes me want to take one right now.

Good luck and happy holidays.

Dec 14, 2005

Twenty-eight? Ouch. Still, cant go wrong with free movies

Dec 14, 2005

Uh you make like one transatlantic flight per year, poor me has to go to England, to Charlotte and finally to Charleston twice in one summer, three summers in a row, not to mention the Christmas we went to England. This is 62 hours of flying. Yes 62!! Your 28 pales in comparison!
Also I finally saw that episode of Friends where Ross goes to the Mystic Tan, perhaps you should watch it once more to remind yourself of what not to do.
Finally, I should have my own blog to tell all of the Caldor (s?) story, I've already got my opening line down pat: It was just turning winter in the remaining months of 1996 and the three of us were leaving Caldors, when horror struck....Don't you want to know more?

Dec 14, 2005

I am fairly certain that 28 hours on an airplane in two days would cause the end of my marriage. There aren't enough books, cocktails, movies and songs in my ipod to make that manageable. Why, you ask? I can't sleep on a plane--regardless of the drug. My last trip to France was bad enough--sitting in the middle seat between my husband and a smelly old lady. I was counting on the horse tranquilizer to kick in and it NEVER DID. Until I was in the car riding to Chantilly, of course. Have a fantastic trip and a great holiday!

Dec 14, 2005

Pashmina and lipbalm will get you through the flight (my pashmina is like a very soft, very expensive security blanket; I take it anywhere that makes me nervous, like black tie functions and airplanes and home for the holidays). And water! LOTS of water! To counter the vodka.

Grab yourself an InStyle Magazine, too. You've earned it.

And Susie? Start a blog; I'm there.

Dec 14, 2005

I'm there too Susie.

As for your choice of reading material- I find it hard to believe your guilty pleasures are Oprah and Real Simple. Don't censor yourself here, come on... admit it- you are reading "In Touch" and "People." Ok maybe I am projecting.

Also, I am surprised to hear you will read "Real Simple" magazine. A self respecting and proclaimed grammar junkie like yourself should be ashamed. There is a glaring grammar mistake RIGHT THERE on the cover! How do you excuse that?

Lastly, I can't even imagine your life. You sound like a lucky woman to me, (what I would give to see the world!) and damn that boarding school did a good job of teaching you to write.

Dec 14, 2005

But aren't you also worried about the thrombosis? The DEADLY DEADLY DEEP VEIN KILLER THROMBOSIS OF THE LEGS? I certainly would be! Clots! Gross!

Not to make you panic or anything. Oh, wait! You already are.

Dec 14, 2005

Sort of unrelated, I suppose, but I think I flew into Charleston once. While we were there, we had to stop at a Piggly Wiggly and all the locals we talked to were so polite and genuine, I felt like we must be on another planet. We tried to find whichever island was supposed to be "Gullah Gullah" from Nickelodeon because my son and I were in lurve with the show. Also, I had coconut shrimp at Bushy's.

I'm jealous you actually have Valium. I always joke about taking it and then cry a little because I don't actually have any.

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 14, 2005

Oh my god, Coolbeans -- "Come, and let's play together! In the nice sunny weather! Let's all go to...Gullah Gullah Island!" I used to watch that with my sister Susie when she was little. I think Johns Island is the one it's based on, but I'm not sure. The woman who came up with the show though was definitely a Gullah lady from Charleston.

Krista, I have a subscription to Us Weekly -- THAT is my guilty pleasure. One I'm totally embarassed about AND YET STILL ADMIT READILY TO THE INTERNET. Real Simple is more of a treat because I never buy it and only get to read the dog-eared copies from 2004 at the gym. But the covers are so pretty! Almost too pretty to buy! And Oprah always has these excellent stories like "Jenny THOUGHT she was wearing the right bra. But look how fat it makes her look! Now we will give Jenny a NEW bra, one that FITS RIGHT, and she'll lose 20 pounds!" I think I've only read it two or three times, but it seems like it would make the journey go faster. Don't worry though; I will also pick up Star. I'll just hide it INSIDE the Oprah mag.

Also, I just remembered that sometimes instead of being called Unaccompanied Minors, we were called YPTAs -- Young Person Traveling Alone. It always made me want to break out into the YMCA dance.

Andrew, I'm Sitting
Dec 14, 2005

Once, when I was flying...

I lost a UM. That's what we called them, UMs. I didn't mean to lose her. Really, I just misplaced her for a couple hours. When the gate agent came out and asked where the UM was I looked at her blankly and said, "I had a UM?" only then seeing the red and white striped envelope with the paperwork stating that while that child was on the plane I was responsible for their life, which was in the place by the friggen door of the airplane where the envelopes were kept so it was impossible for you to forget that you had a UM. I looked everywhere, the lav, the closets, the overhead bins, even in the seat back pockets---not that a child could fit in the seat back pockets, but I wanted my search to be thorough. (That's when I discovered someone had a little trouble with the turbulence somewhere over Denver and couldn't find the sick-sack. Actually they asked for one, but I forgot to give it to them.) I'm happy to report they found her, in line at the Burger King in the terminal. I guess she was hungry. I probably forgot to feed her, too. Thank you for flying United.

I'm off to find a lemon.

Dec 14, 2005

He who laughs last thinks slowest. Or in this case, She.

I am still stuck on the Richard Cramp comment. I've tried thinking about it and pronouncing it a number of different ways. Still not laughing. Still thinking slowly. Anyone care to help me hurry along? I TOTALLY want to join the fun. Or, I could just start laughing and PRETEND that I got it. But then you all might know what I am doing.

Nothing But Bonfires
Dec 14, 2005

Jes.....what's a nickname people sometimes give people who are called Richard?

Dec 14, 2005

anytime you start off an entry with...Don't worry I have enough Valium...its a winner...yayer

Dec 14, 2005

I love Gullah Gullah Island with all my heart. I'm sad my littlest doesn't get to watch it. I tell my daughter "rest your mouth" almost daily. I love all those expressions. "Take your foot in your hand - that means hurry up, don't miss the good things that we've planned!"

If you confirm it's based on John's Island, please let me know. We'll be sure to go there if we're over that way again.

Dec 14, 2005

Jes don't feel bad, I just now got the joke after a little help. I too am slow on the uptake.

Dec 14, 2005

Oh good job, you ruined my blogging rep by telling everyone I once watched Gullah Gullah Island, though you forgot to mention that when Sean was babysitting me once HE ALSO WATCHED IT TOO!

Dec 14, 2005

I flew to Portugal from Minnesota with a four hour layover in Amsterdam. I am (ahem) a "larger woman (fat chick)" and had to squeeze myself into a tiny little seat. My friend sat between myself and another woman who decided it would be proper etiquette to fan herself in a delicate area and a lovely aroma started wafting to greet her nose. She was not amused. In Amsterdam we got hit on by a guy from Norway who bought us bottles of Coke that ended up exploding when we were on the plane. On our way back, our plane landed in Amsterdam late so we had to sprint across the airport to our connecting flight (did I mention that I'm fat? And I have asthma?) without time for a cigarette. 17 hours without a cigarette. Flying. Without valium as well. It was horrible.

But I hope you have a wonderful trip and all goes well. Love your blog. Susie, you need one as well.

Dec 15, 2005

Susie, please PLEASE get a blog. And write about Sean babysitting you.

This is all I want for Christmas.

Dec 15, 2005

Hi, just happened to see your link on a comment at Miss Doxie's and I thought I'd stop by. (The name drew me in, bonfires are nice!) Anyway, your journal is so funny and well written. I think I'm going to have to make this one of my regular reads and catch up on some old entries as well. So, hi! *waves*


Dec 15, 2005

Richard Cramp really ought to meet my uncle, Richard Tease.

(Really. I'm not joking.)

Dec 16, 2005

I can totally beat Richard Cramp. When I went to summer camp, the infirmary nurse - and provider of our get-out-of-swim-free passes for that time of the month, mind you - was named Lucy Cramp. At 13 it was outrageously funny.

Dec 16, 2005

My dad's co-worker was Bum Suk Fun.

Dec 17, 2005

I knew a Phil Lick once. He was hot. He had an uncle named Richard Lick. Seriously. That's just so wrong.

Richard Cramp
Jan 23, 2006

Whaddya know, my name appears here. I lived in Hong Kong from 1987 to 1989 and then taiwan from 1990 onwards and I think it may have been me sitting next to you on that flight as i also went to boarding school in england too (my parents lived in taiwan at the time but may have had to stop over in Hong Kong and get the connected flight? cant remember). Anyway,if it was me, I am glad I made you laugh on the trip! Dont worry, believe it or not, I can see the funny side...