Sunday, 2 January 2011

Fairly Superstitious

I travel by myself a lot; to and from uni, camp, Mount Holyoke, miscellaneous other adventures, it's all fairly standard. However, as the Sherpa's pointed out when I was in Nepal, the travel spirits are against me. It's true. I don't technically believe in travel spirits, but I have to concede that given the overwhelming evidence, it is clear that the travel spirits, whatever they may be, are indeed against me. What it basically boils down to is that while I attempt to get from A to B, just about everything possible happens to try to make my life harder, without actually preventing me getting to B, although I do usually go via Z and I have to do my thing where I look like I'm about to burst into tears, to prevent me from getting into trouble/get me onto busses where there were previously no seats. Sometimes being female has distinct advantages. I don't think blokes could get away with this practice. 

For these reasons travelling involves a lot of mental preparations (i.e. thinking mainly about the fact that I always get to my final destination, rather than about the fact that everything is likely to go wrong on the way to my final destination) also I have to bring a variety of lucky charms. I like to wear my lucky socks. I also have a travelling Buddha, and a St Anthony statue, and special traveling beads (I like to cover all my bases; it pays to be safe rather than sorry.) However, I have lost my lucky socks, I left St Anthony and Buddha in America, and I didn't think to wear my travelling beads. Generally I am not a superstitious person, so I set out blithely positive about my upcoming travels; I had a suitcase full of snacks from home and Christmas presents, a smile on my face and brain full of excited plans for J-term. And in this excitable state I sallied forth into the wide world. 

It all started out very well; I packed exactly 23 kilos of luggage, perfectly within the baggage limit, I sailed through the empty airport, perfectly content. It all went a little funny when I got picked out to have my hand luggage checked at the airport. But I tend to look suspicious for unknown reasons at airports, so I thought nothing of it. I got on the plane, and found I was sat next to a very very very tall German bloke. Which wasn't ideal because it meant we were vying for the extra couple of centimetres of knee space between the seats. What made it worse was that the lady in front of me, who was not the smallest lady in the world, put her seat all the way back so it was in my face, and promptly fell asleep and started snoring. Loudly.  To add insult to injury my seat wasn't functioning properly so I couldn't recline either. Great. Then there was turbulence, and I got travel sick, and couldn't eat the food they gave me. Needless to say when I got to Boston I was a very happy bunny and bounded off the plane and through customs. I love American customs; they're always so happy and friendly and nice, I know this is not the average experience, I like to think they're nice to me because they're not used to being faced with nearly 6ft of excitable British girl. This is my theory. 

So I collected my suitcase, the zip on the front pocket had been broken off, but no matter, for I was at Boston Logan, and I was going to get onto the bus to South Hadley and everything was going to be peachy. I got myself Dunkin' Donuts and settled in for the long haul. At least half an hour before my bus was due to arrive, I got up and stood outside in the snow to make sure I didn't miss it. This is where my troubles started in earnest. I watched in abject terror (only mild exaggeration) as my bus failed entirely to stop. IT JUST DIDN'T STOP. At all. This was no laughing matter. I had to run, top up my Charlie Card, and catch the next Silver Line T. I got on the next one, but by this point it was 4.45 and the connecting bus to Springfield left at 5.20, and there were delays on the line for unknown reasons. I have never run through a station as quickly as I legged it through South Station. Luckily I have a fair amount of leg so I can go pretty fast. I got to the ticket desk only to be informed that there were no tickets left to Springfield. I thought I was going to cry, suddenly the lady found one more ticket, gave me a student discount and bundled me off to my gate. I got on the bus, happy as larry, sat down, in the last seat on the  bus, which was by the toilet, but it was all good, and waited to leave. At which point I realised I was no longer in possession of my Ukulele. 

So I did my looking like I'm about to cry and speaking in my best British accent trick, and the bus driver promised to wait while I ran BACK through the bus station to see if the Ukulele was at the ticket counter. Luckily it was right there, so I ran through the bus station one more time, walked all the way down the bus, trying not to look to guilty and we were OFF! Off out into Boston, onto the Mass Pike, and in the direction of my bed, and hopefully some form of sustenance. If all goes well.

Which is how I ended up on the bus to Springfield in the seat by the toilet, which smells, erm, interesting, with no reading light, but pretty safe in the knowledge that I'm actually likely to make it back to Mount Holyoke. Eventually. Touch on wood. Yep, definitely not superstitious at all.  

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