Valium = shite

Thursday 05 July

Here I go then, 17 hours of sitting in a massive plane hanging in the air.  Oh the deep joy.  My Irish friend from the previous evening has slipped me a couple of Valium to help with the nerves.  How it’s going to help when the wing falls off and we’re plummeting out of the blue I don’t know, but it was a nice gesture.  Maybe I’ll peddle them to kids for some extra cash.

Soon the shuttle is whisking me away to my death…I mean airport, and I’m people watching in the check in queue.  I always enjoy airports, even if I despise flying, purely for the amount of characters you see all around you.  There are so many different types of traveler, with a wealth of background and story to be derived from staring at people as I wait to wave goodbye to my back pack.  A guy behind me is carrying a large bag of Polo equipment, (minus the horse).  I can’t tell if the person in front is male or female.  The couple to my right have so much luggage they’re moving home rather than going on holiday.  He’s rolling his eyes at another anxious look on his partners face yet again.  The female police officer stares distantly with her hands resting behind her stab vest.  A child wails.  An elderly man fluffs up the document transaction at the check in desk.  I turn my head at each new event, valiantly trying in vain to take my mind from the approaching apocalypse.

From one queue to another, from check in to security to passport control.  It’s ten to twelve.  My flight leaves at ten past.  I’m starting to break out in cold sweats.  The line isn’t moving any faster and nobody seems to have the slightest bit of urgency.  Added to this I cannot find anyone who was at the check in desk not a moment previously.  The clock ticks on and the rows shuffle forward at a snail pace.  Somebody has a chat to a control officer.  I breathe profanities under my breath, but hoping that a kind soul will tell me it’s going to be OK and I won’t miss my flight.  Eventually I push through, run full pelt to the gate and discover a long line of people ready to board.  They had not even opened the gate yet.  A combination of relief and rage invokes me.

I’ve never taken Valium.  I’m not usually someone of very nervous disposition, contrary to popular belief, nor do I have problems sleeping.  As I remove the polythene wrapped crap blanket and pillow from my seat, I pop two back, and instantly regret it.  Now my mind works double time, one half centred on the plane falling from the sky, the other concerned that the Valium will induce a sleep from which I will never wake up.  I’m shaking myself silly when the young lady next to me asks if I’m OK.  It’s just a shame she is married.

The plane shudders off the tarmac and into the wild blue yonder.  I’ve passed out before take off for a few minutes, been thrown wide awake by the scream of the engines, then gone back to sleep shortly after we’re in the air.  To sum up, Valium has done fuck all but make me more nervous.  I wish someone would slip something into my milk like they do with BA Baracus.

Ahhh speaking of BA…how I shall miss you.  Now you’re nothing more than large collection of Lego bricks 35,000 feet below.  I’m staring intently at the flight information screen that provides a little plane icon that shows you the tail is over Mendoza and the nose is in Sao Paulo.  Two hours in we’re still not away from Brazil.  South America is a big place, and as I settle back in the seat and control the fear that an engine will blow, I make a promise to return and see everything I missed.  I might even try Guinea Pig and a Colombian hooker next time.  Obviously not at once.

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