A Traveller’s Tale: Wankers Aweigh

Fuck this.  Sometimes I’ll have great ideas and, being the type of guy I am, I will always follow them through.  I don’t come up with shit and then fanny around like some indecisive twat allowing the opportunity to pass me by, and then regret not doing anything about it once it’s too late.  Perhaps I’d be better off I were that type of person, however, as my great idea in February was to go back to E3 after having a year away from it.  Apart from the ridiculous expense of doing so – money which would be better spent on a Segway – it became clear very quickly that I was starting to go off the idea.

The closer June became, the more anxious I grew.  Not anxiety in the sense of actual worry, but just a feeling of “oh fuck, do I really have to?” because, after all was said and done, I genuinely couldn’t be arsed going.  It’s not even the case that I’ve fallen out of love with gaming, as so many people do, and it’s actually the opposite as I’m currently gaming more than I have done in years and enjoying it more than I ever have… but I honestly wanted to stay at home.

Typically, my youngest kid started to show signs of illness only days before leaving, throwing everything up like some one-year-old version of Regan MacNeil.  As one of those over-protective fathers, the thought of leaving the country while I have a sick kid at home was scary as hell.  With that being at the forefront of my mind, Sunday morning was never going to be an easy trip to Los Angeles, especially when his first vomit session of that particular day began at 5.49am.  To make matters worse, work on the rail system in our village meant that there were no trains until 10.22am and I had to be at the airport by 10.30am for my noon flight.  The airport is two train journeys away, clocking in at around ninety minutes. Thank you, Scotrail, you utter bastards.

Not to worry, as there’s always the option of taking a cab to the airport instead, albeit at great expense.  But yeah, of course, it’s Sunday morning and no fucker actually wanted to get out of bed and take some guy on an hour-long trip up the motorway so he could catch his very expensive flight.  After an hour of calling around, a cab was finally booked and this left me the grand total of five fucking minutes to spend time with my two kids – one of whom was so sick that he was now back in bed, so I never actually saw him, and the other was too excited by having her aunt visit that she forgot her dad even existed.  At least I got one hug from her before heading out the door.

The day just got worse from there, between forgetting medication (which was rectified thanks to a lovely woman by the name of Claire, at Boots in Glasgow Airport), having to buy more over-the-counter meds ‘just in case‘, neglecting to take four much-needed items of clothing, and having a killer headache as well as some nausea from what appeared to be the onset of yet another bout of BPPV.  After explaining to the woman at check-in that I didn’t want my bags going all the way to LA as they lost them the last time, she agreed to check them in to Heathrow and let me do my own bag drop there so they’d go straight to LA.  The day was looking up.

Then I met the rest of the guys at Heathrow and it became abundantly clear that this wasn’t going to be the best of times – they were all considerably happier than I was, with Ed practically jizzing from excitement.  Chris was as nervous as ever, worrying over all sorts of minutiae, and Pete was already drooling at the prospect of eating several heads of cattle.  I, on the other hand, wanted to go home and make sure my kids were alright.

Then there was the plane.  Two seconds into us taking our seats, Pete pointed out that our bleached-blonde stewardess was wearing black lace-top stockings and so, naturally, I was keen to see this for myself but I was sitting too far into the row to have a gander, and had to wait until we were in the air before she came back around with drinks.  He was right; black lace-top stockings with a tattoo directly above on the back of the thigh.  Made me smile for a second, and then I remembered she was blonde and put her out of my mind.  Pete didn’t forget about her though, and I reckon that for the next eleven hours he spent more time staring at the split in her skirt than he did his in-seat TV screen.

My original plan was to play through Borderlands 2 on the Vita, but this wasn’t to be.  The people in front of me, none of whom appeared to speak English, had this mentality that it was absolutely necessary to put their seats into the full recline position as soon as the cabin crew announced that it was ‘safe‘ to do so.  Because planes don’t crash when the seats are upright.  To make matters worse, they were watching funny shit on their little TVs… probably footage of white British soldiers being beheaded in the streets, if their intolerant scowls, hateful attitude, and attire were anything to go by… which meant that my own screen was jumping around more than Parkinsons-riddled Lee Evans climbing a fucking electric fence.

So with no room to actually play the Vita, as Borderlands‘ icons are a tad too small when it’s between your knees, and being unable to watch the in-seat screen, I literally did fuck all for eleven hours.  Now and again I’d throw some Dream Theater into my ears and force myself to drift off, but when you’re listening to Mike Mangini caress the skins it’s very difficult to switch off, and so I invariably ended up listening rather than sleeping.  I did cat nap, however, and had screen indentations on my forehead to prove it. Like a crap cosplay of Teal’c from Stargate SG1.

The only saving grace in the entire flight was the male steward to our right.  Pete reckoned he looked like Damian Lewis, Chris thought he resembled ‘the Nazi from Raiders Of The Lost Ark‘ (because there was only one, right?), whereas I thought he just looked fucking mental and was sizing everyone up to see whose skin he’d look best in.  And the eyes.  Those eyes.  Imagine the front cover of the original The Hills Have Eyes, and then make them more fucking insane and you’re perhaps hitting the nail on the head for how this guy looks when he’s blissfully happy.  During the entire flight though, he was looking around sending mental signals of ‘I will kill you with my eyes!‘, and I believed him.  I truly believed him.  Then he spoke, and sounded like John Inman. Panic over.

So yeah, we landed at LAX and then spent the next hour or more going through customs and, thanks to stockings girl not telling us that we needed to fill out the customs declaration, despite me actually asking her if we did, we got to the front of the queue and were told to go back to the main desk to fill out the necessary paperwork.  Fuck you, Los Angeles airport authority.  Here’s your fucking form with “no” checked for everything, but oh look… you’re giving me the form back after you’ve looked at it, so why not just ASK the questions?  Fair play to them, however, as some time later after we traversed the fucking maze that is the new terminal at LAX (read: M C Escher’s worst fucking nightmare after a night on the piss), someone DID actually take the customs form from us.  And put it in a bin.  Fuck off.

All that remained was to pick up the hire car and head back to the house.  With the car prepaid, paperwork in place, and a reservation already completed for Pete to go pick the car up at the airport it should have been a piece of piss.  Two fucking hours and seven minutes later, Pete and Chris reached the front of the queue and we headed for our Los Angeles house.  Yet it was now after 11pm, and all four of us were totally shattered.  At least we had the security key for the network in the house so we could catch up on missed emails and witty Twitter comments, if such things existed.

Of course.  Only one person could connect to the network at any given time.  Fuck knows why.  By this time it was too late to go out for something to eat, the local stores were all closed, and nobody could be arsed doing anything so everyone went to bed while I set up the laptop to have a Skype chat with Lorna and the kids who, typically, now all have the same virus and are being sick all over the place.  And I’m stuck in Los Angeles, 5120 miles away.

Fuck you, E3.

Last five articles by Mark R


One Comment

  1. Lorna Lorna says:

    :( Hopefully the worst will be behind you and on the flight home you’ll be sat behind more considerate people. The show may well surprise you. And try and get in to see Sony – I want to know more about 1886: The Order!

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