In transit

When I got into the taxi (silver Mercedes, arrived 15 minutes early) the driver asked me if I wanted him to change the station on the radio. I declined: it was too early in the morning to make decisions like that. I should have asked him to turn it off. At 5:15 in the morning, LBC have a vindictive man called Steve talking incessantly about how people are too fat, too ugly, too untalented. Admittedly, they all sounded like participants in various reality tv shows, but did they really deserve to be called “old bags” or worse? I assume none of them were up this early in the morning, listening to the non-stop grumble going out across the airwaves.
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In about seven hours, a taxi will pick me up from my parents’ house in the suburbs of South London, and then deposit me at Heathrow, where I’ll be processed through check in and bag drop and security and departure lounge and airplane, and then probably end up in Miami International Airport. I haven’t been there since 1 January, 2000. Partly because I’m superstitious about visiting a place that has the same initials as Missing In Action, but mostly because one hungover morning in the Sunshine State was quite enough to convince me I didn’t need to go back. Lying in the hot sun, incapable, feeling painful sand beneath me, I knew I wasn’t built for that sort of life.
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Terminal Ennui

I caught the slowest taxi in Singapore to get to the airport tonight. Usually travelling out along the road to Changi is terrifying, as each driver seems intent on reenacting the final assault on the Death Star from Star Wars, but tonight my driver trundled all the way there at a sluggish 80 km/h, his vehicle throbbing and groaning as he ploughed along. This was no less frightening than any other trip to the airport: instead of being scared of crashing into the back of another car, I was scared of another car crashing into the back of us. But as a cavalcade of Mercedes drove bumper-to-tail past us, we avoided any collisions and I was deposited at Terminal 1 unscathed, just irritated. Quite irrationally, because arriving any more quickly at Changi would only lengthen the time I’d spend sitting around waiting for my flight to depart.
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Sweet Tooth and Sag Harbor

I read two books over the last seven days, Sweet Tooth, by Ian McEwan, and Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead. The former is a multiple Booker nominee, specialising in short, excruciatingly depressing books with grim endings – an Anglicised Haruki Marukami, perhaps. The latter I first encountered via Harper’s, and is the mindbogglingly verbose reason that I now know the definition of the word "deracinated", via his zombie novel, Zone One.
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Back pain

I didn’t sleep at all well last night because of a muscle I’d tweaked in my back, which turned rapidly into an agonizing knot, painful at any angle. This morning I loaded up on the same painkillers as the last time this happened, huge chalky horsepills of paracetamol and extra special ingredients, all the better to fix me with.

They didn’t seem to make much difference. I made it to work like a zombie, hardly capable of keeping my eyes open, and a strong cup of coffee made little difference. I was doped out, baffled and confused by even simple tasks.

Perhaps that means the drugs were working, they just weren’t doing what i was expecting. Better, I suppose, than the time I woke up with my back in such spasms that i had trouble breathing, and had to have a doctor hit me in the buttock with muscle relaxants. Yeah, any old excuse, I hear you say.
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