Confounded, Dallas Fort Worth

America seems obsessed with confounding expectations. When I arrived in Dallas, I sprinted through endless corridors, trying to beat the rush to a bank of customs officials, all wearing Stetsons and hating foreigners.

Instead, I had a friendly chap process me without any fuss, not a single remark about beards, no angrily correcting me for writing “0” when I should have put “None” or any of the other nonsense from Miami. Then through into DFW, which is a lovely modern terminal, full of friendly TSA agents who don’t wig out when you don’t remove all your spare change the first time through the metal detector.

There was one of those pervoscan fully body imaging devices that I thought I’d need to go through, but they waved me through without, as apparently it hadn’t warmed up. Since nobody else was travelling through Dallas on a Friday night, perhaps this wasn’t a harsh test of their abilities.

I had a couple of delicious tacos before we boarded the plane; I was nervous I was eating too much before the flight, but American Airlines pulled another surprise on me: an old old plane with a geriatric entertainment system and horrible horrible food. After the brand new plane on the London-Miami leg, this would have been a rude awakening but, by the happy miracle of sleep deprivation, and despite the desperately uncomfortable seat I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until an hour before landing. And then through Customs, with that unsettlingly guilty feeling I always have on returning to the mother country, and home.

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