Day one was really one and a half days, since it began Tuesday morning, and aside from a few fitful hours of sleep on the plane, ended late Wednesday night.
The flight was uneventful, my seat was good (and I hold out hope of getting a similarly good seat on the way back) and British Airways does a fantastic job treating the second class customers. Heathrow was not as nightmarish as I’d been lead to believe (possibly because I was only in Terminal 5). I made a few mistakes though. The first one was buying a sim card at the first vending machine I saw. I should have waited for a shop, then I could 1) get a good one and test it, and 2) use Heathrow’s free wifi to look up my unlock code, which I seem to need every time I use a new sim. (2015-06-09: stumbled on a Three store and the tech fixed everything in less than two minutes - all is forgiven).
Instead, I’ve had to endure several days of spotty internet because I can only use free wifi. That was easier ten years ago when wifi was new and people didn’t understand wifi security. Now, there’s wifi everywhere, and it’s all locked down.
Then I had to take the tube to my hotel. Good: Only one tube line, Piccadilly, from Heathrow to the neighbourhood I wanted. Bad: Even so, it was a 70 minute trip, followed by a fifteen minute walk. Ugly: No room.
I get to the Beaconsfield Inn
(Recommended by othelianna
with a solid “I still have my kidneys!”) only to find that they have no idea who I am. Thankfully I have a confirmation from Expedia. The staff vanishes into their secret lair – seriously, it was a secret door behind the door that was only four feet high – for a half an hour while they tried to figure out who’s fault it was. They claim Expedia never sent the confirmation to them.
All of that was moot as far as I was concerned, I just wanted my room. Problem was, they were booked solid, they had no rooms in the hotel. They did, however, have a second building a kilometre away with microsuites that they rented.
They insisted this was an upgrade. I’m not convinced, since the upgrade consists of a kitchen I’m not using, and 50% more walking to/from the tube station. Still, I’m impressed that my suite includes a double bed, toilet, shower, kitchen in the same square footage as my bedroom back home. And allegedly free wifi. I could connect to the wifi network easily, but the wifi router couldn’t talk to the internet.
I explored for a bit and eventually returned to my room when I realized that I could barely keep my eyes open. That’s when the anxiety attack hit. I was exhausted, but could not sleep. I had no internet to distract me from my jerk brain. So I laid there in the dark, slowly gnawing on all of my failings, on how the trip was going to go horribly wrong, on how I’m going to die a miserable lonely failure, etc. Basically like I spend two minutes every night, but when my filters aren’t all down I just answer with “maybe so, but don’t dwell on it today” and move on. That night, I didn’t move on – instead, the demons feasted. And of course, I couldn’t even fall asleep.
I think they only thing that kept me from simply packing everything back up and catching the next flight back to Canada was 1) Disappointing othelianna
, and 2) having to look in the mirror afterward.
I did have an amusing reprieve. Around two in the morning, I heard a car pull up and a couple got out. They proceeded to have a conversation for five minutes outside at full volume. Not yelling, just making no attempt to be quiet on a residential street during the wee hours. They went around the corner and I heard the door to my building open and close, then the door to the apartment immediately below me open and close. And the full volume conversation continued. They also played with the yappy dog for a few minutes. You know how when you play tug of war with a dog and they make that growling/savaging sound that sounds like they’re trying to shake a smaller animal apart? Lots of that. That stopped and the dog started making these really odd noises I couldn’t identify. At least, until I realized it wasn't the dog making the noise. Once I realized it was the woman making moaning/gasping noises it made a lot more sense. Did I mention that they never once used their inside voices? Yeah, that continued during the sex. Also, it was a hot night so we both had our windows open. Ugh.
They went on for an acceptible amount of time and sounded like they both enjoyed themselves. Also, it didn’t go on forever, so that’s all right. And then, five minutes after it ended, something odd happened. He left. I heard the doors open/close and he got in his car and drove away. A fuck-and-run, buddy? Really? Later, I got to thinking, if her room is anything like my room (which is likely) there’s really no other way to entertain anyone than screwing. My room doesn’t even have a chair, or a place to put one. The only place to sit is my lap.
That escapade didn’t help my “forever alone” vibe. I continued to have my anxiety attack. Eventually, around 4 am, I heard birds singing. That gave my brain something to latch onto and I fell asleep.
Preview for later postings - this was the worst of it, and I've been enjoying the trip aside from that first night. More details as I write them.