The upside to bombastic end-of-term parties with friends and watching both seasons of Pushing Daisies and being all cute by cooking banana pancakes from scratch for dinner while listening to Jack Johnson's Banana Pancakes on a loop is that all of these things are categorically wonderful. The downside is sleep debt, especially when it catches up with you the morning of a transatlantic flight. I kind of overslept my alarm by two hours this morning. (It wouldn't have been so bad, but I had to write my letter of intent to request a funding extention for a doctorate and that's not something you want to do under extreme duress. In retrospect, I don't remember writing an address on the outside of the envelope before putting it in the mail. That worries me a little.)
So I raced to Heathrow and made my flight, which was pretty uneventful (with the possible exception of finally watching Mamma Mia, which is the oddest, trippiest film I've seen all year - and not really in a good way, but in a disturbing, what-was-everyone-involved-with-this-possibly-thinking kind of way. Coming from me, that's a very strong statement.) But then we arrived at JFK and sat. And sat. And sat. And I had already sort of figured that ninety minutes wasn't that much time to get through immigration and customs, take the train from Terminal 7 to Terminal 4, recheck my bags and get my boarding pass, go through security, and catch my flight to Minneapolis, but forty-five minutes definitely wasn't enough. You might remember that this happened at JFK last year, and I made a deal with the ticket agent and promised to sprint through the airport and I awesomely made my flight. This year, the ticket agent shook his head really sadly and sent me back to Terminal 7 with a boarding pass for tomorrow morning in my fist.
I'd have liked to stay in Oxford for another week or so, but if I'm going to leave, I'd much rather actually make it back to Fargo than be stuck in an airport Holiday Inn in Queens. I was exhausted and kind of cranky, but the two staffers at the British Airways counter were so friendly that I consciously decided to flash a megawatt smile and not take them down with me. (When I got there, one of them was like, "this'll just take a minute if you want to go outside and smoke or anything," and then the other chastised her for encouraging me to smoke. And it somehow ended with me promising not to start smoking because she was the kind of person you couldn't argue with.) They looked at my boarding pass and were like, "Fargo! New York is a long way from Minnesota," and I was like, ...that is both true and false? and then they talked about other cities they knew in Minnesota, and mentioned the Mall of America and Mary Tyler Moore and I almost asked if they wanted to have a sleepover at the hotel we were booking.
And I don't know if it was because I told them to have a nice night or what, but as I was leaving, Pamela was like, "hold up, Ryan, you get dinner!" and I got a dinner voucher for my hotel. And it was $38.
So after standing out in the freezing cold with my bags and catching a shuttle, I ended up at the Holiday Inn, which is like a mini-vacation to the early 1980s. I do get free wifi, though, so I abused that for a bit before racking up a $36 dinner bill courtesy of British Airways. (It sounds more impressive than it was, since my Cajun salmon salad was $17 and the sorbet that I convinced them to put in a styrofoam cup so I could eat it in bed while watching Lifetime was $9. Everything about this scenario is amazing, except the shuttle that I have to take at 5:30 for my flight to Minneapolis at 8. Ick.)