Monday, February 6
Terminal 5, Heathrow. A Science-Fiction-right-now scene - all glass and
girders, bright lights, giant screens playing ads for BMW and the Olympics and
Gray Goose Vodka. (The bottle opens, clear liquid splashes onto ice in a
tumbler, some guy does a high dive, the car rounds a corner sportily, the
gymnasts celebrate, your correspondent's mind numbs.)
A small blond child wearing rainbow pants and bright red rainboots, whatever
they call them here, bumbles past, and everyone smiles.
I'm leaning against a glass railing. The lady sitting next to me, Japanese I
think, has offered me a thin foam pad to sit on. It is infinitely more
comfortable than the floor, and I am thinking either that this particular
Japanese lady is exceptionally clever or that she comes from a culture which
has thought through one of the basic problems of travel better than mine ever
I'm trying to maintain some sort of dystopian through line to my thoughts,
colored first by having spent the last couple of weeks in Hungary, where a pack
of protofascist right-wing populists are busily destroying the basic
institutions of a democratic society, and secondly by having spent yesterday
shuffling through a sequence of inscrutable airport failure modes because the
British don't know about snow.
I want to be all moodily intellectualizing and shit, but people —
middle aged Japanese travelers, hyperconservative Hungarian Star Trek
fans, harried airline checkin clerks — keep making this difficult by
being basically decent.