Monday, November 06, 2006
Arrived in London
Originally uploaded by tomgivemeaning.
I arrived in London yesterday afternoon after a completely non-eventful flight. Most of my late teens and into my early twenties, I flew quite literally every week but I really haven't travelled much in the past few years. Somewhere in the last few years, I have developed a totally irrational fear of flying so the near 9 hour flight to London from Vancouver was a source of great anxiety.
Arriving in London, I told the customs inspectors that I was just in London for a couple of days and then on to Africa. I made the mistake of saying that I worked in the charitable sector. This drew his suspicion and of course his suspicions only made me act more suspicious (when are they going to realize that this is a vicious circle?). He finally relented and I was on my way.
The last time I was in London, it was four a four day trip to meet with an advertising agency that was handling the account of a company I was advising. I had travelled first class from New York to London and stayed at a hip boutique hotel. Here I was yesterday with my massive backpack struggling to find my way through the tube system to my decidedly less hip hotel.
Last evening, John and I set out from our hotel and walked from Picadily Circus through SoHo and then to the Parliament Buildings and Westminster Abby. It was funny to walk past the hotel that I had stayed at on that last trip to London. It served as a good reminder of the changes I've made in my life. Reading this back to myself, I'm not entirely satisfied that I've explained myself but am too tired to attempt better. Obviously, I don't mean to say that where I stay or how I travel says anything about my character. But it was that then I actually felt as though I needed to travel in First Class. There was that line from Jerry Maguire that Renee Zellweger said about First Class, sitting from her seat in coach: "It used to be it was a better meal. Now it's a better life." I used to need to be in First Class because I needed a better life. Gone is this need. There. That's what I mean.
Last night, I lit a candle at Westminster Abby. This one little candle in this beautiful, rich and storied church for all the millions of people suffering from war, disease and neglect.
Tomorrow I go.
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