Right so where were we up to then? errrr… the last bits of Ann Arbor.
Well after I last spoke to you (how have you been by the way?) I had a bit of an odd day to say the least, which was started by the sound of moaning coming from the next door apartment. Being British, obviously I ignored it at first, in fact, knowing vaguely of the guy who lives next door, I assumed he was lying in a pool of his own vomit trying to work off the last of his hangover. The moaning, however, continued at increasingly high volume until I was forced into action. For action, read, forced to put on some trousers (or pants here) and go knock on his door. I really hope, by the way, that I have not managed to pick up an embarrassingly American accent by this point. It’s very difficult to know. Maybe I’ll record my voice and see if I can discern any difference.
Anyway, back to Moany. I knocked and “No Answer” came the stern reply. I knocked again and was rewarded with another most blood curdling moan so throwing caution to the wind I took a run up and barged open the door with my shoulder, shouting, “everyone down on the floor with your hands where I can see ’em, this is a raid.” Actually, no I didn’t. I called 911 (which is not a joke in Ann Arbor) and a few mins later some of the local “Bears” (as they called them in the song Convoy the sound of which reminds me of the first time I ate peanut butter as a kid while playing with me train set) arrived and took a run up and barged open the door with their shoulders, shouting, “everyone down on the floor with your hands where I can see ’em, this is a raid.” Actually, no they didn’t. They opened his window and went in to find him in a diabetic coma, so they called an Ambulance.
Call me old fashioned but I’m thinking the ambulance should have arrived before the cops, but what do I know? Well I do know that shortly afterwards, a big fire engine arrived too, packed with big, burly, US firemen (steady ladies) who presumably were there to cover him in water should the poor guy accidentally catch fire while being injected with adrenaline. They had a good look and seemed to think that he was not a fire risk so left shortly afterwards, but it’s best to be safe right?
Actually, I think this is possibly symptomatic of something that’s been bugging me during my time in Ann Arbor. You see, Ann Arbor thinks it’s a city. It’s not. It’s 1 main street and a few roads that branch off it. But I’m guessing that when anyone calls 911 in the lovely TOWN that is Ann Arbor, the emergency services feel duty bound to come over like they were dealing with a major incident on the streets of Manhattan, possibly one that has taken out three or four blocks and poses a threat to thousands of innocent civilian lives. In their minds eye I’m thinking they see “Godzilla trampling buildings” and are most upset to find “Bloke Moaning”. Anyway, that’s Ann Arbor, lovely town, NOT A CITY. Grrrr… rant… grumble…
Where was I? Ah yes. Bloke Moaning. So anyway, after a lot of injections of insulin and adrenaline and a fair bit of shouting as he came out of his coma, Bloke Moaning, became Bloke recovering and the cops, bears, ver filth, whatever you prefer, came by and thanked me very much for calling them and told me that the ambulance woman had said I’d saved his life. So that was nice.
That got me thinking about all that cause and effect business and consequences and stuff and how if I hadn’t ditched my job and then rented out my house and come to America and in the meantime met someone random online by accident that I ended up staying in Ann Arbor with, then Jason, for that is Moany’s name, would quite possibly be deaded by now. Then obviously, because it’s me, I worked way backwards via my parents meeting, their parents meeting, the pilgrims going to the US, The first humans evolving, the spark of life starting in the primordial soup (does that come with croutons?) on an infant earth, the forming of the solar system from the dust cloud that became our galaxy after the initial big bang where everything that makes up anything that ever was including you and me, existed in the form of an infinitely small dot, and how we are now part of a universe that is experiencing itself subjectively (thanks Bill) and then that there’s that really good poem about this stuff called In the Beginning by Primo Levi the Italian, Chemist, Partisan, Poet and Work Camp survivor, and how I always think that the title of that poem is The Black Stars, but it isn’t because that’s another poem by him that is much, much more depressing but also very good.
So are we all clear?
Anyway, Jason came round later and thanked me for saving his life and I mumbled “That’s fine” in an embarrassed way because, well, because it’s embarrassing to have someone thank you for saving his life. You try it. I suppose that we are now blood brothers in some way or is it that now having saved his life, I am now responsible for what he does with it? I can’t remember, but sod it all, I’m in Atlanta now anyway so he can’t hold me to it.
“Atlanta?” you say. “Isn’t that in Georgia in the South Of the US?”. “Why, yes it is” I reply and I’m here for but 2 hours on a stop over on the way to Florida. When I got on the plane this morning at Detroit airport, initially, not many people got on with me and I thought “Oh good, I can stretch out across the seats and have a nice relaxed flight, possibly watching a movie on my laptop or snoozing.” Oh dear no. The reason that the plane was near empty turned out to be that they had to get contractors in to widen the tunnel that gets you on the plane because the family, friends and doppelgangers of Augustus Gloop from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory had chartered the plane.
Now when they say, “Plane seats 80 passengers” in the manual that comes with it, I’m guessing that they are not assuming that 1 of those passengers is a skinny little bugger like me while the other 79 of them are Sumo wrestlers who frankly have let themselves go a bit, crowbarred into elastic wasted casual clothing. Jeez, the plane ended up taking off held together with bungee cords and sellotape. But it made it here, just, although I’m not convinced that they managed to get all the wheels off the ground for the journey… It were bumpy enough.
So Atlanta’s Jackson airport. What’s that about then? Well it’s full of Guys and Girls in full Desert Storm regalia or is it Operation Freedom nowadays? I forget, and don’t even get me started on those 21st century euphemistic mission names for going out on killing sprees… The fast food shops sell Polk Salad (Annie, gators got your granny – Great song) and Pork and Greens, and Mess Of Greens and all those other crazy deep south sounding food stuffs that they have in old blues songs. Bet you could get squirrel too if you asked nicely. I had a grilled cheese sandwich (no tomatoes) and a Sprite and sat down for a bit of a read. Damn, flying makes me want to smoke. Did I mention I’d given up? Well I have. So there. Stopped the Saturday before Chicago (back down there in the mists of the internet) and apart from a when I was sitting in the hot dog bar where I cracked a bit, nary a puff has passed my lips since. That’s 11 days today I’ll have you know. Methinks I may crack again in Florida, but hey, waddya do?
Hang on, got to get on a plane…
OK back from that tangent, Jackson airport, surrounded by infantry in desert fatigues, some bloke playing I Just Called To Say I Love You in the style of Richard Clayderman on the piano in the lounge, I sat down for a read of Carrie Fisher’s Delusions of Grandma, (very very good so far, possibly a bit camp for your average GI but full of excellent short observations as only Carrie can pull off), found a copy Soldier Of Fortune so started reading that instead. If you’ve never seen it, in theory it’s a magazine for military mercenaries (soldiers of fortune as they prosaically put it, hired killers as might make more sense.) In reality, it’s a mag who’s readership mostly consists of geeky computer programmer types who are looking for a cheap testosterone/ adrenaline thrill. Full of ads for big guns and articles comparing and road testing tanks rather than cars. Might get a subscription.
I had a point when I started writing that but lost it somewhere along the line in a mess of very very rocky turbulence. My laptop just floated in front of my eyes for a second or so and then landed softly onn thr tray in front ogr mre, (authentic turbulence typing!) and I left my stomach somewhere a few thousand feet up and my heart in Ann Arbor. Some people got nasty bumps on the head from flying luggage too. How dramatic. All seems nice now though and after having taken off in fog, and then ascended into cloud filled with concrete lumps and big bungee jumps, the plane has come out into clear air and a beautiful multicoloured sunset and I can see the sea below me which I assume is the Gulf Of Mexico. On the little TV on the plane it showed that Jackson was nearish to Memphis Tennessee which is nice in an Elvis-y way. I like Elvis. Even the bits where he got fat and played sad ballads at the end of his life. So sue me, as they say here. Soft Shoe me as I prefer. Now I’m on the plane, 20 minutes from Sarasota, several thousand feet up in the air, a bit like my life.
In closing, I’d just like to say, I really hope that John Stewart’s Daily Show is on TV every day when I get back to the UK as the man is a genius and could do more to make Europeans realise that Americans are not bad people than most people ever could and has helped me mantain my sanity here. He is also very funny.
I rest me case yer ‘onour and throw this extended edition of gobbledegook on the mercy of an unsuspecting public. Back to monosyllables and pictures next time I promise. Now get me that Orange Juice. Alvie says “Hello Florida