A very brief trip to London and Wales: some notes on Day 1.

I’m up late (or early?) due to a combination of jet lag, insomnia, and sleeping alone in a strange house, so I documented a few things about the travel today.

The nice French man and his wife on the plane. He was somewhat chatty toward the end of the flight, and might have been more so if I were not so intent on sleeping. He lives in Mont something-or-other, but was visiting his family in Carlsbad for a month. He really liked San Diego. When I commented that it would be a long day of travel for him, he scoffed. “No,” he said, “The plane flies fast!”

The Family: she spoke with a slightly southern accent when she spoke English, but a beautiful French accent when they spoke French together. He was a prematurely balding, anxious-to-be-helpful young man with a British accent to his English, but again, beautiful French. Was he French or English? They had a 4-month old baby, a beautiful little girl named Louise whom they called Coco, and a TON of equipment–baby bottles, plastic bags of baby clothes, a stroller and its own bag for storage. When she would cry they would get out a bottle for milk and entertain her with making her formula. “Look! It’s a milk…. SHAKE! Shake-a shake-a!”

On the Tube, I sat and knitted on some fingerless gloves. The car began to fill in all around me: The very tall, blonde woman with a black purse and a copy of A Woman In Jerusalem. She opened it, then inserted her finger as a bookmark and closed it, stroking the cover absentmindedly with long, pale fingers. She had painted her fingernails light pink and they were perfectly shaped, like the fake nails in a package. Or like almonds.

Across from me a boy, maybe 12 or 14 years old, slumped in his seat. He wore what I would take to be a traditional school uniform of slacks, knitted vest, blazer with crest. His bag sat at his feet and he stared at my knitting the whole way from Acton Town to Green Park.

The car filled and filled, new people entered and no one left, little spaces being taken like sand filling in between boulders at the beach, until I wondered how I could get off when necessary as I was sitting equidistant from the doors. But the blonde woman rose to make her way off and I followed, bulky and slow in my luggage-laden way, a tug in the wake of her sailboat slenderness. The other passengers were oblivious to me, as I guess you need to be.

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