Day 1: In Which Our Hapless Hero Is Harangued And Hassled
Things are getting really bad when even the check-in assistants mock your packing skills. "That's an awful lot for two weeks," he said. Ho ho ho. I've never been able to master the fine act of packing lightly. To be fair my trolley bag is quite a bit smaller on the inside than it looks on the outside, and there's a few bulky items which take up a lot of space, hence the need for the second bag. Coupled with the confusion over my visa (which didn't seem to be a problem last September), I raise enough attention to get my bag searched.
No problem. Except there's a very suspicious looking parcel right in the middle. It's only full of sweets, but looks like either a box of drugs or a bomb. I'm not looking forward to explaining that. The inspector performs the search right in front of me — and doesn't find the parcel. I am at once releived and terrified/ I'm pleased not to have to go through explanations, but I'm now concerned about blowing up somewhere across the mid-Atlantic.
I continue to make a fool of myself in the duty free shopping area, throwing money all over The Body Shop, fumbling for my boarding pass, and other general clownish behaviour. I'm convinced that my arms and hands have an evil sentience. When I try to do something normal, like open a wallet, they interpret this as "flail limbs wildly and hit shop assistant in the face with a penny."
At the gate, my visa once again flags me for special attention; a search of my backpack and a pat down. I've come to look forward to the question "Do you have any electrical items today, sir?" I just reel them off, stopping short of throwing my arms into the air and screaming: "I worship at the altar of Electricity! Tesla and Edison are prophets of a new dawm!" One day, I'm going to crack. You'll no doubt hear about a crazed Englishman threatening to take the world on with his electric toothbrush and copious MP3s.
When you start recognising waitresses, you know you've been on the same flight a little too much. That was weird. The flight itself wasn't too bad, just long. I slept a little, read "The Man Who Was Thursday, tried to go back to sleep again, and listened to music. Much the same as ever.
The immigration at RDU was also annoyed that I had a visa. But he helpfully cancelled it when I explain, so it shouldn't be a problem in the future. Then it was off to the "take all your clothes off and walk through the scanner" bit. I like to think that the airport-wide alarm that went off when my bag went through the scanner was a simple coincidence.
Kavi met me at the airport, and took me back to her house to get settled in. Then, back to campus! She had to practice for the Sangam dance today and tomorrow, so I amused myself by walking to Carrboro and back, ending up back at the computer building. Thankfully, I wasn't there too long; Laura offered to rescue me. I helpfully suggested to meet at the union, forgetting that it probably has the most entrances and exits of any building on campus. I'm practical. Oh yes.
Eventually we met up, and found Stacie a little while later. There then followed the "what are we going to do?" period, which ended up with us going back to Laura's, bumping into Rebecca, and hanging around there for a while. We watched Laura's re-enactment of a scene in "Boys Don't Cry" that she did for a class, guest starring Leigh, Rebecca and the important role of Natalie Teague, and certain individuals revealed embarrassing details about their inability to spell or say their name. We managed to decide on a course of action (okay, a course of action was suggested, and I said "sure"), and headed off to the Irish pub W.B. Yeats on Franklin Street. I then gave a shameful trivia performance, not even managing to to get a question right for ten rounds. There was some mocking involved over that…