this little anecdote actually happened to me at the beginning of 2005 and till today still makes for an interesting reverie whenever i am caught in traffic.
i had just endured a 14 hour flight sitting beside an oversized Briton who did not have any qualms rubbing in the fact that while he slept like a newborn, i was suffering the effects of extreme sleep deprivation. i have never been able to sleep during flights and will probably go to my grave this way. not only was my traveling companion sleeping, he was serenading the whole plane with the loudest snore i have ever heard. the drone of the engines did little to drown it out. of the 14 hours, he was asleep for at least 10, waking up only to stuff his face with insipid airline food.
i got off the plane with a throbbing headache and into the grey surrounds of heathrow airport. i meant to catch a bus to my friend’s in nottingham and had already bought a ticket online. this journey was broken into 2 parts; from heathrow to central london where i had to change buses to my final destination and hopefully a good night’s rest.
with a heavy suitcase in tow i made my way to the bus station behind the arrival halls and waited in the freezing cold. my bus to central london was numbered 123 (i can’t remember the exact number now). the time of arrival for the bus came and went and i was still in the cold. i asked a lady in uniform at the station and she confirmed that the bus was late due to traffic but was arriving soon. i did not think much of this at that time and sat down again. another 20 minutes passed before the 123 pulled into the station and the crowd surged forward. the driver was so preoccupied with loading everyone’s luggage into the belly of the bus that he did not even check my ticket. i hopped on and kicked back dreaming of the warm cozy bed waiting for me 4 hours later at my friend’s place.
unknown to me at that time, bus 123 did arrive on time that cold wintry evening but it was at a makeshift stop behind the one that i was waiting at. this 123 was bound for central london and not the one that i got on! after one hour i begun to realise that something was not right. instead of the bright lights of london all i could see was mile and miles of highway and dark empty fields. i asked a girl sitting in front of me where we were headed and she said some place that definitely was not london. my heart sunk but for the first time in 18 hours i was fully awake.
to be continued….