Vacation, Days Three and Four: Cleveland to Manchester in under 24 Hours

Day three started with me riding over to visit my aunts before leaving Cleveland to head for the airport. We had a good visit with one but the other wasn’t home, unfortunately. Dad and I hit Ingles quickly on the way home and I packed like a MAD WOMAN before heading out with Mom and Dad to drive to the MARTA station at North Springs.

MARTA…because it’s SMARTA. Brilliant ad campaign, no? Anyway…

The ride to Hartsfield was pleasant enough…I am probably the only person over the age of 13 who sometimes imagines that she’s on TV when out somewhere, but today I was imagining myself like someone on Sex and the City or Lipstick Jungle, zipping into “the city” with Michael Buble‘s Save the Last Dance for Me blaring in my ear. I was glamorous. I was together. I was jetting off to a foreign country, all I needed was a white scarf to flutter along behind me and some huge sunglasses.

I was not so glamorous trying to make it through the turnstiles at the airport with all my luggage. Audrey Hepburn faded as I huffed and puffed toward the baggage check-in, dressed in clothes more appropriate for the fall temperatures of the UK than the sub-sarahan Atlanta climate. Checked in, breezed through security, and got to the gate…all under control, until I had one of my typical panic attacks and thought I was at the wrong gate.

See, my gate was E4. My seat was 34E. The flight leaving out of E4 after mine was also to Manchester, but operated by AirFrance. I was on Delta. I looked up at the gate, saw AirFrance, checked my boarding pass, saw 34E and started a mad dash down the concourse toward gate 34…until I happened to look again and notice that 34E was my SEAT assignment. Skid to a stop, calmly walk back to the gate and ignore all the gawking and giggling Brits that would be sharing my flight.

All in all the flight was much better than it has been in the past, despite the fact that I was in the BACK of the plane and it was crowded. My secret? Tylenol PM + VERY CARBY DINNER IN FLIGHT + a neck pillow. I think I got 5 hours sleep out of an 8.5 hour flight!

Day Three started when the little girl across the aisle RIPPED OPEN HER WINDOW SHADE and suddenly the cabin was filled with SUNLIGHT. Breakfast? Check. Land safely? Check. Manage to find the train station? Well, check, even though I had to call Simon to find out which way to go out of the Arrivals gate to find the sign with the CLEARLY MARKED ICON THAT LOOKED LIKE A TRAIN. (Vaguely reminiscent of trying to find the GIANT Northern Rail sign that was right behind my head in London…but I digress…again…)

Best part of Day Three? Pulling into Leeds Station and seeing Simon standing there with that look on his face. Any of you that have come home to your significant other know that look…the one that bursts into a jubilant smile once you are spotted in the crowd.

Now off to convince my body that it’s really 11:15 and not 6:15…

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