Sunday, August 22, 2004

Three Hours To Go

One good thing about travelling, is that I manage to do, on the final day before any journey, all the things that I've been putting off since the last time I travelled. It's actually been about two months since I left Delhi and about four months since I left for a length of time longer than four days so ... you can imagine how much work I got done today! Woohoo. Cleaned out the Augean Stables (okay, it's just my bathroom counter-top and the side-table next to my desk, but it's the Augean Stables for me), slew the Hydra, made tea and everything.

It's creeping up to one a.m. and by this time, there's nothing real left to worry about. I've had my passport and ticket surgically attached to my person. I've repacked my suitcase the regulation three times. I've thoroughly rehearsed the precise type of coughing-fit I will have when I reach the Immigration Desk, so as to ensure that I will be quarantined immediately. I've got all the telephone numbers of all the friends, relatives of friends and grandchildren of relatives of friends tattooed across my forearms. What's left? I've even ensured that there's an indefinite country-wide truckers' strike tonight, so the drive to the airport will be, perhaps, just a teeny bit less like an action-horror movie.

The truth is, I don't believe in setting off on a journey in a happy, relaxed frame of mind. In my experience, the clear and definite sign that disaster is about to strike is that I am feeling relaxed and unsuspecting just before it. So one of the ways I avert disaster is by never being relaxed. I believe there are teams of Fate-Fairy Vigilantes passing amongst us -- we don't see them, but they see us. They know when we've let our human guard down and have decided that nothing more can go wrong. That's when they throw in their hurricanes and flat tyres and power failures and split hair-ends.

I have quite a familiar and friendly relationship with my own personal Fate-Fairy. I play little games with he/she/it -- trying to guess what might go wrong, so that, when something COMPLETELY different happens, even if it's something nasty, I can pretend that the surprise is its own type of pleasure. If nothing nasty happens, then I can feign being disappointed. I don't know if Fate-Fairies are very smart or not, and whether mine can actually read this blog-post, but sometimes I can hear ethereal chuckling, as some unusually unexpected and perverse twist of circumstance is introduced to the skein of my life.

It's cheating to guess out loud what it might be on this trip, so I'll stop here for the moment. The next time I post or log in to this blog, I'll be on the other side of the planet. Or .... maybe not? Only the Fate-Fairy knows for sure!