My Deportation… A Milestone Pt. 2
“It’s going to be hard to find a room because Wimbeldon and Glastonbury festival is going on right now”
I was standing in front of the hotel booking agent desk trying to figure out my options. Sleeping in the airport was not an option as I couldn’t get back to the gate area as I was now stuck. By this time I had already spent twenty pounds on two phone cards that ran out at least five minutes short of the twenty-eight allotted minutes. During that time I was able to call my friend and my mother to let them know what happened.
“Is there anything a bit closer to the hotel available?” My eyes felt puffy and irritated and now that I was nearing the twenty-third hour without sleep, I was just running on the idea of being able to get a hot shower and falling into a bed.
“Well if you don’t mind waiting, I’ll call around and see what I can get for you.” God… everyone is so helpful and nice. I thanked him and waited. I walked to a newsstand and bought the Glastonbury Review issue of NME and some gummies in order to break change for the internet kiosk. More emails were sent and I went back to the desk.
“Ok so there was one room left at the Comfort Inn. It’s going to be 170 and that includes the ride from the shuttle to the hotel and back in the morning in time to check in for your flight.”
So, I was finally out of Heathrow, if only twenty minutes away. This is what my trip was going to consist of. This fucking sucks. It’s like whatever could have went wrong as a traveler, happened. Mostly I was happy to be going somewhere and the Comfort Inn (aptly named) was going to be base of recuperation for a night. At the check-in desk I decided to splurge on internet as well as breakfast for in the morning. I figured if I’m gonna be here for such a short period of time, might as well be comfortable.
I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to see a hotel room, but it was lovely (under the circumstances) to enter the room chilled, from the air conditioning, and the TV on (a bit odd). From there I made a plan of action to shower and order room service, which was fish and chips with peas. It wasn’t the best, but when you’re tired and hungry it gets the job done. I now know that food, a nice shower, and a bed is the best remedy for the weary travel. I went to bed at seven in the evening waking only once close to midnight.
In the morning I felt quite refreshed and a bit numb to the fact I was going back home. I couldn’t help but look up at the sky and think “I’ll be back up there for another seven hours soon.” Returning to the departure area I walked to the U.S. Airways desk to see about getting my passport. Unfortunately for me, which was becoming common, it was the first day of a work strike in the immigration department. Shit, man…
“Well, do you mind maybe grabbing a cup of coffee and coming back in thirty minutes?”
Sure. I’ve been willingly putting myself (and luggage) in other peoples hands. I went to an internet cafe to check and send some emails. I must of lost track of the time because I realized I was fifteen minutes late and hurried back to the desk.
“Oh there you are, thought you did a runner for a second.”
I was escorted by the immigration officer past the queue of people waiting in the security checkpoint to a line designated for handicapped and people with strollers/children. One major observation that came from this is that British airport security is way more efficient than the U.S. You don’t even have to take off your shoes! So nice…
Having my passport back in hand was like a mother having her child returned to her by social services. I was back on the other side and, in a way, glad to be going back home. Everything else after that was uneventful. I arrived in Philly and after spending twenty minutes in the baggage claim offices locating my luggage I exited the airport. My brother was waiting for me with a cold bottle of ice tea, half a chicken sandwich, and a joint. Parris achieved A+ for brotherly duties that day.
I don’t know if it was the weed or my personality (probably a bit of both) but I was already thinking on a positive level. For the first time in that two day period things were looking up. I’m still not sure what or where the silver lining is. When the unexpected and unfortunate happens you really only have two choices. One can become filled with angst, lay in bed and cry “Woe is me”, and concentrate on what didn’t happen. Or, one can feel down for a bit and then get up and move forward with the next plan of action. I’m all about the latter option.
So, now I’m home and unemployed. It’s not too bad because there is plenty of time to think and I’ve already got a plan to get back on the travel path. I can understand how some people feel as if they don’t want to travel again after a bad experience, but to me, those are just as important as the good one. I don’t know what it’ll take for me to never want to travel again. Maybe being kidnapped or taken hostage…. maybe.