I had to deliver a couple of checks to egoldberg, dodging the crews replacing the sidewalk in front of his place, and then pick up the epi-pen. Eventually we made it to the airport with only an hour to go before my flight. This time the TSA folks practically whisked me through. "Oh, you're the lady whose wallet disappeared last month!" Ah, fame. I had most of that hour left to kill, but since I'd eaten breakfast before the flight, the airport food looked even less unappetizing than usual.
On board the plane someone had forgotten to load my diabetic meals. I'm not actually diabetic, but a pre-diabetic, brittle hypoglycemic. Sugar affects me the way booze affects most folks. First they serve us icky sandwiches. I forget whether they were filled with ham or turkey, but I remember it being something I won't eat and not much of it at that. The flight attendants were nice enough to get me some nuts from first class, for which I was most grateful. They felt good going down. The rest of the flight I relaxed, drank lots of diet soda, and did some arranging on my computer.
The flight got to Chicago with just enough time for me to grab dinner at one of the airport eateries. I wound up at Wolfgang Puck's eating an overpriced personal pizza, wishing I'd eaten the less overpriced food at Chili's. Oh well. They were out of iced tea, so I opted for a local microbrew, not wanting caffeine for the final leg of my flight. I bought a few tiny bottles of single malt scotch at the duty free store (it was the only thing that wasn't overpriced), a generously-portioned frozen nonfat decaf latte with a shot of sugar-free vanilla at a Starbuck's there, then waited for my flight by the only electrical outlet I could find (to recharge my laptop battery while waiting).
The flight to the UK was uncrowded. Anyone who wanted was able to sprawl out across a middle row of seats with as many blankets as they liked. I used the noise-cancelling headphones rinioth recommended. They helped a little, but they hiss. Still, I got a bit of sleep.
Upon landing, we were guided into Customs. That was pretty easy. Nothing to declare, go on, goodbye. Then it was time to pick up my luggage. First I got my guitar. Eventually "Fido," the big suitcase with the hole on one end came through looking a tad more worn for the wear. The guy staffing the luggage carousel exclaimed, "Your suitcase has a hole in it. We must notify American Airlines at once!" Before I could stop him, he was hauling my suitcase. American wanted to replace it on the spot, but with an "off" brand and in an ugly color (I had choices like olive green or gray, whereas I prefer navy blue). I instead was given a certificate that will have them buy me luggage of my choice back in San Jose.
As I wheeled out my luggage we were shuttled through one last duty-free shop with ludicrously marked-up prices. I kept going and was immediately picked out of the crowd by grey_lady, who was to be my hostess for this trip. She and I have known each other electronically via both the filk community and alt.callahans (she jogged my memory in the car trip to her place), and it was great meeting her in person.
She and her husband live in a three-story townhouse in London equipped with a bigger kitchen than mine (that doesn't take much :-) ), a wireless network, a satellite TV system, and two adorable cats named Londo and Kosh. Once I figured out how to use my new digital camera, I took cat photos for Warren, who is also an "animal person" (hey, some of us need that inter-species thing!).
grey_lady fed me lunch of to-mah-to soup (which is soooo much better than that Campbell's crap we get in the US), then I showered and napped. We headed to the Tun, meeting her husband rdmaughan on the way. I then got to put names to faces and meet up with other folks I hadn't seen since at least GAFilk, including highstone, filceolaire, Rafe, Roger, ladyat, bedlamhouse, billroper and his wife, Gretchen, djbp, and Teddy and Tom. The Maughans and DJBP and I went next door for dinner at the noodle place, then back to the Tun for beverage matter and more conversation. It was a pleasant night, ending with pleasant conversation on the tube with the Maughans and the Suttons on the way home.