LONDON CALLING – *Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Ali is still crook this morning. She coughed all night long. I make the call and send Kif and Joss off to Heathrow. Joss has work Thursday night. I hope the threatened snow in NYC proves to be alarmist and bogus. Alice and I will stay for a day or two until this fucking cough of hers abates some. 

I have many feelings – irritation, confusion, compassion, exhaustion, relief. The logistics implicit in this turn of events are sort of daunting. For example, I don’t feel I can cancel the other two tickets before Kif and Joss are airborne for fear of inadvertently cancelling all four of them. But, what good is trying to cancel tickets for a flight that’s already taken off? Oh, fuck me. Anyway, I feel constrained from doing anything. Joss texts when they board, so I book a flat down on The Strand for two nights. Changing plane tickets via website, however, proves just too intimidating for antediluvian me. And, jesus, is there no working telephone number for Delta Airlines in the United Fucking Kingdom? Nice airline. It quickly becomes apparent that rebooking will require a schlep to Heathrow. We temporarily ditch our luggage in a room off the office at Number Four Broad Court and head off to Covent Garden Station.

It is a miracle of common sense that the Piccadilly Line goes right to Terminal Three at Heathrow. Seats on the train are at a premium until we’ve passed Victoria (Station) and South Kensington (V&A and Nat. Histo.). The Delta customer service guy looks askance, but changes our tickets with little fuss. Just include the penalty ‘cause we suck. Pfeh. We’re now booked on the 10:30am flight on Friday, Feb 22. Let’s get the fuck outta here. On the train back to the city there’s an abundance of seats. We smile as two little boys read all the advertising copy aloud to each other. And to our constant amusement, at every stop a computerized female voice announces that this is the train to Cockfosters. 

Finalizing the flat booking requires depths of patient fatalism usually reserved for post-apocalyptic survival. We munch on fairly decent pizza, while sending documentation telephonically. Soon, we receive instructions to locate a certain newsstand, give the secret password, and receive the key. The apartment at 148 The Strand is large and white with idiosyncrasies and a washer/dryer. We’re gonna sleep our asses off. 

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