The Big Country
Got my seat. Check. Got the right books. Michael Connelly thriller and The Great Gatsby.Check. Newspapers. Check. Headphones. Check. I’m cleaner than a whistle. Check. Noone wants to sit next to a sweating hulk of forgot-to-take-a-bath-cause-i-was-in-a-rush.Check. Left arm pit. Check. Right arm pit. Check. Now it’s time to sit and watch streams of others doing exactly the same thing. Yes the armpit thing too.
The flight is packed we are five minutes from schedule and I have the only empty seat on the plane right next to me. Yeeeas! Check me out.I’m the man with More Space than anyone else. I make a theatrical Yawn stretching out my arms and pointing slightly at the empty seat and then twirling the finger back to me. Nine hours of luxury that you all donot have. Checkah Me Out. I read the paper and deliberately open it to its full expanse. Oh yeah.
My eyes pop above it for a split second. A shadow fills the aisle. About thirty seats away a man giant six foot five at least. He has a skin head slightly bowed because the full height of the plane is not enough. I twitch and turn a page. I notice the metal floor creak beneath the red virgin atlantic carpet as he just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. I twitch again “please don’t sit next to me. It’s nothing personal”. .
Sweat prickles down my forehead. THERE WAS ONLY ONE PLACE HE WAS GOING TO SIT. ONE FREAKIN PLACE. A shadow slowly crawls over the entire seating section and over my newspaper and onto me. The temperature drops two degrees. “Excuse me” he says politely and squeezes into the window seat next me. I was crushed. No really I was crushed.
We chatted for the first half hour of the flight until the woman infront of him reclined her seat and crushed his knees. He was Daz Crawford born in Liverpool, went in the army at sixteen years of age. Joined acting school in London in 1997 and went on to Hollywood.I googled him for that last part. He has a large part in Blade 2 with Wesley Snipes. I was just sure that I would know someone whom he would know. The only name he mentioned GB I knew. In fact I’d been to this guys apartment in Hampstead with a girl CM who was a friend of mine. He was screwing her. “I don’t like him” said Daz. “neither do I” I said thankfully. Small world. But I know there are more people that between us we will know. I don’t know Danny Jules but I met him a few times. Danny Jules is the cat in Red Dwarf and was also in Blade.
After half hour Daz disappears into a seat in first class with adequate leg room suppliedby Virgin and a woman sits next to me for the rest of the flight most of which I sleep.
I hate arriving at airports when there is noone there to meet me. It’s slightly unreasonable of me I know cause airports are a nightmare to drive to. I have a cigarette which makes me very dizzy. I make a call and in minutes Don is there. Wesley Snipes girlfriend is picking up Daz. I am staying at an apartment in a residential disctrict and I need food. It’s now 2am my time 3pm LA time and I am faced with the horrific prospect of a supermarket. I have no idea what kitchen utensils are at the apartment and so in this market which is the size of Manchester I throw random foodstuffs into the cart which is as large asOld Trafford. So big is the cart that the food actually echoes when it hits the bottom..
The apartment is still being fixed up as we arrive and the owner is still screwing down tiles with an electric drill. Please let it end. It does. And everyone leaves. The apartment is two bedroomed and Alhambra LA here , is like Springfield, except not as busy. Did youever see Homer walk anywhere in Springfield. Think about it. You never saw him walk anywhere did you. He drives everywhere and there is something that we English people never seem to understand about America – the pure scale of it. Our islands are miniscule our houses are tiny, our shops are small. Everything in the US is big. I have been to Boston Washington Atlanta New Orleans, New York, New Jersey, Seattle, Phoenix to name a few fine American cities but I never get used to how big it is. “would you like some big with that big surr or would you like to supersize your big to a big big big”. That basically applies to everything in America. This is not a criticism.