Sunday, October 23, 2011

What you can achieve in a twenty-one hour day

OnWednesday I had the pleasure of enduring a twenty-one hour day for work – this involved rising at 4:45am and getting to bed at 1am. In this time I flew to Berlin, drank several beers, wrote a lot of words, and even managed to compare car insurance while sat at the airport.

The day started early, as mentioned, and involved a quick taxi ride to the airport, followed by a zippy trip over the Atlantic and into Berlin, in which time I read 120 page of How to be Good by Nick Hornby. It has been good so far.

Then we arrived and were taken on a whistle stop tour of Berlin, mostly by coincidence, as the coach taking us from the airport to the event happened to go by the Brandenburg Gate and several pieces of the Berlin Wall.

I then did plenty of work – including two videos, a review and a news story, phew – before eating some currywurst mit kartoffelen which was sehr tasty, although my fumbling attempts at GCSE conversational German were thwarted by instant replies in perfect English from the chefs serving the food. Curses.

From there it was back to the airport with the company of four other journalists for our 9pm EasyJet flight home. Except this being life, the plane was delayed by one hour and forty minutes, meaning we had some five hours to kill at Schönefeld airport – one of those small, shed-like airports which only servers the cheap airlines.

Still, we made the best of it and imbibed on German beers and some surprisingly good burger and chips from "Cindys", the airport's own knock-off McDonalds, where the nice manageress took pity and kept the kitchen open just long enough to feed us.

We chatted about many topics: our envy of the world presented to baby boomers, the best mobile phone and some of the recent films we'd seen, and I also managed to message several friends, read all the day's news and consider the best car-protection deals.

Sometimes I get these flashbacks to another point in my life and wonder how I would react if I was shown a snapshot of where I have ended up at certain points in the future.

I sat there, in the bright, harsh lighting of the airport departure lounge, sleep-deprived, drunk, and fed up with EasyJet, longing to be back in my new house in Wimbledon, and wondered what the 21-year-old me would have made of the scene, when he stepped off the train in Paddington in 2007 to start his London life.

Eventually, the plane left, we had the Obligatory Crying Baby the entire way, I fell asleep for ten minutes, awoke startled and confused by the light below me that I realised was London and soon enough we landed.

A 45 minute taxi journey home later and I was wearily climbing the stairs into my flat, and thinking that perhaps I don't need a car after all – I find all this traveling far too tiring.

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