Thursday, July 1
Four thirty am Thursday morning comes too quickly and I am still struggling to sleep. Alex takes me to the airport and I say goodbye. She will not join me for four weeks. It is the longest period of time we have been separated, equaled only by a training trip an employer sent me on 25 years ago.
I am flying from San Francisco to New York and then on to Manchester. Fortunately, I am upgraded on both my flights. I can see no way I could survive a coach seat.
The flight to New York is remarkable in that it is so smooth that several times I look up from whatever it is I am struggling to read (I am still having difficulty focusing) and a surprised to see I am still in an airplane. A long layover in New York brings the first wave of fatigue. I have to stay awake, concerned, if I do fall asleep, I will miss my flight. I fight it off and make the flight.
I arrive in Manchester the following morning. It is a typical cool, grey English morning. I have not slept during either flight, the food is bad or off limits. Now comes the hard part. For the first two legs of the journey the airline has handled my bag, but now it is up to me to move it. There is a train station at the airport, and a short bus ride takes me there. The next train to York is in 20 minutes. If I can make it to the train, I’ll be OK. I drag my bags onto the train, collapse into a seat and we are off.
The train ride is about 2 hours and goes through some pretty countryside. The sun is making a determined effort to come out and seems to be winning. The fatigue is now coming at me in waves. I want to give in, I need to give in, but I can’t. Almost there, don’t give in now.
A cab from the station takes me to my hotel. It is 10.15 am and my room is not ready. I park myself in the restaurant while I wait. I am not the least bit hungry (although I should be) and pass the time reading a tourist brochure about all the places in York I won’t have the energy to visit. I am just about to lose my battle with exhaustion when the desk clerk finds me to tell me my room is ready. I think she has been standing there for a few moments before I realize it. It is that close.
I drag all my stuff up to the room and do a face plant on the bed for a nap.