Monday, September 26, 2005

A Traveller's Tale

On the Bangkok-London leg of my UK trip I did happen to notice the beauty of one of the flight attendants. Of course, in situations like these one immediately conjours up and dismisses impossible fantasies. Or, at least, one does if one is a single male.

Anyway, it turns out that this flight attendant (Shannon is her name) was also on the London-Bangkok flight. Fate screamed at me: "Jon, don't let this opportunity pass!". Perhaps because I was slightly sad about not being able to catch up with a certain ghost from my past, I decided to listen to Fate.

But how to make contact with her in a cabin full of people? Impossible!

Then it dawned on me - perhaps I can buy her something from duty free? Seemed like a reasonable idea, except that my wallet and pen, critical for scribbling a note, were in the overhead locker and I was stuck in the middle of 3 seats. It all seemed too difficult and potentially embarrassing to acquire my wallet from the overhead, buy the gift, scribble the note and then present her with the gift. I resigned myself to an opportunity passed.

Then my seat-mates both decided to get up and visit the rear of the aircraft. Obstacles removed! So I get my wallet (can't find my pen), press the call button and wait for the attendant to arrive. One of Shannon's colleagues appears and I order the bottle of perfume. She takes my credit card and then disappears to fetch the perfume. When she returns with the credit card receipt, I sign the receipt and then scribble a note on a piece of paper: "You only live once! jon - <phone number>". I then hand her the receipt and note and ask her to give Shannon the perfume - the look of surprise on the attendant's face!

Ten minutes later Shannon appears at my seat and thanks me profusely for the flattering gesture. She has a boyfriend, of course [ well, she would, wouldn't she? ] She can arrange a refund if I'd like it. No way! She thanks me again and as she turns to leave she says: "Well, we should have a drink some day!"

I hope she calls, but if not, at least I got a happy smile :-) As they say in the MasterCard ad: priceless.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Farewell, London

Ah well, to Sydney I return. Somewhat disappointed, but not surprised - it always was going to be more like Friday 2002/09/27 than Friday 1996/09/27.

And it was, of course, a mistake to re-open that old wound. Will I ever learn? I suspect not.

To "Frida": may we both gracefully recede from each other's consciousness once more. Please forgive me for my unsolicited intrusion upon yours.

Friday, September 23, 2005

One Thursday In September

Humanity flows by as the head of the Guinness slowly sinks. Thursday afternoon in London opposite the British Museum. In my ears, Damien Rice sings about faded intimacy.

Over a day has passed since I did something I vowed I'd never do - send her another e-mail.

Not that I seriously thought she would agree to see me - that was always going to be impossible.

I don't know why, precisely, though I can guess. There are some laws of human behaviour that are inviolable and apparently there is one that makes it impossible for me to ever see her again. It may as well be written in stone - the 11th commandment - thou shalt not let Jon have what he wants.

I had to ask to see her. I really didn't expect her to want to see me. Why would she? The only reasons I can think of are to exercise some kind of saintly pity, or perhaps a macabre fascination with the fate of an ex-lover*.

I don't even know why I want to see her -- what point would it serve?

No point, other than to satisfy -- and to feed -- a deep curiousity on my part - to find out who this person really is. This person who drew me close and then pushed me away*. I just want to see her as she is now, imperfect and flawed, so that I can forget my idealised and romanticised images of her. Absurd? Of course, for I would just update my images of her -- and my conceptions of perfection -- with vibrantly new ones.

She did the "right" thing in ignoring me, yet again. I know that rationally. But it still hurts.

As Damien Rice concludes: "I can't keep my mind off her -- until I find someone new". How true that is.

* - original words modified to soften overly-dramatic expression of underlying emotions.