I was drifting off to sleep. My dreams began. I felt disoriented. Where was I?
I was in Oxford, England to accept an award for “Best Blogger in the World.”
I was waiting in a room in one of the 38 colleges that make up the University. I had walked here from the hotel, but all the buildings were made of the beautiful honey-colored limestone from the Cotswold hills. This room is where the dons donned their academic robes. The place was heavy with the dust of history…literary history. Books dating back centuries lined the walls. I saw an early copy of “Alice in Wonderland” signed by Lewis Carroll, himself. Was I in the college that gave the world Richard Burton, the actor? Or, Edmund Halley, who made his name on a comet? Was this the room where J.R.R. Tolkien thought about the narrative of the Hobbit books? Did T. S. Elliot walk the path I just walked?
Perhaps I was in a room off a small lecture hall in Bodleian Library, which claims to have over 100 miles of shelves (The Strand Bookstore in NYC says it has 8 miles of volumes.)
In the lecture hall next door I could hear the shuffling of feet and chairs as the runner-up and past winners were taking their seats. I could hear Fineguy6076, who blogged out of Jersey City. There was the instantly recognizable voice of martagoesyo, who wrote from a small town in Ohio. Last years winner had just arrived to a smattering of applause. He may have a large following and was quite an original blogger of 2014, but many readers, including this writer, were put off by his daily output of cats dressed as dogs and disguised as trivets or mid-southern house plants.
His wrote under the name of HeSheGuy.
You do the math.
The opening speeches droned on and on. The room was warm and I began to grow sleepy. I drifted into a peaceful land of Nod. I began to feel I was near a great dining hall with floating candles and a really bad bully was picking on a guy named Harry. Wait! That was the Great Hall of Christ Church College around the corner. I continued into a light dream-like state.
My senses became fully awake.
“Order please!” The words came from the lecture hall.
I knew then they were about to announce my name and I was to make my arrival through a massive oak door.
Applause and shouts of “Here! Here!” and “Hussa” and “About time old boy” would soon ring out. Pretty ladies would stop fanning themselves and whisper, ever so discretely, “ I want him to be the father of my children.”
But I was not out of my nap. Another, less salutary voice spoke:
“Ladies and Gentleman” the calm business-like nature of a man’s tone had indeed broken my REM sleep.
I still felt it was my time.
I tried to rise but felt a restraint around my waist. I opened my eyes and found myself staring at a small TV monitor mounted on the back of the seat in front of me.
On the blue screen was a small icon of an airplane. Behind it was a blue line that connected it to JFK. As the plane was set against a blue color, I surmised that we were over an ocean. The little icon seemed to be headed toward the letter LHR.
As I regained full awareness, it all came back to me. I wasn’t in Oxford, yet.
I was on American Flight #106.
Then more reality came flooding back to me.
We were caught in traffic somewhere near La Guardia Airport. Despite being picked up three hours early by a car service from the Upper West Side, my wife was beyond frantic. She was convinced we were going to miss the flight.
I said we wouldn’t, traffic was always like this out here in Queens.
She said we would miss the flight and that it would cost a small fortune to make new arrangements.
I suggested, calmly, like a man, that one screwed up ticket was only half as bad as two and I suggested she get on the flight without me.
[She was TSA approved and I wasn’t, so I would have to take off most of my clothes and pass through a scanner that would prevent me from having any more children in the future.]
She could breeze past all that and still make it to Gate 14. I told her I would sleep in the airport or go to some cheap motel and find something to amuse me, like going bowling with a woman named Candy from Flushing, and I would catch up to her in London.
She flatly refused. [Sometimes, women just see the logic in some things.]
Without making this blog any longer, we actually made flight #106
So, now my watch reads 5:15 am. We’re about 45 minutes away from landing. Some kind of breakfast just got slapped down next to this computer.
My eyes turned red about two hours ago.
We’re going to pick up our rent car at Heathrow.
Our first night is already booked and it’s not that long a drive.
Where, you may very well ask, are we going first?
Oxford, of course.
My birthday is nine days away. It’s not too early for a gift, is it?
Maybe an award for writing something like this?