Sunday, October 9, 2022
Me and Mrs. Jones
I'm in Florida now, lying in bed and listening to the hoot of an owl and the distant sound of a passing train. I'm glad to be on the ground but of course, while my inner clock thinks it's 8 a.m., it's actually 3 a.m. Florida time. Fortunately this visit will be so short that I'm hoping any jet lag quickly sorts itself out when I get back to London on Thursday morning.
I was at Heathrow yesterday well ahead of my 9:15 departure for Philadelphia. I wandered around the airport, got coffee and an almond croissant, and tried on a beautiful but overpriced shirt at Paul Smith. (I did not buy it. Aside from the insane £200-plus price tag, it was fitted, with darts in the back, and I'm not sure I have the body for that anymore!)
On the plane I finished "Black Water Rising" by Attica Locke, a mystery noir novel set in Houston that I enjoyed, and plowed through two issues of The New Yorker. I managed to not speak to anyone sitting around me, which as you know is always my goal on a plane. A young woman and man in the row in front of me kept up a long and lively conversation, though. She was going home to Kentucky after a visit to London; he was on his way to Orlando to visit Disney World. Yakkity yak yak.
"Oh, I love Florida!" she said at one point. "No matter where you are, you're just an hour from everything else!"
What kind of insane observation is that?! Tampa is more than four hours from Miami, and it would be a long day's driving to get to Tallahassee or Jacksonville from Key West. I think what she meant is that if you're in the middle of peninsular Florida, it's about an hour to either coast. Which is sort of true.
At the Philadelphia airport, where I had a 3-hour layover, there was an interesting display devoted to the Gamble & Huff music empire of the 1960s and '70s. I love that Philadelphia soul sound -- Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, The Three Degrees -- so I spent some time looking it over.
Then I had a beer at a bar where the ordering and payment process all had to occur on my phone. Maybe for some people this is easy, especially if they have Apple Pay set up, but I haven't done that because I'm old fashioned and I like using an actual plastic credit card. I have the vague idea it's more secure than storing my banking info on my phone and transmitting it through the ether, though who knows whether that's really true.
Anyway, by the time I scanned the QR code to read the menu, made my selection, and typed my credit card info into my phone, I was thinking, "This better be a darn good beer." (It was Stella Artois and it was adequate.)
From Philly I had a window seat (yay!) and got to watch as we flew over the Chesapeake Bay and the Carolinas and over the coastal barrier islands of Georgia. Finally I arrived in Jacksonville at about 6 p.m. and sat up with the family long enough to be polite before finally going to bed just before 9 p.m.
And now I'm going to try to go back to sleep for a few more hours.