GO AWAY NOTNICEETOILE – PART 1
NotNiceEtoile decides to go away. Which is strange, seeing as there’s absolutely no husband involved in the matter whatsoever. Thinks: “Where shall I go?” before remembering her name – NotNiceEtoile – but all flights to Malaga are booked, so she opts for Nice instead.
The evening before her flight NotNiceEtoile gives a two-hour webinar on writing sitcom for a film and TV company based in LA, which ends around midnight UK time. NotNiceEtoile has to be up at 6.00am, so is careful to set three alarms, but luckily her brain only switches off from 05.32 – 05.54, so she is already awake before the alarms go off. Makes scrambled eggs (yes, deliberately, it’s only her brain which is unintentionally scrambled). Sets off in heavy rain for the bus to take her to the train station for a train (the first of two).
Subsequently turns up at a large airport serving London which, for data protection considerations, she’s unable to name – though it isn’t Heathrow, Stanstead, Luton, or London City – having enjoyed a jolly conversation with the woman next to her on the Gatwick Express. Said woman is a police officer, winging her way to Florida for a few days to interview a witness. (As if there aren’t enough witnesses in the UK. No wonder the country’s got no bloody money).
NotNiceEtoile (annoyingly, can’t reduce that down to NNE because it might look like she’s a relative of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) arrives at the mystery airport, and has to take the shuttle from one terminal (let’s call it ‘South’) to the other (let’s call it ‘North’. With thanks to KK and KW). NotNiceEtoile drops off her baggage. Which is surprisingly easy, seeing as she’s got three ex-husbands.
The next few hours of her life is spent attempting to come out the other side of security with her trousers around her waist (belt off), her watch on her wrist (time off), and her favourite coat around her shoulders (FCUK off).
And now to pass the 4h 59m before the flight is suddenly cancelled two minutes before boarding. Oh, sorry, that’s another occasion altogether.
NotNiceEtoile starts to relax. Is looking forward to purchasing some items of duty free make up from a new high-class brand she’s recently discovered. Approaches an assistant in the High Class Duty Free Cosmetics Store For All Your High Class Duty Free Cosmetic Needs, who cheerfully informs her – with a broad smile – that the high class brand she’s after is the only one they don’t stock, but it can be found in the other terminal, madam. NotNiceEtoile, flying from this terminal with a high class brand of airline for all your high class brand of high class airline needs, makes mental note to book next time with an outfit whose passengers have to arrive with their own engine and canister full of oxygen if they don’t want to incur additional charges. But on which the passengers are at least nicely made up.
NotNiceEtoile then makes her way to the well-known high street purveyor of newspapers, periodicals and stationery found in every high street in the country. Spots that the political journals she wishes to purchase are on a shelf some three feet above her head, next to the porn magazines. Not entirely surprising, she muses, given the way in which the Coalition Government is obscenely screwing the country, but NotNiceEtoile still makes an effort to sigh out loud and sets off to find an assistant, seeing as she omitted to bring a ladder with her. (Space taken up by an extra leg, required for the seat she’s chosen by the emergency exit with extra leg room). Assistant reaches the magazines down, even though she is decidedly unimpressed at being asked to do something, but NotNiceEtoile shows her appreciation anyway by kicking her in the shin.
Suddenly, NotNiceEtoile remembers she forgot to pack tissues (or did she forget to remember? Hmm), so enters the well-known high street supplier of health, beauty and pharmaceutical products. Picks up a pack of tissues and queues for the checkout. At which the authorities, quite rightly, have legislated for the woman at the till to inspect NotNiceEtoile’s boarding card, because it’s vital in this day and age to keep strict records of just who is taking 95 ultra-soft 3-ply disposable handkerchiefs out of the boundaries of UK jurisdiction, and to which destination.
It’s at this point NotNiceEtoile recalls she’s almost losing the will to live – not to mention the fact she’s not a huge fan of flying – so she appropriates a table by a window in a mediocre but over-priced brasserie, where she can peer out into the gloom and sip a glass of wine until it’s time to board the plane.
On which, as soon as she’s struggled to place her bag in the overhead locker (luckily, she was an ace shooter at netball in school – it’s so true that a good education sets you up for life) a man the other side of the aisle stands up and offers to change seats with her. “No thanks,” she replies, “I chose that seat”. “But I want to sit next to my wife!” he wails. (Weird, but he is French). And NotNiceEtoile is thus railroaded into changing seats with him. (Somewhat fortuitously, his seat was also in the emergency exit row, else she would obviously have responded to his request by hitting him over the head with her extra leg.) As it happens, NotNiceEtoile chatters away merrily the whole flight with the lovely woman to her left (who expresses a desire to meet up when both are back in London), and the lovely man to her right, an engineer who works in the airline industry, who reassures NotNiceEtoile about the least likely ways she will die on an airplane, thus allaying her fears considerably, but not to the extent that she turns down a glass of wine when the drinks trolley comes around. NotNiceEtoile notices French man and his wife, from whom he cannot bear to be parted even five feet for a 90 minute flight, exchange not one word the entire time.
Before she knows it, the plane lands in Nice. It’s raining. Heavily. Waits by the carousel for luggage, finds herself standing next to the wife of the French man, with whom she exchanged her chosen seat on the plane. The wife gives NotNiceEtoile a lingering evil stare. NotNiceEtoile has the last laugh, however, because She Isn’t French. Hahaha.
Friend is waiting for NotNiceEtoile at the airport, and once back in her apartment, offers NotNiceEtoile a glass of wine. “Thanks,” NotNiceEtoile replies, “But I’m doing alright for wine at the moment”. Friend looks crestfallen. “But it’s your favourite!” she exclaims. NotNiceEtoile explains what she meant to say was how lovely, she’d like a huge bucket of it, please.
NotNiceEtoile senses her senses are diminishing by around nine o’clock in the evening. Says goodnight to friend, and takes to her bed. Sleeps for 12 hours straight. Awakens to the new day. Probably on account of the torrential rain banging against the window.