Sticking with the precedent Iíve set for the past 2 and a half months, I do no work at work. My acts of rebellion are limited to swiping a few minor office supplies and a 2-hour lunch; needless to say, I donít fall behind.
After work I wander London with a friend. We say goodbye, planning to try and make it back here next summer. As my farewell to London and a last ďscrew youĒ to the subway system, I walk the decent distance back to Camden Town. With few people and many places I know in London, itís a strange feeling to leave; Iíll miss it, but Iím absolutely ready to go.
I turn in my key to Mr. Michaels the Lazy but Benevolent Landlord. He starts mumbling about how I can get to the airport, I thank him for the room, and thatís it: nothing fancy. Goodbyes to my roommates who happen to be home are similarly chilled. As I have with other friends Iíve made over here, I tell them they have a place in Philly to crash if they ever need it, wish them luck with their travels, and head out.
Deciding to go to the airport tonight so I donít oversleep and miss my 10am flight, I pack and repack, trying to somehow fit all the touristy kitsch Iím bringing back as presents in with the overpacking that accompanied me on my initial jump over the pond. The strap on a massive bag I bought solely to get back to the U.S. snaps after an overweighted bag stuffing attempt, but I finally bundle a semi-manageable amalgamation of junk to carry. Or so I thought: after a block of walking that involved four stops, Iím out of breath, dripping sweat, and thinking about what I like little enough to just leave on the street. I catch a cab, but the driver tells me I donít want to go through with my plan of catching a bus to the airport from Trafalgar Square: ďeverybody down there is pissed by now. Itís not somewhere you want to be waiting with your bags.Ē He says itíll cost me 15 pounds to get there, which is about 15 times more than Iíd hoped to spend but Iím too tired to get off. Luckily, ďIíll tell you what: I pass Heathrow [my airport] on my way home. I can take you there for 25 quid.Ē I offer 20, he accepts, and my problemís solved.
Turns out to be a great cab ride: the driverís been to a ton of countries and has lots to tell me about. Most interesting was that he lived in South Africa for 7 years during apartheid, but ďitís not much different for most people. Lifeís pretty much the same everywhere, you know?Ē He leaves the meter running to prove that Iím ďgetting the deal of a lifetimeĒ to Heathrow, which looks to be pretty true: 20 pounds is about half price. I thank him before pushing, pulling, and dragging my bags out of the cab.
Like most everything over here after midnight, the airportís dead: more cleaners are walking around than customers, and no shops are open. Fliers-in-waiting are sleeping on all the best benches, so I curl around the armrests of a masochistís interpretation of a place to sit, almost wishing Iíd stayed in the shit flat one more night.