June 30, Tuesday
The drive from our hotel to the airport, stopping to fill up (saves £30), proceded without incident. In the shuttle from the rental agent to terminal 2, Rod noticed our boarding passes were for a flight 7 minutes away—we had missed our plane. Not to worry, Aer LIngus was happy to sell us two more tickets. Whether in search of a silver lining or suffering from Chinese fortune cookie poisoning, I began to imagine that fate had spared us from a crash on the missed flight. But this sword had a second edge.
By the time we were boarding the second plane, it had become clear by the absense of tragic news, that the earlier flight had made it safely and that superstition was working against me. I recalled that Albert Camus had died prematurely in a car crash with an unused train ticket to a common destination in his pocket. I’d have to get there eventually, so what was the point of taking a ferry, or swimming when the ticket in my pocket might be a lifesaver?
When the second plane landed safely, I had only my sheepishness for consolation; that I had braced myself against the existential angst of violent dismemberment for nothing.
A real terror was to follow when my carry-on bag, having been deemed too large to fit into the overhead compartments, was taken from me on the tarmac and then failed to materialized on the carousel in Scotland. Assured by a baggage handler that there were no more bags, I became convinced that another passenger had spirited away with my confirmations, my electronic devices, my clean underwear, and my residual future. Adding to my woes, a chubby East European with time to kill was chatting up the only agent that might have addressed my dilemma. So I took to misbehaving like a Brit footballer fan, which did not exactly bring down the house in sympathy, and when I did finally get to the window, as if to mock me, the carousel had started up again and the bloke behind the counter asked, “Is that your bag there?” This was a cold reception from a people who are blissfully unaware of their distance from the equator. It was not typical.
Edinburgh (which the locals pronounce Ed•in•boor•uh, or something like that to irritate the English) has startling street charm. Here are a few snaps of “Old Town”: [click to enlarge]