So there we were, now here we are. The trip here was...something else. After a night without sleep (deliberate), drinking Irn Bru and whisky and generally messing with meself, we arrive at Glasgow Airport at 7:20am. There's a fault at the check-in desk (Christ, pull the other one!) so I'm left standing, going into criminal homicide mode, staring at this almost-ginger airport fella whose face is beginning to look like a pile of dead children to me - disgusting, horrifying, and God, I wanted to punch it. Anyway, I get through, get a coffee, my last smoke for 18 hours, and we say our byes
200 Regal for £40 later, I'm on the plane. Seat monitors? Nope. Free beer? Nah-uh. Lots of legroom? Not even close. Misleading...argh! Anyway, I'm next to a cycling fiend and his wife, who are going to the same place as me and are very nice. I spend two hours trying to drop over, then I do, for two hours. iPod hasn't been touched yet. I read the book I was kindly given as a present, about chimps and paradoxes. The meal is some form of chicken with some version of pasta covered in a strange incarnation of sauce. An hour more of reading about monkeys with dilemmas and we land in Philadelphia.
Immigration...I was suspected, of what I'm not sure. I'm taken to a big white room. No guy with KY jelly and a rubber glove (unfortunately), just some lad raking through me stuff, insisting I don't go to Tombstone. Huh. In the departure lounge is a Yank I saw at Glasgow, old and in a red cardigan. Mr Rogers from Caddyshack is real! "The chicken on the flight wasn't that good, tasted like it was from Scotland." Cheeky bastard. I jokingly challenge him and we all fall around laughing. Or something. Back on the plane.
This time I'm sat next to an American woman coming home from Paris. She grins at me whenever she hears a baby crying, and giggles when the plane's wheels are deployed, I think because it sounded very, very slightly like robotic flatulence. The French had obviously rubbed off on her. Five hours later after more reading about orangutans and decisions (I'm joking by the way, it's actually a very good book) and I'm in Phoenix, Arizona. The heat on the jet way almost kills me, and I step into Sky Harbor.
The flight is an hour late, by the way. I immediately hear my name being read by a computer over the tannoy, and run to baggage claim. The info desk has no info, and a human voice calls my name. Irie Nancy and her cousin Nico appear, who were making their last lap down baggage claim before leaving the airport, whew! I try hard to communicate, but the fatigue's got me beaten. I pick up my suitcase, we make our way to the car park, I have that smoke, at last, and we leave.
Where to begin...we're driving down a freeway, skies clearer than OJ's conscience (he's innocent!), the sun high in the sky, crimson mountains on the horizon, a vast landscape of desert and colourful gridline pattern streets and shops, sunglasses on, listening to Champagne Supernova. Euphoria would be an insulting definition of those minutes. I'd had a CD made up specially for me, so some Happy Jack and Buttons And Zips later, Nico was dropped at his house.
Onto Motel 6. I won't ramble here - I paid for my room and we left for Mama Sheba's. I meet the entire family, seem to make a good impression, and am promptly escorted out back, before saying bye to the brother, Raul. We three and Debbie, the 'mom', joins us in having a joint. This wasn't your plastic and soap powder affair, this stuff was lethal, though I didn't know it yet. A half hour passes, the dad - Eddie - joined us, and the twilight (twilit?) garden began warping and pulsating. I try to pretend I'm ok, but when I ask if my feet are still attached, the game's up. I'm given a can of Pepsi, which at that moment tasted like every fruit in the forest, crushed and mixed by an angel's chest. Heavenly. We leave. Oh, there was a deaf sister - Gelly - who made noises to get attention. This being something I'm not used to when sober, it was hard not proper freaking out at this.
We arrive back at the motel, and by some miracle I get the cases in. We say goodnight and I look in the mirror. My eyes are rosy - I've never looked more like Towelie in my life. Everything I do is now a wonderful adventure, from washing my hands, to changing the time on my phone, right down to the bloody toilet. This is all at 9:30pm, by the way. I get the light off, and collapse into bed, the world still a kaleidoscope of what the fuck. I begin to drift off, as the words I last heard resonate in what's left of my mind: "Welcome to Phoenix".
"Gonna leave everything I know, gonna head out towards the sea"
In a bit.