Trapped in My own BBC Television Show.

The last thing I remember before it all went dark was that tiny little uncomfortable airplane pillow they give you, a paper towel covered whoopee cushion which you'll spend endless hours unsuccessfully attempting to rearrange like a Rubrics-Cube, into some salvation from the medieval torture device you're buckled into. I stood up from that horrid British Airway's airline seat to seek the lavatory in the aft of the aircraft, just as the pilot announced some incomprehensible message that everyone ignored. At this point, I was less concerned with my own internal relief, as I was the possibility of escaping the row in front of me containing several drooling, and snoring old women, all of which had their seat-backs in full recline. As I stood in line for the toilet, there, near the rear emergency door of the aircraft, I peered out the window. My future below, somewhere down there in the flickering lights between the hazy clouds of dawn. The lavatory door then folded open just a the plane shook with a bit of air turbulence. The woman exiting, immediately screamed “Oh Jesus” so loud, half the cabin woke up. I laughed as I closed the accordion door behind me, then winced as I realized the metal knob was still wet. Such are the joys of travel. We were less than a couple hours from landing at London Heathrow, and somewhere over the Irish Sea as I stood staring at my distorted face in the scratched-up lavatory mirror. I wondered if the scratches were the result of passengers who accidentally got locked in and panicked. I took my time with absolutely no interest in hurrying back to my seat. I was beginning to pray that my four hour train ride to Manchester would be more enjoyable than this flight, if only so that I could prepare for my late afternoon meeting at Red Entertainment, to pitch a new television series. And then suddenly, as I was studying the size of a single pore on my nose, which had greatly expanded due to the the air-pressure of the plane, it all began. I could see the toilet seat lift off the toilet at the moment it felt as though the floor fell out below my feet. I got a little giddy, as the turbulence junkie inside me cheered on the almost roller coaster feeling of the ride. Besides, no one has ever died from a rough flight yet, was my cheeky argument. As I, and the toilet seat slammed back down with a bang, I could hear the cabin erupt with chaos. I reached for the wet handle, only to be, yet again in some sort of lavatory vortex, unable to open it. I felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole as I finally managed to open the door, and land face first into the uniform of our French accented flight attendant, who was now dangling with one hand from an overhead bin, and the other holding the intercom, screaming into it “Get to your seats NOW!” As I carefully stumbled my way back to my seat, climbing over random objects thrown in the aisle way, gripping each seat back for balance, I could hear the engines rev-up in their quest to maintain altitude, and the fuselage groaning as it twisted under the immense stress. I could see out the windows as I was tossed into the laps of my fellow passengers several times, the wingtips of the plane intermittently bending almost ninety degrees as it caught the plane between the pockets of turbulence. I had almost made it back to my seat with its miniscule little pillow and the brigade of permed grandmothers, when I felt that feeling in my stomach one more time. That feeling like when you jump off the high-dive as a child at the pool. My head then slammed against something very hard and everything went completely black.

When I awoke, I was alone and in a hospital room, my head throbbed as my fingers felt my scalp to discover a large row of stitches. I slowly stood up and walked over to the window. Where was I?- I wondered, as the pupils of my eyes adjusted to sunlight. Cardiff? I asked myself, as I instantly recognized the vista before me, yet had no comprehension of how I got here. For a moment I contemplated that the plane crashed, or that I was just mentally ill. “Is this how I die? Do I slowly go insane?”- I murmured under my breath as I cautiously unplugged the IV from my arm, then opened the hospital room door to find myself facing a nurses' station. A nurse, busily involved with something other than me, looks up and stares. We share an awkward silence. She doesn't seem to care that one of her patients is roaming around. Perhaps it's normal here in the U.K., I suggested to myself as I asked “Am I in Cardiff?” I of course already knew the answer, but decided this was the best way to test the lucidity of my reality. The nurse, replying back in her unmistakable, native Welsh accent, and who is ironically amused by mine, laughs, “Listen to that accent! An American, well that explains a lot!” The nurse now standing from curiosity, comes around the counter and grabs me by the arm to lead me back to the room. I stop her and ask, what happened. “How did I get here?” She replies back to me as if I should already have known the answer, “By ambulance sweetheart, how else would you expect?” She then grabs the medical chart on my door, and reads the content making several “uh huhs”, and “okays” in between head nods. “So you're the one that bumped your head... and you're a Jones? You know, I'm a Jones, we're all Jones!” as she tapped on her name badge. “I know,” I proudly declared back, taking my place in the country where everyone's last name does seem to be Jones. After some further explanation from Nurse Jones, I was told our plane did not crash, but ultimately had to make an emergency landing at Cardiff Wales, and I, who was unconscious at landing, was transported here where I was then admitted into the hospital. I advised Nurse Jones that I was now feeling fine and wanted to leave, when she abruptly stopped me mid-sentence with the tone of my own mother and asked “Are you mad? Are you stupid? You came in here with the clocks stopped and the mirrors covered, and the first thing you wants to do is escape and go where? “ Eventually after much negotiation, and meeting with the doctor on staff, Nurse Jones agreed to my “pure lunacy” as she put it. As I signed the release forms, she gave me a cwtch (a hug) and wished me a safe journey back to the States, the country she described as “the magical land of deep fried Twinkies, Hummers, and Wal-Marts.” She was also was kind enough to let me to use a phone so that I could explain the situation to the production company. Luckily they were understanding of my conundrum, since apparently my plane had made the BBC news. I believe their exact words were “Holy (expletive), take all the time you need Liv!” My meeting was now rescheduled for the following day giving me enough time to catch an early morning train tomorrow at Cardiff Central Station, and relax tonight down by Cardiff Bay. It also meant I was back. Back by some random odd coincidence of the universe. Back in the land of my forefathers. Oh yes, and if I had failed to mention it earlier, I'm not really crazy, I'm bloody Welsh... at least by blood, and I love this city, its people, and this country so very, very much. A sense of hiraeth had brought me here the first time, and had created in me a pregnancy of curiosity towards living here permanently. Unfortunately one cannot just decide to move to another country. There's rules and regulations. Visas to be had, and an large sum of money in paperwork fees before the governmental bureaucracy allows anyone to live here. This also meant finding a job in the U.K. Which brings us to why I was on that plane in the first place. This meeting was more than just a chance at a job, it was a chance at a dream.

As I exited the hospital, I headed in the direction of a cheap hotel, the Mecure Lodge, which is adjacent to the Atlantic Wharf with its abandoned red iron crane. I love it down here by Cardiff Bay, known locally still to this day by its original name, Tiger Bay, from Cardiff's coal mining boomtown days. Just a block up the brick path was Mermaid's Quay, the Red Dragon Centre, and the Millennium Centre (Cardiff's opera house), all of which make up the reinvented urban center which modern Cardiff has become. That evening, I went and visited my old friend who works at Demiro's Restaurant, a fashionable upscale cafe, where if you're lucky you might run into one of the stars of the television show “Doctor Who.” I was there however, for the Welsh food: cocos a bara lawr (cockles and laver bread), and my priceless view of the bay. Unlike previous, more planned trips to Cardiff, where I drank the night away on Saint Mary's Street, stumbling out of the pub after one too many “Dublin car bombs”, tonight after dinner I'd just take a stroll alone, in this light rain on the boardwalk. Dancing with my arms out, underneath the Torchwood water-tower, as the pink and blue lights glistened in this almost perfect night. Then just before I could become anymore consumed in the moment, I caught my reflection in the water tower, my battered and bruised forehead which I had forgotten, a reminder of what happened earlier this morning. “What am I doing? I almost died!”- I chastised myself, while channeling Nurse Jones. Perhaps it was that small bottle of hydrocodone pills, combined with the hypnotic spinning of the Carousel, and the smell of the salt water in the air that made me lose myself for a moment. Yet I had to wonder, out of all the chaos of the day, all that confusion, how could I take for granted any day which ends being wonderful, transcendental, maybe even beautiful? I mean, in the last twenty four hours I fought with an evil pillow, dealt with a quartet of snorting old women, shared germs with some wet hand screamer, and was tossed around the cabin of a 747 airplane till I was knocked unconscious. But then I met the wonderful Nurse Jones, spent the evening at one of Cardiff's best restaurants, and stared out at the other side of the ocean from the place I had longed to be, yet did not quite yet belong. Fate had brought me here for a reason, and no matter what happened tomorrow, I was determined that I'd come back to Cardiff to live out my the remainder of my visitor's visa... or at least until the money ran out.

As I got back to my hotel at about 1 A.M., overwhelmed with my epiphany, I stared at the big fluffy, welcoming pillows on the bed, a paradise to my abused head, calling me, beckoning me, like Cardiff had done early that morning on the plane. Tonight I would dream of Cardiff Castle, of running through Pontcanna Fields, and eating a Clarkies' Pie. Most of all I'd dream that when I woke tomorrow, I could find a way to say to myself, dreams really do come true.

And as I slowly drifted off to sleep in that hotel room the last thing I remember hearing was the sound of the plane hitting the cold water of the Atlantic, the screaming grandmothers, and the prayers of all those passengers as we committed ourselves to dream-land for our final destination.


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