Thursday, 27 October 2011

The day Barack Obama almost had me arrested - Part III

On the night before I was due to fly home, I went to this well-known bar in Rochester called Dinosaur BBQ. I had been there twice before, on the Monday after I arrived when I was wandering the streets looking for a place to have lunch, and again on the Thursday night with some colleagues - Dan and Jerry from the US and Jo and Emma from England.

Dinosaur BBQ is a nice enough spot, the vibe of the venue each of the three times I went there were very different. The Monday lunch was extremely quiet - I spent my time sitting at the bar chatting to the young waitress and her boss, I think they were happy to have an out of town customer. The accent helped, I'm sure. The Thursday night was quite busy, but nothing compared to the Friday night. The place was pumpin'. Luckily, the waitress from the Monday was working, and so she got me a table with no hassle. There was a live band that rocked the house, and I spent far too much of the night consuming alcohol. Sadly, I couldn't find a beer that I liked. But, I got drunk trying :-)

I staggered out of bed on the Saturday morning, knowing I had to check out by 10am. My flight home wasn't until 4pm so i had a little bit of time to kill, I remember I drove to another suburb of Rochester that had this large shopping mall. I can't recall the name of the place, though, which is unfortunate for them because I'm sure they would love the free advertising.

Anyway, as always, I was dressed for cold weather but as I was flying home and would arrive into summer temperatures back in Sydney, I remembered to dump the knee-length coat, gloves, scarf and thick jacket in my suitcase before I checked in my luggage. What I was left wearing was a T-shirt, a zip-up vest, jeans and sneakers. And socks. Oh, yrs, and underwear. To much information? Ok, let's move on. The vest was lined so it would keep me warm inside the three airports I would visit on my journey home (Rochester Intl, Chicago O'hare and LAX) but it was also small enough so i could take it off and put it into my carry-on luggage if required.

By the time I was ready to board my flight in Rochester, events of the previous evening were definitely starting to catch up on me. Frankly speaking, I felt like death. I was hungover, I hadn't had enough sleep, I was unshaven and although I showered, I probably still reeked of beer.

I boarded the plane and sat down in my seat. I was seated in Seat 1A, which would make you think I was in First Class, yes? Erm, no. It wasn't a small plane by any means - I'd travelled in much smaller planes travelling around Australia - but there was definitely no Class structure on this one. I was just happy to have some leg room so i could stretch out once we kicked back and headed for Chicago.

So there I was, sitting in Seat 1A, feeling very self-important because I was up at the pointy-end of the plane. I remember my hands being really cold, so i took my vest off and laid it over my hands to keep them warm. It was going to be a few minutes before we took off, so i spent most of the time either looking out the window or watching the other passengers board the plane. Even though I was tired, as I mentioned, I was aware of a number of passengers that looked directly at me when they got on, looked me up and down, then looked to their left - towards the galley/kitchen area of the plane - then back at me, before walking on down the aisle to their seat. Because of my tiredness, I didn't really think much of it. At least, not until the Stewardess finally sat in her seat as we prepared for take-off.

She was seated directly across from me - with her back to the cockpit - and she said "I love your T-shirt."

(To be continued)