Day 2: Preparing for Trumpland
So this blogging every day thing is harder than it looks. Spent most of the day under a massive deadline and then remembered my solemn oath sworn in blood to blog every day... Actually, I think it was in fact sworn in an extremely mediocre Asian fusion restaurant in Soho. There was no blood involved... only wasabi and poor customer service...
But I digress. I was going to write about preparedness. As an ex boy scout from an era when not all scout masters were on the sex offenders' register, I learned to tie knots, sew on tiny badges and run manically around a room yelling maritime directions. These are skills I've mostly forgotten since (though I am still prone to the occasional manic run) but being prepared was the chief takeaway from the experience beyond how much other kids suck. (Which to be fair, by age 8, I'd already worked out)
So how do you prepare for Trump's America. Well, my first method was to visit Obama's. First survival method: If you want to visit San Francisco for less than £350, WOW AIR is for you. It means flying via a stopover of indeterminate length in Iceland. Keflavik airport (The one near Reykjavik but not so near that you could legitimately visit Reykjavik on your stopover) will hold you prisoner and charge you the equivalent of $25 for a sandwich that looks and tastes clinically depressed. Not even the nine dollar cup of tea I bought with it could raise my spirits.
As it was, three hours can pass quite quickly when you're energised by silent rage at how an airport could take such deliberate financial advantage of the fact that if you go outside, you might legitimately die. But the flight onward is something else. First the North Atlantic, then a chunk of the Arctic and finally Canada and America itself loom large in the window. This was probably about where I had my first minor freak out. I am from a small country. Flying across the UK can easily be accomplished before the two thirds point where you discover the cases are linked in an episode of CSI. This country just keeps on going... and going. Mountains give way to forests, fields, trails and deserts. It has everything.
Including, not long before I arrived, what to me was a pretty unfathomable election result.. The three of you who may have read my other blog (Yes mum, I'm aware you are two of those people) will be aware that I'm not normally at a loss for things to say about politics, but 2016 raised the bar. Nevertheless, I wanted to test my preconceived notions and really get to the heart of what had led to this...
Who am I kidding... There is no getting the head around this. It competes with Brexit as the stupidest thing a large group of people have decided was a good idea since organised religion. (You can tell I'm going to fit right in as a future American citizen) But more on this later. I like to think that there was a definite sense of decay, like the feeling people must have got before the Roman Empire collapsed and the Barbarian hordes decided to make Europe great again by uninventing central heating for 1200 years. (Another reason to be mad at the Germans.) But this is California, and the good citizens of the state had taken the edge off by voting to legalise Maraijuana.
As I stepped out into the crazy of the airport and tried to get UBER to work, the lights, the traffic and the pulsing energy of the place told me that this was something I hadn't experienced and I had genuinely no idea what awaited me. I'd travelled with a few sketched meetings in LA cobbled together last minute before I left, with no real plan for what to do with the ten days I had in San Francisco and with nowhere to stay but the bedroom of a girl I'd spent six turbulent hours with eight months earlier. (Thinking about it, this probably shouldn't be regarded as any sort of 'how to' type methodology. This could have gone pretty badly wrong)
Maybe this isn't about preparation at all. Seems like it's about taking your shot and forgetting the consequences. I took mine then, and I'm still taking it now...
And that is probably my first piece of good writing advice.