When your mother works for an airline and both of your parents live abroad, flying tends to become a normality that you’re forced to get used to – much to my dismay. I usually make these quickie trips by myself, so I’m used to the standard London – Bergerac budget flight. However, since I’ve come out of my long-term relationship, I have to get even more used to travelling alone. Recently, I became stranded in Paris CDG airport after my connection to Holland was cancelled due to weather complications. So, this meant little old naive me, was left to spend a night out in the middle of nowhere without the distraction of someone else. I forced myself to think ‘hey this will be great, I can catch up on writing and just chill’.
The day – As I was being herded down the jetty to the airplane like cattle, I received the text stating that my connection was cancelled. Even as a frequent flyer, this had never happened to me before so I started to freak out (just a tiny bit) – throw in severe flight anxiety and it gets very interesting inside my head. Anyway, I decided to continue to fly to Paris where I wondered around a deserted airport for about half an hour before coming across a working member of staff (who luckily spoke English – I’m not sure how to say ‘help me, I’m freaking out’ in French).
After receiving my voucher for a hotel stay and dinner for one (nothing like the holiday brochures), I made my way to the airport ‘Navette’ – the whole time I was thinking ‘I could be going to the end of the earth right now on this bus and I would have NO clue’. Using my best GCSE French – ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’, I eventually made it to the hotel (budget of course) and down to my free dinner.
Due to being in a relationship for almost half of my life, I’ve never had the chance to entertain myself at a lone dinner or to awkwardly fill my time with people watching – it turned out to be slightly less dreary than I had anticipated and I hate to admit that I enjoyed it (come on I had to!).
I made my way down to dinner and ordered my free glass of wine that was promised with my budget buffet dinner (this ‘glass’ turned out to be a carafe of wine which kept me very quiet!).
So anyway, the dinner turned out to be lovely and peaceful, but mostly – entertaining. The best thing about people watching is the silent judgment that you’re entitled to pass. Firstly, I watched a slightly rounded man pile fried potato bits onto his plate (filling the entire plate perimeter) but then hesitantly showering the plate in boiled vegetables (at least he got some of his 5-a-day). Then, without giggling too much, I watched a group of Asian tourists timidly place slices of chocolate tart and lemon meringue pie next to thick chunks of lamb and beef – not forgetting the meat sauce (I’m not sure if they knew that we were entitled to more than ONE plate for the starter, main and desert). So, I sat there silently getting my full money’s worth from the buffet (I didn’t even know if it was an ‘all you can eat’, but I created that option – it was the least I was entitled to).