August 13, 2010 by Jen
Not just a hobbit’s tale.*
Well folks, after a long-and-short three weeks, I’m back in the U.S. and feeling more than a little jet-lagged and woozy after right about 30 hours in transit.
Operation stay-awake-until-a-normal-bedtime is now in effect.
But along the way, I’ve made some interesting discoveries about the wandering life, including, not least, some words that take on a very particular meaning in the context of international travel.
With no (t much) further ado, I give you,
The Travel(l)er’s Abridged Dictionary
Foreboding: (c.f. urgency). Polishing off a second cup of water, so you can hand the plastic cup to the flight attendant along with your empty coffee cup, at the precise instant that the captain turns on the seat belt sign and the PA system crackles on: “The captain has announced that we may be experiencing some pockets of turbulence for the next hour, so we request all passengers to remain in your seats, with your seat belts securely fastened, until the captain signals that it is safe to move about the cabin.”
Willpower: (c.f. foreboding, with the addition of turbulence.)
Urgency: A repeated craning of the neck at an angle so as to see around or between the adjacent seats with the purpose of monitoring the progress of a food or beverage cart which, escorted by flight attendants, is moving at a dilatory pace down the aisle, effectively barring passage to the small neon sign at the other end of the cabin. (Closely related to foreboding, but without the seat belt sign or turbulence).
Disgruntlement: Opening the in-flight magazine to page 64 and seeing the tell-tale blue ink marks signifying that half of the Sudoku puzzle has already been completed–in pen–with an obvious logical error in the first box alone, because the former tenant of the seat mistakenly placed a 2 in the same row as a helpfully placed, pre-printed 2.
Obsolete: Reading in the in-flight magazine that the colors Mulberry and Yellow Green have long since been retired from Crayola crayons, and having a vivid memory of the triumphant discovery that what distinguished Yellow Green from Green Yellow was that Y-G was predominantly green, whereas G-Y was fundamentally yellow, based on the grammatical proposition that the first term in each example serves an adjectival (i.e. supplemental or secondary) function, which could be verified by adding the suffix “ish” to the first term. (Closely linked to trivial.)
Asymmetry: A specific physical condition applicable to a) the ratio of elongation and compression of the left and right sides of the neck, resulting from an attempt to fill in the space between the left (or right) ear and the shoulder with an insufficiently stuffed piece of scratchy fabric; and b) the degree of compression in the left or right shoulder and the muscles of the neck that occurs during an attempt to share evenly four armrests between six arms.
…and the additional possibilities are endless. What am I forgetting?
*Couldn’t resist. 😛