Sunday, November 04, 2012

At Least He Bought Dinner

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I could give multiple excuses; (1) I’m polishing my novel and getting ready to send query letters to agents, (2) I have a kid who is nearly two years old, good grief, (3) I go to Europe more often than I go to the grocery store and it’s tiring. But alas, I know you have all been anxiously awaiting a blog post from me, so here it goes.

I don’t write very often about what I do on layovers. They’re usually awesome and I am always up for doing whatever touristy activity is associated with the city I’m in. My last layover was Edinburgh and it rocked my socks off. I go to Edinburgh a lot, so much in fact that at one point the barista at the Starbucks near the hotel said he sees me more often than he sees his own family who live an hour down the road. I’ve seen the castle, I’ve hiked Arthur’s Seat, I’ve gone to St. Andrews and hit golf balls, I’ve been on multiple ghost tours, I’ve gone to the Whiskey Experience, I’ve seen the Military Tattoo and the Fringe Festival, I’ve been on a literary pub tour and had a snack in the coffee shop where that lady wrote Harry Potter...or was it Lord of the Rings, I can never keep the two straight. To say the least, I’ve done the touristy stuff. So now, my typical Edinburgh layover consists of a workout, dinner, and live music at one of the many pubs (conveniently) located stumbling distance from our hotel.

This last layover wasn’t much different, although I skipped my workout, we started with a walk around town and eventually met up with the entire crew for dinner. One of the flight attendants on our crew has a boyfriend who lives over there. He came to dinner (wearing a kilt and everything). Before we had a chance to pay for our meals, he took care of the entire bill, which I estimate to be about £100 (or 150 USD). Very generous to say the least.

After dinner we went to a pub where I had the opportunity to learn more about this guy. While we were walking, I asked where he lives. He said it was near Aberdeen, Scotland and then casually mentioned that comedian Billy Connolly is his neighbor. Impressive, as I can’t imagine Billy lives in a shack. He also mentioned that he has jammed with Billy and actor/comedian/banjo player Steve Martin. Although I don’t get star struck over too many people, that’s kind of cool.

The girls were chatting at a table while he, the captain and myself were sipping scotch in a different part of the bar when he told us about a flying car that he built. He has nine prototypes at his house that are fully functional. It goes 0-100 mph in 4.0 seconds and is shaped like an egg. Apparently during dinner, he got a call telling him that it’s been sold to a company bigger than Airbus or Boeing so he wanted to celebrate which is why he bought us dinner. He said he got the idea from his days as a Formula 2 hovercraft champion. Very cool.

A few minutes later, we were chatting about adventures and I mentioned that I used to skydive. He said, “You should try doing a HALO jump.” HALO stands for high-altitude-low-opening and is generally only something military people (like Navy SEALs) do. I asked how he had the opportunity to do that, he said he used to be a super-soldier in the SAS (which is the British version of the Navy SEALs). When I asked if he’d read the book “No Easy Day” about the Osama Bin Laden raid, he said he had and that I should read a book called “Bravo Two Zero.” Apparently he was on the team that the book is about and that what’s not mentioned in the book is that he carried a guy 500 miles through the desert on his back with all their gear. He’s a hero.

As the conversation about adventures continued, he told us how he jumped a snowmobile off a 110 foot cliff a couple weeks ago. This, of course, just two weeks after he had a brain tumor removed. The fact that this guy is still alive is a miracle. As one of our flight attendants said, he’s Chuck Norris.

As I started to tell this story to a friend yesterday, I started laughing at how gullible I must be. Let’s start with the story about him in the SAS. How long would it take to walk 500 miles? Forty-five days if you’re in good shape? Now throw a guy (and his gear) on your back and how long is it going to take? Maybe twice as long? So, the SAS has two guys wandering through the desert for three months and they don’t come find them? Without even getting into the whole food and water questions, wouldn’t they run into a town or a road or at least a car they could take over?

The flying car is feasible, especially with his background as a Formula 2 hovercraft champion. But where does a guy who’s in the special forces have the resources or the time to design and build a flying car? And he just happened to sell it while we were at dinner with him? How convenient.

Finally, I’m no physics expert, but if you jump a snowmobile off a 110 foot cliff...don’t you die at the end? People have committed suicide off of lesser heights and wouldn’t the added weight increase the speed at which you hit the ground?

I think the flight attendant who said he was Chuck Norris was right, he’s a very good actor. As a matter of fact, I Googled his name when I got home. The only thing I could find was that he’s been an extra in some films.

At least he bought dinner.