“You fellas might remember that I was sent over to the IBM facility in Croydon, south of London” I began, as the customary reprobates were sitting around our usual table in The Scruffy Dog. Today there was Little Joe, still hiding from the sheriff, Lois, our guardian angel who helped keep the tone polite, Shortie, who worked at the Bar None ranch out of town and who was sloughing off when he was supposed to be bringing a load of feed for the goats, and Nils, our token Skanda-who-vian, who hails from somewhere north of the Arctic Circle.
They all nodded or murmured ascent.
You might dig back in your memories and recall Gene, who lived in Edinburgh, which is located in Scotland. (I continued.) Now Gene had it pretty easy, flying down to London on Mondays and then back to Edinburgh on Fridays.
However, there was one time when several factors prevented him from making his weekly boondoggle and I took the train up there.
One of the nights he and his wife treated me to a dinner and conversation. It seems that they had been planning their vacation to coincide with a business trip to California later in the year. Except they don’t call it a “vacation,” the say that they’re going, “Off on holiday,” which sounds like a 4th of July weekend to me.
But whatever. Now Gene’s wife Nora was, like Gene, well-educated and conversant in any number of topics. She was particularly ecstatic about their planned “holiday” to Hawaii. She’d asked if I had ever been there and I shook my head “no.”
“But it’s not as bad a flight as from Heathrow to SFO,” she said. I asked her how she meant that. She replied that since it’s such a short distance, the flight must take only an hour or two from LAX.
An hour or two? “Is there an SST that flies that route now,” I asked, since I thought that the flight must be around five hours.
“Of course not. But just look at the map here — Hawaii is just a short distance from LA.”
Oh, the map. Oh, the wonder of it all. Nora thought that the little inset for Hawaii on the map of the United States was true to scale.
“Oh man, that sounds like my cousin Tom,” said Shorty, “after he saw that New Yorker cover of New York City taking up 4/5 of the image, and then everything else in that last little bit of space.”
“Yes, I had pretty much the same thought. However, I managed to stifle a laugh after I realized the confusion. Gene later informed me that they had a little geography lesson with the globe in the local library.”
At that point Toni, our waitress, came by with refills of her extra-strong high-test liquid that passes for coffee hereabouts.