No, I'm not trying to win the Bad Sex Award. For a start, I wouldn't even
You may have heard about it. The one that has the unpronounceable name - fdsjakldjkd or something. The one that hadn't erupted for over 100 years. Until the week I happened to be in the USA.
I can't really complain, since I only had to spend two extra days in a comfortable hotel, but I did have a rather unsettling week. When the thing first belched out clouds of ash, they prohibited any flying through it. The weather folk said that the cloud would be over Britain for at least a week, and the vulcanologists (these aren't Trekkies, but people who study volcanoes) said that it could keep erupting for a year or two.
I started to wonder what I'd do in the US for a couple of years. There were signs up in Walmart saying that they were hiring. Or maybe I could get a job as Bee's stunt double, taking over from her in those situations where women want her to touch them up.
In reality, I wouldn't manage to last two years on the wrong side of the pond. America is like watching a 4:3 TV broadcast in widescreen. The roads are wider. The cars are wider. The people are wider. The reason for this last one is that in America they just don't stop stuffing food into you. No, I'd have to find a quicker escape route.
To give you an idea of what I was up against, having visited TGI Friday's in the UK, I went to a Stateside one. The menu is much better, but not only did I fail to finish my meal (I couldn't even manage the starter), I felt so bloated that I didn't think I'd live long enough to have another. Fortunately, I pulled through in time for breakfast the next day.
Whilst munching my way through a Triple Whopper one afternoon, I was pondering the injustice of the fact that the only unaffected transatlantic flights out of America were ones to Iceland, when I realised that this could be useful. All you had to do to get back to Blighty was to wear a teflon suit, fly to Iceland, jump into the volcano and wait for it to spew you out. After all, everything else that comes out of this thing ends up getting blown to Britain.
As I started on the fries, I realised that there was another, more worrying scenario. Eventually the airlines would have lost so much money that they'd go bankrupt if they didn't fly some planes. At which point they'd start to fly them through the cloud. What's the possibility of losing the odd plane compared to certain financial ruin?
Sure enough, within a week they'd decided that they didn't need to wait for the ash to go away, and they began the flights again. Apparently they carried out extensive tests over a couple of days, and it's all right. To be fair, they've come up with a safe ash concentration limit. To be even fairer, none of the planes have crashed yet.
Now they're saying that this volcano's got a friend, and that they like to erupt together. fdsjakldjkd is presumably a bit premature. If that one goes up as well, they might have to stop the flights again. Now, if only I can time my next holiday to Athens just right...
Disclaimers, a.k.a "Please don't sue me"
- I'm sure that the airlines, the air traffic people and various governments are taking a responsible approach to safety. Otherwise I wouldn't have got on that plane.
- Not all Americans are fat. I'm going by statistics. So it's only the average ones.
- I know that fdsjakldjkd isn't really the name of that volcano. Anyone can see that there aren't nearly enough j's for it to be a real Icelandic name.
- Maybe most people at the height of sexual pleasure feel like their head is a soft boiled egg that's being scraped out by a spoon. Maybe I've being doing something wrong. If so, please don't shatter my illusions by telling me.