Clearing customs at London Gatwick airport seemed a bit more difficult than it should have, mainly due to the fog. The fog I’m referring to is not the London Fog found in children’s books and the inside of raincoats–I have since come to realize that this is a myth–but the fog that has settled in my head from the Xanax and German beer that helped me make it through my first international flight.
“Have you got a driving license?” Although the low-hanging cloud is still firmly settled over my consciousness, I can’t help but make a note that the pretty blonde woman at the rental agency asked for a “driving” rather than a “driver’s” license. I hand her my American license with my best “Of course I do, idiot,” look, which is my best attempt at preventing a “You’re ACTUALLY going to allow me behind the wheel?” look.
The moment I sit behind the wheel on what has always been the passenger side of the vehicle, the cloud in my head darkens a little. This could be bad. I notice a sign for Gatwick Airport Parking
and make an extremely awkward left turn into the covered garage. A little right-hand drive practice is probably prudent before taking to the open road, I reason to myself.
I quickly learn that in UK Airport Parking
garages (and, to my delight, the rest of the roads in London), white arrows on blue circular signs are my friends. This bit of gained knowledge will be indispensable, as it turns out, in avoiding head-on collisions.
Pulling out of my practice arena, I feed my ticket into the gate arm machine, hoping that the bored-looking black man in the booth doesn’t notice my passenger side view mirror is folded in due to a parked car and a lack of spatial awareness. The arm lifts and my journey into the unknown begins.