Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lithuanian Snapshots - One

A happy journey, squished against the window in Lithuanian Business Class, demarcated by a rather shabby cerise curtain between rows 2 and 3. The moon rises, coming into focus as we fly into night over a cotton-wool bed of cloud.

We are flying over Denmark, my co-traveller in the next seat informs me.

We strike up a conversation. He is a 28 year-old Lithuanian IT consultant who works at Canary Wharf, going home to see his family. He is pleasant enough, but by the time we touch down at Vilnius International Airport (a cosy little hanger) I am more than happy to join my fellow actors again. Of Lithuania and all things Lithuanian he is fiercely proud - and this is justifiable, given that this little nation has pulled itself up by its bootlaces, shaken off centuries of occupation and oppression and achieved an impressive economic turnaround in less than two decades.

Of England and of London he is quietly scathing. Dr Johnson tickles my ear (When you're tired of London, you're tired of life) as this jaded young North European talks to older, excitable English me in his low, serious voice. I can't help but wonder if he hasn't been hanging out with the wrong crowd. I also recognise in our short little trip together a kind of microcosmic version of history. Voting in the Eurovision Song Contest of late suddenly becomes crystal clear...

My old friend Jay - unseen for 15 years or so, as happens in this odd acting profession of ours - is in the row in front of mine. We share a giggle when he gets up from his seat and bangs his head on the overhead lockers. Jay mutters a joke about Lithuanian Business Class needing to sort out its headspace, which makes me giggle even more. My Lithuanian companion is non-plussed. He wants to know why we are laughing. He wants to know what is wrong with Lithuanian Business Class. I get a sense of the inscrutability of different nations' humour.

In my mind's eye, Jay and I descend the aeroplane steps wearing red noses, fuzzy wigs and very very big shoes.

5 comments:

Sue said...

Hi Livvy

Welcome back from your trip. It sounds like you've had an adventure even from the flight. :-)

Hope it all went well.

Sue x

Stay at home dad said...

This is becoming quite a tale! The sort of stuff short stories are made of ...

merry weather said...

Glad you're back Livvy - this sounds an interesting trip - I like the Eurovision epiphany!

Livvy U. said...

Sue it was a glorious adventure from start to finish - I've not recovered yet!

SAHD - that hadn't occurred to me but obvious now you say it. Vilnius would make a fantastic setting. Good thought, I'll hang onto that. Thank you.

Merry - yes, it really was like an epiphany, I've been laughing about it alot ever since. x

Marianne said...

What a lovely, vivid post. I felt as though I was on the plane with you Livvy, and how well you describe your new Lithuanian travelling companion and the culture gap. I didn't realise you acted too. What a talented soul you are.