Skye-Bound

3:53 a.m., Gloucester Green, Oxford -- I'm waiting on the bus to whisk me to Heathrow Airport. It won't "take" me. It will "whisk" me. I'm fairly excited to be whisked. I catch a 6:55 a.m. flight to Glasgow, from where I'll ride a bus for 8 hours to the Isle of Skye. Skye is one of the inner islands of a group known as the Scottish Hebrides. "Skye" is one of the more attractive place names in the area; the competition isn't very fierce, however -- "Uig" and "Dultulm" come to mind as particularly clunky.

After striding through Oxford's empty streets at 3:30 in the morning, carrying 50 pounds of gear in my backpack, and nervous that perhaps the bus would leave early just to spite me, I arrived at the bus station unpleasantly sweaty. Ish. 3:30 a.m. is a lovely hour to be walking city streets. The pubs have mostly closed, so the drunks have almost all staggered home, or at leats to a park bench somewhere (incidentally, I'm guessing that the guy that my bus just passed on the side of the street, who waved so vigorously that he fell over, and who then saluted from his seated position, is drunk), and it's still 30-60 minutes before the uber fit, so-self-disciplined-that-they-cower-from-themselves-if-they-accidentally-think-of-meat runners take to the streets in seriously short shorts and activist t-shirts they got at a non-violent rally where everyone ate straw to demonstrate solidarity with farm animals. Nevertheless, in spite of the early hour, I still passed a few people. One couple loped down the empty sidewalk, the 20-something girl in her skimpy sundress leaning lovingly into the swarthy, lightly-bearded guy. They laughed and talked loudly in bland American accents. Then I passed a couple of British intellectuals having way too serious a discussion for 3:45 a.m. "But what's really important," one said to the other, "is the amount of clean energy we can harvest from it..." and then I was mercifully past them and out of earshot. Dude, get yourself home and read some Harry Potter, I thought to myself.

Well, now that I'm carsick, that's all. Hello 28 July, and hello a full day of bus riding.