"There must have been moments when Odysseus, years after his return from the Trojan War, relaxed on a sofa with a glass of wine in his hand and muttered to Penelope, 'You know, that was actually a pretty sweet trip.' That's one of the strange things about travelling."
- You could get separated from your partner at f*&^ing passport control, because one of you holds a U.S. passport and one doesn't, and because there's no queue for "mixed couples".
- You might then find the perfect spot to sit on your bags and cool your heels while waiting for said partner, at the only unique chokepoint you've found that she has to pass through and but then it turns out it isn't, after all, a point she has to pass through, and after you see everyone from your plane come by and then become long gone, finally you hear a page on the PA from her in some totally other part of the airport (which she can't backtrack from).
- You may be deeply lamentably too timid to ask the cabbie to take a bridge into Manhattan, so instead you come in via the dingy Midtown Tunnel and then also into what turns out to be a rather crappy, dirty, and touristy neighbourhood your hotel actually turns out to be in; thus vitiating the grand, breezy, lit-up, breathtaking entree to Manhattan you've had in mind for said partner, and also which such entree to Manhattan you vividly remember from your last visit, and have thus built way up in your mind.
- As a result of all this stress and generalized disappointment, you might get into one of your Michael States® and become so unsociable that you send your sister out with your girlfriend for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery while you sit and cool your heels in the hotel.
- You might later meet up for dinner with your sister and her girlfriend at a storied veg joint you've been meaning to get to for years and but because of health issues pretty much have to order the bog-standard salad, which then comes with an ingredient you still can't eat, and nor can really seem to shovel out of the way, because they're rolly-polly garbanzo beans, and so you end up eating about two bites of the salad, which turns out to be pretty bland anyway, and then you pick up the tab, because that seems like the thing to do, and but then go on later to lament, for hours and days, that you just paid $80.00 for two bites of a crappy, bland salad.
- Then, on the way back to the hotel, you could proceed to go on an epic, 90-minute tour of open shops in the surrounding blocks, just looking for some food like, let's say, fruit and nuts just to keep body and soul together, and find a chain of pharmacy that stocks something like two dozen freaking kinds of packets of nuts, every single one of them with chocolate chips, or sugar glaze, or peanut oil, or sea salt, or some other fucking adulterating ingredient, but not one single packet of just plain nuts, that you could eat, and then in desperation you buy a pre-fab salad, and get it back to the hotel room, and then realise you haven't a fork, and then pretty much break down and just cry in misery and frustration.
- You also could have supposed to have gone to visit your nonagenerian great, great aunt, with your sister, the next day; and but you're so emotionally pulverized by this point that you figure you can't possibly manage it and so you flake out and cancel and then as a result your sister proceeds to hate your guts, seemingly forever.
- You might later on get into a completely stupid fight with your really (when you stop to think about it) rather wonderful girlfriend over something competely idiotic like which way the closest lavatories are, based on the completely unreadable signs in Battery Park, so much so that it nearly ruins the day, and then you decide to take the Staten Island Ferry, rather than the Circle Line tour, because it's free, and but then find out why it's free, which is in part because it strands you in Staten Island for the better part of the hour, in the hot sun, which kind of sucks.
- You might later go to pick up your reserved-way,-way-in-advance-plus-also-paid-for(-in-advance) rental car and but be told by the horrifyingly mean and officious rental car counter woman that because you booked from overseas you're supposed to have a UK drivers license in order to rent this car, and but "How the fuck could I need a UK driver's license to drive in the U.S.??!!" (and but, finally, thank God, the branch manager relents and gives you the goddamned car).
- You might shell out extra for the GPS satnav unit and but then immediately find yourself in the middle of the usual stark crisis of trying to drive in Manhattan and but also at the same time in a battle royale trying to make the goddamned, blighting stupid satnav unit work, which it doesn't (work).
To be continued with things that could, and do, go horribly wrong in DC and parts further south (because I'm too knackered and worked up and carpal-tunnel-afflicted to keep banging these out here just at the moment . . .)