Queen Anne is remembered, where she is remembered at all, for only a few things. For one, in the United States among military historians she is remembered as the Queen Anne of Queen Anne’s War, which other people know as the War of Spanish Succession, when the last of the Spanish Hapsburg kings died, leaving a succession crisis between the French Bourbons (who eventually won) and the Austrian Hapsburg line, who were given some territories in Italy to fob them off. The other thing that Queen Anne is known for is Queen Anne architecture that isn’t really from her time period. In my own experience, though, Queen Anne is particularly notable for her brave struggle against gout. When she was 37 or so and crowned as the last ruler of the Stuart dynasty over England (later Great Britain), she had to be carried on a litter to her coronation ceremony.
As someone who quite openly suffers from gout attacks from time to time, some things should be noted about this. For Queen Anne to have debilitating gout in her mid to late 30’s, she had to start having gout in her twenties, more than likely. And to have gout in your 20’s, you can’t be the only one to blame through your diet because there simply isn’t enough time to get that much uric acid in your bloodstream during your first few years of life through a bad diet. Children simply don’t eat that much or guzzle down that much beer to have earned their gout. So, while people who do suffer gout at early ages like Queen Anne are responsible for how they manage it, they are not to blame for having it in the first place because for uric acid to be too high for twenty to forty years before one’s first attack, there had to be some inherited or environmental causes that prevented uric acid from being secreted normally. For that reason alone, aside from her heroic efforts to remain a loving and matronly queen concerned about the well-being of her people despite her own private suffering, Queen Anne was certainly a heroic ruler, if of a heroic type that is not easy to recognize.
The last twenty-four hours or so can be summed up briefly by my experiences while flying between Portland and NYC on a red-eye flight that had free wifi but no plugs to power up my sadly depleted laptop and cell phone, which would have to wait until I arrived in the airport and hobbled all the way to the end of the Jet Blue terminal to wait for my flight to St. Lucia for the Feast of Tabernacles. As someone who tends to walk rather rapidly through airports, it is distressing to walk through them when every step is painful and one receives curious looks from others but no friendly stops from people driving those vehicles that help move around those who are hobbled from one gate to another. While the last few days had been quite fine without very many problems for my feet, it would figure that the morning I was going to embark on a long journey that my foot would pick that time to throb with pain, as would happen throughout the course of the day. I do not know how many of you have ever hobbled your way through airports with gout, but let me assure you that it is by no means an enjoyable experience. You can take my word on it.
Even under the best of times, the way I travel tends to be fairly hectic and often somewhat tightly constrained. Working a full day, shoveling down a quick dinner before braving rush hour traffic to get to the airport? Check, check, and check. Having a wide variety of misadventures even before checking in, before only napping for an hour on a red-eye flight? Check and check. These sort of experiences would have been frustrating had I been able to rush about as normal. Some people like to travel efficiently, and certainly I do, but when one is not moving very rapidly, those misadventures and misdirections are all the more critical. As it was, I had given myself plenty of time to spare, which I enjoyed while chatting with the lady driving the bus in from the economy lot who commented on people who had been in a hurry ineffectually before. Given the way I was walking, it would not have helped me to be in a hurry. It was rather more like an acknowledgement that I would get there when I got there, and that was that.
The trip, so far, has been full of ironies and oddities . How about finishing the Koran on one’s way to New York City? How about bringing along one’s usual quantities of books but also finding enough room for a stuffed skunk in one’s backpack? Chatting up one’s friendly neighbors? A lot of this is the sort of thing I do pretty regularly. Traveling can be stressful and unpleasant, and any way that one can make it more pleasant and more friendly is generally well worth it. Of course, for the hobbled there are often dilemmas, such as whether one tries to hunt down a screen to see if one’s flight has moved in the absence of announcements or whether one waits patiently to see one’s flight appear on the screen where one is supposed to be. As it happens, the gate was moved one place to gate number three, with more dilemmas about travels. With gate announcements early, I suppose it would be good to shut down the computer use for now. There will be plenty of time, one expects, to be online later.
 This is not an uncommon experience. See, for example: