A full 24 hours after leaving Houston, I walked in the door of my friend Emily’s Bushwick apartment, she’s been nice enough to let me stay here while she’s out of town in exchange for feeding the cat. Emily and I went to the same prep school through eighth grade and then both left to go to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (The magnet school proudly issues 3 foot-long, white on black Helvetica emblazoned bumper stickers to its students, one still situated proudly on the rear end of my mother’s Rav 4. We’ve known each other a long time, is my point. Check out her work, she’s one of the most exuberantly creative people I know).
So what took so long to get here? Well, I will tell you. The trip stated smoothly. I made it to Houston’s Bush intercontinental Airport with plenty of time to get through security and take it easy on the other side. No searches, thankfully, though I did have to explain that my Hasselblad was not capable of making video, which somehow ruled it out as a likely host for an explosive*. I ran into another former HSPVA student, Jordan Hunt, who has just been cast in his first professional show in Boston. We talked about people we used to go to school with and teachers that were crazy.
In Chicago things began to go awry. We sat on the tarmac forever. The plane was enormous, the kind with three rows of seats across the cabin, each row equipped with its own screaming baby. I happen to be a fan of babies, and at first the screaming infant factor didn’t bother me. It’s pretty hilarious how distraught these little people get over nothing at all, and also funny how the fits come in predictable cycles, and their chubby little faces, etc. Equally adorable are the nervous parents, frantically looking to connect with whoever may be scowling with them, to diffuse the situation with an eye roll as to indicate, “Hey, man, It’s a baby. What’re ya gonna do?” I was mentally congratulating myself as we sat there, motionless at the gate, for being such a loving, empathic and generally wonderful human being. Forty minutes later though, as we were finally taking off, I was pretty much ready to start smacking some of these self-absorbed little bastards around.
There was a storm over Chicago, and flying around it added an hour to the flight, landing at Dulles almost two hours late. You might be saying at this point, “But Greg, Dulles is not an airport that serves the Tri-State area,” and you would be correct. A round trip ticket from Washington was far cheaper than two one-ways, ending in New York. Round trip tickets are far cheaper than two one-way tickets, and since I departed from DC after moving all my stuff into storage last week, I came thru Washington with the intent to take a shuttle to another area airport, BWI, to get on the 10:30pm regional AmTrak train (the last one of the night) up to the city, putting me in Brooklyn at around 3am.
There still seemed to be enough time to make the train if everyone in the van was going to Baltimore and we left relatively quickly. They weren’t and we didn’t, and I arrived at the main terminal at BWI 20 minutes after the train had departed, the next one scheduled to leave at 4:30 am. The ride to BWI was $75, clearly worth every penny.
But I’m flexible. I’m spontaneous. I’m young and energetic. I can roll with the punches. I sat on down in a row of airport chairs, my feet resting on my baggage stacked on a SmartCarte. My headphones in (though not playing any music) and my immersion in an intense text-message conversation prompted a man passing by to comment to his wife, “Hey, that guy’s really got it made.”
I slept on the floor for a couple of hours in the darkest hallway I could find, hidden behind my SmartCarte, various gadgets charging from a nearby power outlet. I woke up at 3:45 and headed out to the completely desolate ground transportation area to catch the shuttle to the AmTrak station, 5 minutes away. At about 4:20, with not even the suggestion of an appearance by the shuttle despite a sign boasting it’s regularity 24 hours a day, I got in a cab. After two minutes explaining to him why I wasn’t taking the shuttle and agreeing on an exploitive price of $15 for the drive around the block. got the station two minutes after the train had left, according to a guy who as apparently just hanging out on the rainy platform. I called up AmTrak (the actual station itself was still closed) and they happily put me on the next train, a 5:30, as my $60 ticket became a $100 one. It was time to switch from debit to credit.
I spent a very moist 45 minutes speaking extensively about Las Vegas with the guy on the platform and explaining to a police officer as non-chalantly as possible what I’d been doing in the bushes when he pulled up if not peeing (I had been peeing).
At 5:15 the station opened. I ate a danish. At 5:30 the train came. I got on it. I read the New York Times front to back, which felt pretty good, and then got to work on this post before some of the funnier details slipped my mind. I made a to-do list. I took a nap.
Then we got into Penn Station. Another pricey cab ride because fuck the subway right now. A key exchange with the neighbor who had my key, she was about ready to go to work without leaving it for me. I opened Emily’s door and went in, put my stuff down, said hello to the cat.
Ok. I’m here.
*Due to a recent terrorist surveillance overhaul recently passed by Congress, I’m compelled to indicate at this point that in no way is my camera rigged to detonate, nor do I possess an ideology compatible with such an action.