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I am...a New Yorker
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[Previous entry: "Drnkng, Smokng, Celebratng, Hopng"]

Tuesday, January 1, 2002
Nervous, Then Stupid with the Flyng
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Photographng...

Thankng...
Uncle Vncent for pickng my drunk ass at 1 a.m. so my cousn Pete could also drnk himself silly and not have to drive me home. That was mighty generous.

Eatng...
Nothng snce Indy, around 2 p.m.

Wearng...
My birthday suit, from the moment I got home. I do miss the nudity when I'm stayng with other people.

Ahhhng...
At the skylne.

Satisfyng...
A stack of mail that was mostly Christmas cards.

Feelng...
Tired, but not too jet-lagged, thanks to the short flight.

Missng...
The silly little freedom of havng friends and family wait with you at the airport or exit the plane and be right there waitng for me. It usually only happened when I visited Indianapolis, but it's a thng of the past and I'm sorry for that.

Seeng...
The ball drop n New York and sighng with greater relief than even when I rung n 2000 on my rooftop 8 tny blocks from Times Square.

I am...so hopeless sometimes, it's absurd. Or, a funny thng happened on the way to the termnal.

My very-extended vacation is fnally over and so Mom, The Boy and I headed out to the airport. Although her flight was not until after 3 and mne after 4, Mom nsisted on pickng me up at 12 noon. I set the alarm for 8:20, plannng to do laundry this mornng before I left. However, I found one last clean pair of underwear and a clean thermal shirt, so I was good to go and able to give myself that precious extra hour of sleep. This was particularly luscious after the countless rum & Cokes I slammed last night to welcome n 2002. Sandra, James, Paul, Jen, Fang, Josh and many others can attest to drunken phone calls from yours truly n the wee hours of this mornng.

Mom, as she's wont to do, called me 20 mnutes before the alarm went off agan. She's been askng me snce Saturday if I'd packed yet. I don't know why she packs so early. I guess I've taken enough short trips that the idea of packng 3 days n advance is silly -- often, I'd have to pack for my return before I left. I've grown accustomed to packng n a very short time. Also, I don't brng very much, though I managed to pack nearly an extra week's clothes this trip. I guess Mom has to worry about packng for two, whereas I only take care of myself, then jettisoned all the presents I'd brought, plus kept one suitcase full of dirty clothes and extra Christmas stuff packed most of the time I was n Indianapolis.

At any rate, all this added up to about 5 mnutes of throwng the stuff n the suitcase before my shower and 30 seconds of this afterward. When I'm travellng normally, with just a backpack and little, rollng carryon, then it takes me 30-60 mnutes, but with two huge bags and not a ton of stuff, I didn't have to worry about tightly rollng everythng, squishng, repackng and makng it all fit somehow. Indeed, I was completely careless.

Anyhow, I lounged about, beng n a chaise lounge and all, for another half hour before gong upstairs to shower. I was showered, dressed and had my suitcases, backpack and coat upstairs near the door by about 10:30 regardless, me of the ultra brief mornng routne. I proceeded to spend the next 90 mnutes keepng my Aunt Cherie company while we watched wee babies birthed on the Discovery Channel. My mother arrived, ready to give me a hard time because my Uncle Tony, prankster that he is, told her when she called at 11 that I had still not showered or packed! Of course, she could easily see this the moment she walked n, but she was still ready to give me heck.

My two gigantic Samsonites fit easily nto the back of the rental car, despite Mom's worries to the contrary. I took a photo of Mom, Tony and The Boy n front of the PT Cruiser, Mom's dream car and we were off after another round of goodbyes. We headed out to the airport, n the wrong direction of course. The Boy, as always was our navigator, because I am lost n big, Western-style cities and mom, despite growng up n Indianapolis, mostly left the drivng to Dad, so navigatng her hometown is one of her nexplicably helpless areas. The Boy got us back on track n short order and we were at the airport n a very few mnutes, because there is never trafffic n Indianapolis, I swear.

Snce we were so early, Mom thought we could do curbside check n for our respective airlnes and then head out to Steak and Shake, so I could get my fix of our favorite Midewest fast food (sorry White Castle, but I can buy belly bombers n New York). There was no skycap for her airlne, so she went nside to check n. The lne was short, but as she came out, a National Guardsman told her she could not leave the car; we had not thought about my sittng n the driver's seat while she went n. Mom proceeded to get nto it with him. She won't stand up to Dad's little 67 year old mother, but a guy with a submachne gun just dong his job and she's suddenly surly!

I tried to check n at curbside and the skycap couldn't fnd my reservation, although I'd just confirmed it last night and paid the $100 fee for changng my departure. He had to go to the ticket counter nside, but eventually found it somehow and magically reappeared with my boardng pass, so I was all set, but not before Mom drove up, gesturng wildly wonderng what the fuck was takng so long. She still had to return the rental car and come back to check n for her flight. Meanwhile the Boy and I hung out n the termnal and I fnally bought the post cards for lo the many people on my list that I'd asked about a half dozen times for someone to just stop and let me pick up at Walgreen's or somesuch. We timed it well, as Mom returned shortly after I fnished up at the gift shop (which, by the way, was sellng FDNY and NYPD shirts, bears and hats -- so no need for me to brng 'em from NYC), they checked n and we got some lunch.

Naturally, though the Indianapolis International airport is teensy weensy, Mom and The Boy were at a different termnal, so we could not go through the same security checkpont and had to say our goodbyes there. I had considered gong standby for the 2:10 flight, but was afraid my luggage would still get there at the orignal, later time, I didn't bother. Havng over 2 hours to kill before my flight, I fnished my lunch (it was too hot before), wrote more post cards and spent far too much money n the various gift shops. I managed to fnd a mailbox and even purchased more stamps n the vendng machne, thus needng more post cards.

I was casually writng out more postcards on the outside of the security checkpont for the termnal I needed when I noticed it was 3:58. It had been 2:25 the last time I checked the clock. My flight was at 4:10. There was no way I could make it. I rushed back to the ticket counter n an absolute panic, Luckily for me, there was a direct flight at 6:25 with 15 seats available. There's an angel watchng over me, I tell ya. You know what this means, right? More postcards! I must have sent out 20 of them n all. Heaven forbid I should use the time to work, as I swore I would.

I did manage to get on the flight, checked n by a gate agent who called me "sweetpea," you've gotta love the Midwest! I really should have used the 5 hours at the airport to work, as I ended up on another tny plane with a carry-on limit of a "briefcase-sized item and had to check n my laptop case at the last mnute. I negelected to brng on my work naturally.

. . .

It's now gettng late and I've done nothng. The flight was fne, considerng we were just a step over puddle-jumper. I wish I'd remembered to take my camera nto the bathroom for the crook-necked ceilng shot. We arrived early and somehow still had to wait so long for a gate that we got to the termnal 15 mnutes late. It didn't help that the plane was too tny to pull up to a jetway, so we had to board buses to go to the jetway. I thnk I forgot to mention that n my entry on arrivng n Indy. It's very disconcertng to pull up to the plane and realize it's smaller than the bus you're n.

We flew nto the city very low, I guess because it was such a small plane, and it was breathtakng. I've often lamented that I've never been able to make out anythng when flyng nto New York. I could easily see the unmistakable pan and handle of Golden Gate Park from the very first time I flew to San Francisco as an adult. This time was different. We flew over the East River as if on a tour of the skylne. Thankfully, I didn't notice this until we passed Lower Manhattan because I was on the right side of the plane thnkng, "Even Queens looks like heaven from here."

I turned to the right, havng heard the kid behnd me exclaimng she'd spotted the Statue of Liberty, and saw the gilded New York Life buildng and then, oh yes, the Empire State Buildng, still green and red, followed n short order by the Chrysler Buildng. Bless our lovely little town.

[Next entry: "A Klutz"]
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