Aloha means hello and good-bye. I'm in a constant state of Aloha. Meeting new people, then saying good-bye. Catching up with old friends, then saying good-bye. Seeing Nicky, then saying good-bye. Seeing my brother, then saying good-bye.
I have been in NYC for about 60 hours and now I'm leaving for eight days in Florida. I guess this brief stint in NYC was a refueling stop. I did a batch of laundry and ran around the city doing errands and things that backed up over the last six weeks. I didn't get everything accomplished and had to focus on the most time sensitive items while I decided to put somethings off until my return to NYC at the end of the month.
I never have enough time, it seems. I'm constantly rushing things and attempting to squeeze stuff in. Rarely do I ever get to say, "Ahhhh, I'll do that tomorrow."
I had to buy a new aircard for my laptop. The old one was two years old and I stopped the service two months ago. I went with a new model that featured an USB attachment. The old aircard made the laptop get super hot and I always feared that it would fry everything. Since I already have a Verizon cell phone account, the monthly charges are about $20 cheaper a month. They also waived the activation fee. I was in and out in less than fifteen minutes. And yes, the aircard works in New York. Let's hope it works in Florida, specifically down in Key West.
I did not have much time to write during mt layover in NYC. Just short and little spurts. That bothered me, but I had no other choice. My goal over the next week in Florida is to set aside about two or three hours for work related stuff and to write every morning. Then I have the rest of the day to hang out.
Jen, one of the British writers that I worked with in London, mentioned something like, "Holidays don't have the same meaning in our nomadic lifestyle."
I guess that's why I didn't get overly excited about my birthday. Most of my friends thought I was still in London. I wish I could say that I got shitfaced drunk in NYC dive bars like last year. In 2005, I had to drive to Atlantic City for work. 2004 is a blur.
Skippy managed to post a very nice tribute on his blog. Thanks, bro.
I got wrangled into going out to dinner with my family, which sucked. Not only did I not get to pick the place, I couldn't even pick the time I wanted. I just got drunk on cheap red wine and looked at the clock on my cellphone every eight minutes awaiting the end of dinner so I could get the fuck out of there.
An old friend was in town for the past two weeks. His wife was attending a training session and he tagged along. DJ Tom (in the past I might as referred to him as Kung Fu Tom) and I were great friends when I lived in Seattle over a decade ago. After I moved from Seattle to NYC, we saw each other a few times (usually once a year). That cycle ended after he stopped coming back to the East Coast for holidays. He always made an effort to come down to NYC on those trips. Since he had not been back in several years, and because I had not been back to Seattle myself since the late 1990s, it had been almost seven years since we hung out.
We lost touch about four or five years ago and he's not what you call an internet person. He's online about ten minutes a week and that's just to check his email. He rarely reads the blogs so he had no idea about what I had been doing. Then last June he called me. I was trying to score bud at Bonnaroo at that precise moment of reconnection. It was a brief but fun conversation. He told me that he had finished up his master's degree and got married. A lot can happen to your friends in three or four years. I think the last he had heard of me, I was completely broke and homeless after getting tossed out of my studio. He had no idea about the recent success in the poker industry, so I had to explain the amazing ride that has happened over the last three years.
Seattle in the late 1990s was an interesting time, just before the dotcom bubble burst. Most of my friends were not involved in that area. They were artist and free spirit types. We were slackers and didn't have much money and relied on each other for entertainment. Maybe it was the rain or the fact that we were broke, but we often gathered in groups of five or six people and sat around having intense discussions while we got wasted and listened to weird music in the background.
DJ Tom would come over to my house and we'd order pizza, drink sixers of Henry's on the big porch, and watch the rain fall. Sometimes we'd watch the X-Files and the Simpsons like every other pothead in the greater Seattle metropolitan area. DJ Tom was studying Kung Fu at the time and he'd often show up to my house with random bruises that he incurred after a long training session. He taught Kung Fu on the side to help pay for his training. He showed me how to throw an effective punch, especially in close quarters.
He was a musician and also go into spinning records, hence the moniker DJ Tom. He'd make me these interesting tapes that were a delicious mixture of all different genres of music in... from West Coast jazz, reggae, classic rock, African tribal music, zydeco, and deep house. During one of my infamous parties during the summer of 1998, he spun records in our living room. That was a bitchin' party. One of my work friends, using his harmonica, almost beat the snot out of an annoying kid who tried to steal someone's bottle of tequila. I hooked up with one of my female housemates and some random dude passed out in the shower. And yeah, DJ Tom spun music until the morning hours.
We're ten years older now and are on different journeys through life. We both managed to get our shit together, and finally reconnected after many years. I'm fortunate that our friendship can simply pick up where it left off. I'm at a dangerous point in my life where I don't have the time to constantly work on my friendships since I'm rarely in the same place for more than a few weeks. Some relationships have already suffered, while others are floundering. That's been one of the biggest regrets about the last couple of years. Being on the road means being away from your friends.
DJ Tom and I started drinking around 4pm on Friday. I took him on a tour of my favorite dive bars starting with the P & G on 73rd Street. We drank pints while the old guys sat at the bar and kept their eye on the ponies that were on the OTB channel.
We drank and talked. Sometimes we told old stories and recounted memories of people we knew about in Seattle, like Crackhead Stu and Fat Naked Guy and Brian the Plumber. He told me how much the city has changed since I lived there. I told him about being on the road for the last three years and visiting places like Australia and Monte Carlo. We spoke about our brothers, who were both three years younger than both of us. He told me about his wife, who grew up in Hawaii, and how they met. I told him about Nicky and the story of us over the last two years.
Then it was time to go. Time flew by so fast. We said our good-byes and promised to see each other again. I keep meaning to return to Seattle. Now, I finally have a good excuse.
Of course, I can't think about that right now. I'm headed to the airport to jump on a JetBlue flight to Ft. Lauderdale, then a quick drive to Miami in my $15.99/day rental car to hang out with Jerry and his family.
I'm at the airport. My cabbie got me there in 15 minutes. New record. I think the roads were empty due to the Jewish holiday. My cabbie dropped me off behind a bus that just let out a massive group tour of 50 or more geriatric couples trying to squeeze thru the revolving doors into the terminal. I feared they were headed to the JetBlue counter and ran inside another entrance to beat them inside. They were lined up at the Continental desk. Over 200 of them. Insane. I used the check-in kiosk and was done in two minutes. Went downstairs to the food court and got a slice of pizza. Now, I'm killing time playing online poker.