Thursday, April 03, 2008

long beach > jfk

By Pauly
New York City

Man, I went on mega family tilt on Wednesday night. It ruined the good mood that I was in and threw a monkey wrench (a monkey the size of an elephant) into my glorious plans for April. I'm too pissed off to even write about it.

I woke up early for a travel day and wrote for a bit. Basically I rushed to catch up on the work that I had put off from the night before as I wallowed in my own misery. I had to leave for the airport by 10am, so I knew that it would be a tight morning. I didn't have much time to work on any of my multiple deadlines and finished up packing instead. Since I was returning to LA in a few days, I only had to pack for a weekend trip to NYC. I actually unpacked stuff and lightened my backpack by 50%.

I woke Nicky up and we headed to Nick's. I had not been in there this trip and as always they gave us great service and amazing food. After breakfast, I jumped in the shower and loaded up the car.

Long Beach is one of my favorite airports because it's so small. It has four gates and only services a couple of airlines. Over the last two or three years, I have noticed that it's getting more and more crowded as JetBlue added more flights in and out of Long Beach, which is a healthy alternative to LAX. Although Long Beach is not as close as LAX, it's much easier to get in and out of the airport.

I knew that my flight was delayed before we left the apartment. I told Nicky that she did not have to rush. Well, there was zero traffic into Long Beach and we arrived early for my delayed flight. We hung out in the cell phone lot and waiting area for a half hour. We smoked up and listened to a Phish show from Prague in 1997.

Once I got into the terminal, I did my standard routine and bought a water and an energy bar. The energy bar is for an emergency, just in case we get super delayed or stuck on the tarmac and I have at least something to keep me sane.

I sat down and waited at my gate. Most airports gates has less seats than passengers so there are always a few standing up. I like to stand for a bit shortly before I get on a long flight. As I stood behind a row of filled chairs, I heard a commotion about fifteen feet to my right. A Hispanic girl was screaming at an old guy. I heard a slapping sound. She apparently hauled off on the guy and bitch slapped him. I didn't hear everything she said, but the space and area was super tight. The old guy kept pushing up against her. I have no idea if he was groping her or if it was an accident due to the lack of space. Anyway, it was a big commotion and security had to be called. She was screaming but the security guard asked her to break out some ID since he only witnessed her strike the guy.

With my luck, I was going to be seated next to the angry slap happy chick or the woman with four kids, two of which were running around the gate and screaming at the top of their lungs. By the way, the security guard asked the slap happy chick to follow him into a room. I never saw her again. I wonder if she got arrested for potential air rage.

I was seated in 19D for less than five minutes when I heard the mother with four kids sit down our rows in front of me. One kid, about four years old, kept getting out of his seat and clogging the aisles as everyone tried to board a delayed flight.

During the safety demonstration the baby erupted like Mt. Saint Helens. He cried the entire time. Then we got word that the plane had a minor mechanical problem and that we'd have to wait to get clearance for take off. That delayed us by another fifteen minutes as the kid continued to scream. Don't they have chewable cherry-flavored Xanax for babies? I'm glad that I had an adult dose and popped it.

I watched an interesting show called "To Catch a Thief" where an ex-con tries to break into rich people's homes with poor security systems. It was pretty interesting and held my attention. I was waiting for Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares which eventually came on somewhere over Colorado. It was one of the rare times where his consulting couldn't save a sinking ship.

Once I got bored with the free TV, I fired up my laptop to write. I worked on a piece for an impending deadline. I could have began the piece before I left for March Madness, but I got lazy and procrastinated. That has rarely happened over the last three years. I now have to pay for my sloth. I had a limited time to write this past week because I got sick.

I found out last night that I cannot use the place where I wanted to write. Something came up and I scrambled to find a cheap hotel room at the last minute.

There were several places I could crash, including my brother's, but none offer me the privacy to write like the seclusion of a hotel room. I have two huge deadlines over the next couple of days and I can't afford to blow those assignments. Hence, I'm willing to pay over $200 a night for a hotel room in NYC on such short notice. I actually got a great deal and don't have to stay in a flea bag in Midtown with all of the other cheap tourists from the Midwest.

Anyway, about 300 miles outside of NYC the captain got on the intercom and announced that we were in a holding pattern because the airport was shutdown. A corporate jet skidded off the runway at JFK and caused a huge delay on take offs and landings. My flight was delayed another 45 minutes. In total, my flight was delayed almost two hours.

Then my cabbie tried to screw me over and tried to charge me double for the tolls. Then he tried to tax on extra surcharge because he said that the Bronx was in Westchester. I protested over both. He gave up on the Westchester surcharge. But he insisited on charging me double tolls. I usually tip at least $10, but since he was being an asshole about it, I gave him the exact fare including his excess toll charge. Yeah, I stiffed him but he deserved it for trying to pull a fast one on me.

I thought that I would be in a better mood when I returned to NYC. Nope. If anything I'm even more pissed off.

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