Friday, February 16, 2007

LA Bound: Take 2

I slept for a couple of hours before my alarm woke me up at 4am. I hopped in the shower and was ready by 4:20am. After a goodbye smoke I went downstairs to wait for my cab in the darkness of winter.

It arrived exactly at 4:30am. My cab driver was Russian. The streets were empty. The city is a peaceful place at the dead hour of 4:30am. The Lincoln Town Car was nice and toasty. We cruised towards the airport when I got a call from Michalski. He was still up and an hour behind me in Dallas. We chatted for thirty minutes about people stealing the feeds from our poker blogs and then making money off of our work. We brainstormed and came up with a few ideas.

It took less than thirty minutes for a ride to JFK that's anywhere from 45 minutes to ninety minutes during peak rush hour. I gave my cabbie a $21 tip and he shook my hand. He gave me his card and asked me if I needed to be picked up when I get back.

At the JetBlue terminal, the check-in area was jam packed at 5am! The lines were literally out the door as I found an empty self-serve kiosk. It took about two minutes to check-in. My ticket did not have a gate assignment as of yet. There were only five flights on the board with a gate. And Burbank was not one of them.

Security took less than five minutes. The line at Dunkin' Donuts wrapped around the small stand-alone shop. People were sleeping in odd areas in the terminal. One lady was curled up in the shoe shine chair. Others were bundled in blankets and sleeping in chairs. One family had sleeping bags arranged in a circle with their luggage piled up in the middle.

Most of the travelers looked weary and ready to go home. I didn't ask how long many of them were here.

I bought a few items to prep for a lengthy wait. I purchased the standard survival items for a cross country flight; a bottle of water, gum, a protein bar, and a snack just in case I was stuck on the tarmac. I also got some mineral water to soothe my stomach and a copy of Rolling Stone to read. I'll go back up in twenty minutes to get a morning paper.

I sat down at the wifi hotspot in between dozens of sleeping bodies. And that's where I'm updating the blog. It's now 5:25 am. My flight is supposed to board in 35 minutes and depart in 80 minutes. Still no gate.

It's another random Friday that I spend my early morning in an airport. Instead of Long Beach, I'm headed to Burbank or that airport in the Valley! Nicky actually has to drive to the Valley to pick me up.

One coast to the other. I don't even blink at six hour flights. Anything over two used to be a chore. After Oz, anything less than five hours is a breeze. And with DirectTV on JetBlue, the flights are easy. Provided no little ones around.


7:12am... My flight should have left by now. The plane is here, but the crew is not. We're still waiting on one flight attendant and one pilot. What the fuck? Last night I told Nicky that I expect to get out to LA... but 90 minutes late. As of now, it looks like I might be 2 or 3 hours late. I may never get out of New York City.

7:45am... Dude, where's my fucking pilot? My flight was supposed to depart one hour ago. This experience has been trying all of my patience. The chick at the desk keeps sayind, "We don't know when our crew will arrive." The angry mob is ready to pounce on her and rip her skull out. Some folks have been here for 2 days.

8:25am... I won't get into Burbank until at least Noon at the earliest and that's if we board in the next twenty minutes, which ain't happening. I'm currently looking into taking a train to another city and flying out of there or renting a car to drive down south and fly out of Nashville, Charlotte or even Atlanta. That's how pissed off I am right now. I thought I made a slick move by opting to change my flight to Friday morning instead of Saturday night. Now, I'm wishing I picked Saturday. I'm grumpy. I'm pissed off. I've been sick since Feb. 6th. I haven't slept much the last few days. I can't get a few of my freelance clients to pay me and for the last month the government has frozen 34K of my money in an off shore account. I haven't been this suicidal in years.

4:20... Finally made it to Hollyweird. I'm off JetBlueBlizzard tilt. I had to sit next to a 3.5 year old kid. He was well behaved. Rare. His parents were cool and told me not to worry because they "raised their kids well." I laughed and thought she was shit talking. She was correct. His dad produced TV shows and we talked about competitve eating from Colorado to California. It's hot as fuck out here. It's at east 83 or 84 degrees or 60 degrees cooler.

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