Posted By Caulimovirus on March 19, 2009
“I hope tomorrow that I wake up in my own bed”
.: Since she led me there, I gathered that this subway station connected somehow to Penn Station. I didn’t know which line to take, though, and I had already swiped my card through the turnstiles. I spent several minutes looking for a map that would lead me out of there until I realized all of them were on the opposite side of the turnstiles. I walked back from where I came, found on the map where I needed to go, and tried to pass through the turnstile again, but it wouldn’t budge.
“Card swiped too soon.”
.: I swiped it again, but the same text appeared, this time even more accurate. Cursing the assholes who made this coldly efficient system necessary, I surfaced. I didn’t know how long “too soon” was, so I walked to Penn Station.
.: There was quite a bit of New York to explore during this relatively short walk. Even though I told her I didn’t particularly care to see it, I did pass the Empire State Building and confirmed that, yes, it’s big. It certainly puts the Alico Building to shame. And, though I have an active disinterest in sports of any kind, I walked an extra block to see Madison Square Garden. The building was nothing special — a sports stadium is a sports stadium — but standing in the plaza before it I thought about all the emotions evoked by and invested in the place: the collective gallons of dopamine released over the years after epic wins and the corresponding neurotransmitters for bitter defeats.
.: I didn’t stay long; I have an annoying fear that if I dawdle at all before going to a bus, train, or subway station I will just miss its departure. Like most fears, mine was unfounded and made no difference. I waited half an hour for the next train.
.: One man — ageless only in the sense that it would be futile to assign an upper limit — sat still on a bench and stared at me as if I were the most fascinating object in the whole god damn universe. I considered the possibility that his head was simply frozen in my direction, but incredibly his eyes were able to follow me as I moved behind a pillar. I gave him several minutes to lose interest, but when I emerged he was still waiting there like a god damn parrot. I reviewed myself in a window’s reflection for any signs of embarrassing spills or tears, but I found nothing that could explain this man’s fascination. Whatever I possessed, it was not interesting enough for him to follow me on the train. His loss, really.
.: The next morning I woke up to a whole suite of feelings and emotions: sore from all the walking, conflicted over Baylor and Rutgers when I didn’t think I was going to be, elated that I got to see my friend again, and just plain old uncertain about the future.
.: The greater source of uncertainty concerned major life decisions, but the far more immediate source had to do with whether or not I would make my flight back to Austin on a standby ticket. Also, I forgot where I parked at the airport.
.: There were five seats remaining on the plain. Five people were booked as non-revenues, and I was the fifth. Fate, that same bitch from before, just couldn’t let go of the past and encouraged some jerk to book a last-minute first class ticket, booting me from a comfortable 2:20 pm departure to a 7:45 pm date with boredom. (On the bright side, I probably wouldn’t have found time to write all this otherwise.)
.: Still not satisfied with setbacks and misfortunes of my own, Fate also saw fit to ruin several L.A.-bound passengers by catching a service truck on fire in front of their plane’s engine. While empathetic to their plight, I couldn’t help but be wowed by the awesome visuals.
.: One benefit of waiting in an international airport as opposed to a domestic airport is the sheer variety of languages spoken. There is a good chance that the people sitting next to you will not converse in English. While this fact may bother the more xenophobic among you, I found it pleasant for the sole reason that it sparred me from having to listen to the inanities they were surely speaking, a luxury not available from their English-speaking counterparts.
.: I was the last non-rev to make the 7:45 pm. The plane was packed, the overhead bins were full, and the jerks in the seats next to me decided to have a baby and bring it along. My only source of consolation for the rest of the flight was knowing that the damn thing was suffering from an intensely painful pressure differential building up in its ears.
.: Four hours later, I was in Austin. The airport was empty, a sight I’d never seen before. Everything from the past four days fit nicely in my backpack (another benefit of my reportedly “disgusting” habit of wearing the same pair of pants for days on in is that I save a lot of room not packing more), so I didn’t have to waste time in baggage claim. Instead, I wasted time trying to find where I parked. My strategy was to wander down every other aisle clicking the panic button of my key fob while I held it firmly pressed against my chin. In crazy wackaloon internet forum theory, my head should have acted as some sort of antenna and boosted the signal so I wouldn’t have to walk down every aisle. In reality my key fob was dead. I found my car eventually, and two hours later I was home, ready to wake up for an 8:00 am class (which, I learned after arriving that morning, was canceled).
.: I suppose near the end is a good place for a conclusion, but I feel all the important bits are too scattered and disconnected to be properly summarized here. You’ll know what they are if you read them, so I’ll leave you with this short scene I woke up in the middle of Thursday night to write down:
:-: Wait, turn on some music.
.: Okay. I think it might be on shuff–
:-: Shut up and get over here.
:-: Umm, do you want to change it . . . ?
.: No way, we got this.
:-: I’m sorry…
.: Are you listening to the song?
:-: It’s ridiculous!
.: Well shut up, I can’t hear it!