Thursday: March 23, 2006:
I fell asleep at about 4:30, and woke up at something like 7:40, which is about ten minutes after I'd wanted to leave. We'll get back to why leaving at 7:45am (after throwing on what happened to be clean) for a 10:59 flight was hilarious in how ample a head start that is. So. Red line to Roosevelt, Orange Line to Midway. Sunrise, sunset. And, after making it through security, having a nice gyro and what not, I'm on a plane to New York City. I'm really not entirely clear why I'm not allowed to listen to an mp3 player during takeoff, but whatever. I'm glad I was eventually allowed to use it, such that I got to fall asleep to whatever the most calming music on there was, rather than having to either a) listen to nothing, which isn't fun, or b) procuring a set of headphones, which I'd have to pay for, to listen to the in-plane music, most of which seemed to be either top 40, Country, or an entire station of U2. And while I know that flying is remarkably safe, I'm glad that I get to listen to music of my choice while I notice that the wing really is moving up and down a lot more than I'm comfortable with for something that's called "fixed wing".
Arrive: LaGuardia Airport: 1:50pm. Relatively smooth flight, with little turbulence. I do have to note here, that while I've got pretty much nothing but positive things to say about this trip, LaGuardia ranks pretty damned low in my opinion of Airports. Maybe the gate I used was the only example of a crowded, broken, aging gate, and maybe the slashed seat covers and broken ceiling tiles happened that day. But it just seemed to, you know, show its age, which is another theme I'll be talking about in a bit. Anyway, less than impressed with LaGuardia. Whatever. Hopped on the m60 bus toward 125th St., felt like I was going to fall through a window on some of the turns on the way to getting to somewhere that I could catch the 6-train, just as Jenna directed. It's interesting, incidentally, re-experiencing that feeling of not knowing where one was, really. I've had it a few times in the rural bits of Pennsylvania in a car, though that's lessened because there's usually the option of driving until one hits civilization again and the only real worry is running out of gas, and then when I got to Chicago, though that was alleviated after about a week of exploring, which appears to be enough to get my bearings so that, even if I don't know where the hell I am, I've gotten better at looking for ways to figure out how to get somewhere that I do know. Anyway, yes. 6 train to Astor Place, then quick walk to Broadway, down to 4th St., then to Washington Square Park, where I sat reading the heaviest book that I think I've bothered to read for the sake of boredom and waited for Jenna's class to end. Met her, went back to her apartment, realized that I really don't like dorms at all, and put down my stuff. Good times.
Jenna and I, happily reunited, proceeded down past her school to look for something to do. We ended up at Yummy Village Sushi (I’ll be plugging these places when I deem them decent enough for mentioning, and when I remember). I had some sushi, Jenna had some spicy chicken because Jenna never remembers that she’s always overwhelmed by spicy food, and it was good times. I was somewhat tempted to go for their “Eat 52 pieces of sushi in 20 minutes and we won’t charge you” challenge, but as the upside is that I get to be sick for free and the downside is that I get to be sick and they charge me something like $70, I passed. We proceeded to Bleecker Bob’s to look at some records, including some hilariously decorated album covers for rather “rare” recordings before wandering around for about an hour, eventually ending up about where we started, at the Cedar tavern before heading back home.
End Day One.
Friday, March 24, 2006.
Late start. Left the apartment at about 2pm, and I have decided that even a one hour shift in time zone is pretty significant. We started with the required museum run, checking out Met, which I’ll have to say I was impressed with. The geography of the building is a bit confusing, and it took us quite a while to figure out where the Musical Instruments section was, but if you’re going to stare at Benny Goodman’s clarinet, that’s something you deal with, I suppose. We ate at a diner before going back down to Bleecker St., where we met up with Andrew at Le Figaro Café, which had moderate White Russians, bits o’ right-leaning French daily covering the walls. Leaving there, we returned to Bleecker Bob’s on Andrew’s suggestion, and eventually made it to a little café with a few chairs and some post cards. Good times. We met up with another of Jenna’s friends, Lisa, and proceeded to the smallest bar I think I’ve ever been in that wasn’t also in an airport. The V Bar looks from the outside as a standard dark bar where people congregate to have goatees. Lots of candles and black curtains being held back from the windows by stainless steel chain. Mediocre. Until, that is, it was revealed that they had a bunch of board games. I was pleased with that, but then I remembered Sorry! being a lot more fun than it is. Maybe it was the fact that I was less than ecstatic about the apricot flavoured “Magic Hat #9”. Either way, we departed, found a diner with overpriced undercooked mozzarella sticks and went back to sleep.
End Day 2:
Saturday, March 25, 2006
My last full day in NYC, but unfortunately, Jenna was scheduled to work four hours that afternoon. Which meant that I’d have to find something to do. We had lunch at a small Afghani restaurant on 26th St. and 3rd Ave, which was really quite a pleasant experience except for the fact that I couldn’t feel my legs afterward because of the floor seating and got bits of a chicken that had about twelve times the number of bones of an average chicken. But then I sound like a stodgy 22 year old, don’t I? Finishing that, Jenna and I walked to her place-of-employment and I was
Fairly standard from there. Only got somewhat lost occasionally, and happened past some sort of Falun Gong thing in Union Square. A woman with a pamphlet asked me to stop the Communist regime in China, which I’ll get on the next time I have lunch with China. For some reason, despite my enormous sway with mainland China, I’ve just never worked up the courage to say “You know what? Enough with the human rights violations”. But more importantly, I eventually did make it to my destination, Forbidden Planet, which I was excited about only secondarily because it gave me a chance to pick up some enjoyable zombie comics. Primarily, however, it marked my visit to a landmark in 3rd wave ska, as Robert Hingley was asked in the early 1980’s to travel to New York to manage the store (including firing the entire staff and hiring new work), and it was from Forbidden Planet NY that the Toasters were formed. So it’s got that going for it. Another 40 block hike, two crossword puzzles, some Jamba and a few hours later, and I met up with Jenna again. After pizza near her house and watching any hope that I’d win my office NCAA pool vanish with Memphis’ loss, we proceeded to Union Square to poke around in the Virgin Megastore and what not. Unfortunately, I was once again unsuccessful in convincing Jenna to purchase a copy of William Shatner’s The Transformed Man.
Here’s where the old thing comes in. From this point onward, I’m not sure why, perhaps because I was tired, but I really felt very old. The Caliente Cab Co. bar was part of it, as I really wasn’t all that into hearing “My Humps” blasted over the soundsystem (though it was entertaining to watch Jenna deal with the Sno-Cone-cum-margarita she ordered), and we returned home.
I checked the computer.
I realized I’m incredibly bad at entering numbers into my phone. And as such, my night was not over.
Armed now with the proper number, I was able to get in contact with a remarkably energetic member of the Rum and Monkey forums who I’d threatened if I somehow left Manhattan without meeting him, if only because, dammit, if I’m going to discuss the relative merits of Land of the Dead as compared with earlier Romero fare, I’m going to meet them, damn it. So Jenna and I went back down, met up with Mani, and hit up a diner that was reasonably priced and actually very good. I couldn’t help but feel old, was the problem. Perhaps because it was 2:00 am and I was convinced that, given enough of a running start, Mani could very well have run headlong through the wall. Not that that’s a bad thing; on the contrary, it reminded me of myself about five years ago. Hopefully, my current state of slowmoving is a passing phase, brought on by just having gone through a week of finals and, more probably, having just walked about 6 miles. Which only goes to argue more strongly toward me getting outside more. Maybe if there were some sort of treadmill that made Dave Littlefield make better decisions.
Overall, the result is that I’ve got to thank Mani here for being a goddamn fireball and making for a very interesting 2:00-4:15 am.
Still, after some film discussion, a visit to another café (Esperanto Café) and resolving the complications arising from the apparent contradictions in most quantum mechanical systems (which I wrote on a napkin that, unfortunately, was left at the café and subsequently stolen by [insert the name of whoever figures out everything]), Jenna and I said goodbye to Mani and returned back to the apartment.
We fell asleep.
My flight was at 8:00am, and the plan was to stay up until 6:00, get a cab to LaGuardia and that’ll be that. Unfortunately, we got up at 7:00, which led to me forgetting my belt and phone charger on the way to grabbing a cab, paying the cab to drive really goddamn fast to the airport and being remarkably nervous as to whether it was possible to get through to my plane in time. It was. Good times. I read more of that pretentious GEB book, fell asleep several times, and, lo, I’ve returned to Chicago.
Read most of the Walking Dead series. Slept for a long time.