Following an incredible week of Christmas worship experiences at work, the staff of Elevation was given the week after Christmas off. It was so nice to just unwind and relax and decompress. After spending a few days at home being lazier than lazy, I jetted to New York to spend time with The Supermodel and ring in the new year in the city. I'll post pictures and a more comprehensive recap this week, but the trip up there was just much too exciting to share.
I arrived at the Charlotte-Douglas airport with little trouble. Checked in, checked my bag, made through the metal detector. Following my body scan, however, I was pulled aside and asked if I had anything concealed in my left pocket. Immediately I reached in to grab the bobby pins hiding inside. "No! Do not touch your pocket!" my TSA comrade demanded. I explained that I merely had some hair accessories in there, and she let me slowly and cautiously pull them out to show her. "Because you set off our system," she explained, "I will need to search your lower body thoroughly." She made hand motions as to what that would entail, and she was right. It was thorough. I passed.
Following that nerve-jangling ordeal I made a pitstop at the airport bar for a quick libation before boarding my flight. A woman came and sat next to me at the bar with her book Emotional Unavailability and How to Combat It. She was clearly battling it with some strong liquor. I quickly finished my beverage and dashed over to my gate to board.
I'm generally not one to chat with my airplane seat mate, but on this flight I befriended my neighbor - a cinematographer who not only has a documentary currently on the Oscar short list, but also worked on The City. He educated me on both honor killing in Iraq and what Whitney Port is really like (thumbs up). As we were chatting, I noticed the man sitting in front of me starting to get a bit agitated. Before I knew it he had turned around and begun angrily telling us off in a mix of Russian and broken English. From what I gathered, apparently we were disrupting him. A flight attendant intervened to calm Stalin down, and normalcy resumed.
After landing at LaGuardia my bladder decided it was past due for a potty break, so on my way to baggage claim I pit-stopped at the ladies' room. When I got to baggage claim I made a quick search for my phone and realized that it was nowhere on my person. Frantically I dashed back to the bathroom hoping I had simply left it on the counter when I washed my hands. It was nowhere to be seen, so I peeked into the stall I had exited, and sitting daintily at the bottom of the toilet bowl, covered in commode water was my phone. I plucked it out, and miracle of miracles it worked! For precisely 30 seconds. Then it gave up life and died. Excellent start to the journey.
After gathering my bag, I headed out to grab a taxi. On previous visits I've used a car service, which is less expensive and more convenient than a cab, but with the holiday and a slew of reidrected flights, the company was sold out. I figured it would be no problem to just hail a taxi and make it to The Supermodel's apartment. As would be my luck, however, the cab line wrapped around the building, and we were informed to expect to wait for hours. Panic started to set in as I realized I had a dead phone, no transportation and no way to let my hosts know I would be delayed.
My eyes settled on a city bus, and I assumed my best option would be to take the bus to a stop and catch a cab there to hop over to the Upper East Side. I entered the first bus armed with cash and was told Metro Card or change only. I traded several bills for approximately $2 worth of change with a sweet homeless woman who directed me to the proper bus line. As it happened I was still short on change, but between my flustered movements, incessant chattering and huge suitcase, the driver told me I was fine and insisted I just go ahead and get on.
As we started moving on the overly crowded vehicle, I realized I had no idea where to get off or even what I was doing. I befriended a very competent (almost frightfully so) 12 year old who happened to be a bus regular. She told me that lots of people she knew use the Astoria Boulevard stop. As soon as I reached that one I knew it wasn't for me. The next stop was 125th & Lexington. "LEXINGTON!" I thought excitedly. I know that avenue, so it must be a good choice. Yeah. Not so much. Unless you can picture me in Harlem after dark. Let's just say that I received lots of helpful offers from the neighborhood crowd.
Finally, an unmarked car pulled up and offered me a ride. I was dubious of whether or not it was actually a taxi, so I requested to see his registration, and he obliged. Although I saw it, I'm still not positive. He charged me an arm and a leg, but deposited me safely on the Upper East Side. It only took me two and half hours and a few gray hairs, but where would the fun be in making it easy, right?