Friday, April 13, 2007

New York I

On one hand, the skies are leaden and black, rain is pissing down relentlessly, and it is cold and windy. On the other hand, I am in New York and not at my desk, so I'm not bothered.

I landed in Washington DC yesterday morning 11am, ready to take a connecting flight to NY La Guardia. By taking two flights instead of the one, I saved myself 30 pounds, bargain! Sadly, the connecting flight was delayed. For three huffing hours. I came to feel very, very cheap as I sat sprawled out on a chair while large people cheerfully started random conversations with each other without shuffling uneasily or keeping the chat to a minimum a la UK.

At one point in my wait marathon, I observed a convivial old man, all grey hair and warm smile, exiting from a Staff Only door. With his bumbling demeanour, he put me mind of Jimmy Stewart in his later years, especially when the staff door retracted with a SLAM. He jumped, quite alarmed, and said something akin to 'Jeepers.' It was then that I noted this ageing security guard's gun on his hip. So that was interesting.

Spending an eighth of a day wandering aimlessly around Dulles International airport wasn't something I'd recommend to anyone. I wandered off to their two smoking rooms which were a disgrace - Heathrow's room was clean-smelling with good air-con and hidden from view around the back of the O'Neills pub. The rooms at Dulles seemed more geared towards humiliation with their glass windows affording non-smoking passers-by the chance to walk past and feel superior. Plus the rooms reeked and made Heathrow's smoking room look like the perfume counter at Harrods. Ban smoking in public; fine, but don't make smokers feel like social pariahs, please.

I tried to get some quarters to call my lady friend and tell her about the delays (I forgot to activate International Roaming on my cellphone before I left, meaning I'm now walking around with a glorified watch in my pocket), but each person I spoke to in shops kept asking me how I was before I'd ever said anything, and it confused and confounded me. EACH ONE.
'How are you?'
'Erm, Fine. I don't want to buy anything, I just want change.'
This to me at least, made the whole encounter worse and made me feel like scum.
Then I spent about three bucks feeding quarters to a phonebox that kept the change and never actually connected me to anyone.

By now, the vein was throbbing in my forehead, even by the time the NY plane arrived and I ended up sitting next to a lovely old lady who smelled of wee.

I was completely confused by the time I took a cab directly to a bar near my ladyfriend's house (she had not yet returned from work). I had been chatting to the cab driver (a Bangladeshi) about England's recent win over his countrymen in the Cricket World Cup and had completely forgotten where I was. I left the cab and walked to the bar, I passed a girl on her phone who was talking with a broad nasal twang.

'Hey!' I thought, 'an American!'

Thursday morning, and I am about to leave the apartment and venture forth into cold, wet and windy hell. On holiday, yet under crappy conditions.

Still, hooray!

Coming all too soon: New York II: Bugger


Shoshana said...

Don't worry too much about people asking you how you are. That was only because you were south of the Mason-Dixon line. Now that you're in NY proper, no one will care how you're doing. They probably won't give you change either. Welcome to New York! Enjoy your stay!

fwengebola said...

Shosh - I appreciate that, thanks.
About to be deleted Commentator - I don't give a damn what you've written beforehand. Ending your comment with a link means you're essentially an advert. Now fuck off.

furtive said...

Well at least you haven't been shot yet!

luna said...

So you're on the fags again then?
You said you'd quit!

fwengebola said...

Furtive ~ I made it out alive! It'll be Tescos where I get killed, you mark my words.
Luna ~ Sorry.