It’s less than a week until I’m in New York again. I’d always planned to make a triumphant return. Instead, it would seem, I’ll be in full failure mode. I’ll skulk in tentatively, trying to avoid memories. “Should I be doing this?” It’s not unlike poking a hornet’s nest with a stick. Poke. Poke. Poke. Idiot… You shouldn’t have come. You’re not ready for this. Maybe get a rental car? Drive north? See the gravestone while you’re at it.
In addition, the air travel itself is hanging over me like a black cloud. Every time I start to get excited, a horrid sinking feeling comes over me. I hate to fly, you may recall from several of my past posts. Not only is it frightening, but there isn’t anything decent to look at! The interior of the United States, when viewed from above, is about as exciting as a cup of congealed bacon grease.
I’m sorry to be Woody Allen about it, but the hours of horror involved in airline travel make the process that much more uncomfortable for me. Truly, I can’t wait to sit on the edge of my seat for 5+ hours, listening to every groan and whine the plane makes as it goes through its mysterious convulsions that cause it to randomly drop several feet. This always bodes well for my mood. The pilot will come on the speaker and, in a calm voice, try to explain why we’ve suddenly plummeted from the sky. It is around this time I begin to flip through my mental Rolodex of horrible plane journeys to see if I’ve ever survived that noise and motion before. This, by the way, is a very handy exercise for calculating just how much of a panic one should be in. Also, and this could just be my opinion, it’s one hell of a cardio workout because the body immediately flings itself into Fight or Flight mode. As for those rivulets of sweat pouring down between your breasts? That alone must be – what? – 50 calories worth?
Ah, sitting tense, cross, and sweaty for 5+ hours – it’s reverse yoga. What’s not to love?
This leads me to another issue of air travel, other people. Please, if you see a pasty-faced red-head on the plane, do not attempt to make conversation. I will rip your face off and beat you with it.
1) I want to drink in peace
2) I want to read in peace
3) I want to drink in peace
4) I want to dream of napping in peace, and
5) I want to drink in peace.
Why do you all attempt to converse with me? Do you not see the frenzied look on my face? Do you not recognize my need to punch you in your thorax for smiling at me?
Why other humans feel the need to strike up conversation with me on an airplane is one of life’s great mysteries. There is nothing particularly compelling about me or my demeanor. I’m sure I’m not the only tense, angry, paranoid, sweaty person clutching their armrest and constantly adjusting their seatbelt. I must look like a cocaine addict, twitching away and giving off a malevolent vibe. Yet something about the sweaty cocaine addict look never fails to elicit smiles and hours of conversation. People will spin in their seats to talk to me – the young, the old, men, women, children. It matters little that I give them a look which could curdle milk. They long to interact with this sub-creature, who once asked the air steward to anchor the cocktail trolley to her seat. Ah, yes, I’m the friendliest of air travelers. And the germs! Dear God…
By the time I arrive, I’ll be in an exceptionally dour mood. I will have sweat through all my garments, I won’t have relaxed the entire trip, I’ll be nauseous and tipsy. Ah, New York… Come! Embrace me…
As for my movements once there; this will be a tough and emotional time for me. I haven’t been back in several years, and the last trip was dreadful for reasons I won’t go into here – except to say, NO, CAPERS AREN’T RELATED TO PEAS!
Yes, New York is filled with memories. The good as well as the bad. I’m already in a panic! I don’t want to look at my favorite places and feel pain, but it’ll be there. It’ll settle on my chest like a goddamn Mack truck. The pain will float around in the back of my mind, too, and as I pass a familiar spot, the memories will come rushing back. I’ll be thinking, “I should have brought my sons with me” to keep me from being too maudlin. There’s a memory attached to everything and it’s really just a matter of time before I have a cry. I’m thinking probably at first sight of the Empire State Building, or maybe Gapstow Bridge – and don’t even get me started on TriBeCa.
So, New York – when you see me, be kind. Understand that I’m tired not only from lack of sleep. I’m beaten down. Haunted. I long to see my favorite places but at the same time, I dread it. They won’t be standing there in a happy light, welcoming me; they’ll have the past thrown over them like a giant banner screaming, REMEMBER ME? YOU SUCK AND YOU’RE STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH!
I can do this. I WILL do this… and yes, I’ll cry. So be nice, don’t make direct eye contact or smile at me, and I swear I won’t punch you in the thorax.