|Comments on Monday 17 February 2003:|
|Yesterday, starting at 1am, I escorted Holly to JFK airport, in New York, for her departure back to Oz.|
The lady didn't want to drive us there, because of alleged threats of snow and terrorists; people in government positions were dramatically telling her that going to New York airports this weekend was a really bad idea. Since, the last time there was a terrorist attack, government people didn't think that the target location was a bad place to be, I figured that relying on reverse-correlation would be safe enough (that, indeed, New York airports would probably be the safest place in America, given the tremendous terror-alert track record). Aside from those reasons, we were also going to be in the "all the planes are foreign" terminal, which would surely be the furthest terminal from any attack.
So, with the lady not wanting to drive it, and Amtrak sucking donkeys, the lady did the next best thing; drove us to the bus-station of New Century Travel. While the location was a bit unnerving, the company was lovely; $20 for a one-way and $35 for a return ticket, and a kung-fu movie in the waiting room. The trip was faster, I think, than it would have been by train; we were in New York by 6am. It was cold.
Stumbling off the bus into harsh freezy daylight, we looked around for anything resembling taxis. Seeing none, we set off in an arbitrary direction, found a gas station, whereat the attendant directed us to a taxi. We were at the airport before 7. Her flight wasn't until 12:30, so we had plenty of time to be exploded by terrorists had the warnings any substance.
Hours of time-passing ensued, including my purchasing a miniature "Kerplunk" keychain, and lots of peering at restaurant places waiting for them to open, followed by sneering at the food they offered and not buying any, once they did, and being amused by a sign something like "maximum occupancy 819; more than this is illegal and dangerous" next to a toilet.
Eventually, the doom-time fell, and Holly departed through security. I went to phone home and ask when the return-buses were scheduled, having neglected to check in advance; 5pm was the earliest. I wasted another 4 hours by reading the most formulaic fantasy novel I've ever read, and eventually capitulating and purchasing a $6 sandwich, which I was glad I did, later.
Another taxi took me to the place of the return-bus; the bus was already there, presumably because at this end they lacked even the 'probably used to be a chinese takeaway' waiting room, and so I boarded. An hour later, we were away. Three hours after that, we were driving under flashing signs declaring "STATE OF EMERGENCY. DO NOT DRIVE. AUTHORISED AND EMERGENCY VEHICLES ONLY." Mr Bus-driver, thankfully, chose to ignore all such things, and got me back to DC before midnight.
Gleaning directions to the nearest metro station from a fellow traveller, I walked a couple of blocks through snow of varying depth to it. The lady was called from there. She said she'd try to pick me up at the nearest-to-our-house metro, as previously planned, but that it might not be possible because of the car being snowed in. The metro train was then delayed for over two hours. I called the lady again, after some of that time, and she told me that I couldn't be picked up anyway. Brief dilemma as to whether to go to the nearest-the-house metro and get a hotel there, or wander back out into scary Chinatown and stay at the even scarier hotel opposite the bus 'station'. The metro train arrived before I'd come to a conclusion, so I went with it.
Arriving at the destination metro station, I asked a fellow passenger if he knew where there were hotel-things nearby. He was going in the same direction, so we walked and chattered, mostly about fun-with-politics - he'd gone to New York the day before, for the anti-war protest. A bit of a double-meaning of chattered, there, since our teeth were chattering at least as much as we were; it was a two-mile walk through snow, with lovely spiky ice-rain stabbing us all the way.
We parted ways about half a mile before the hotel-area, and I walked on. For bonus points with the coldness, I had neglected to bring my gloves, or a scarf, or a hat, and I was carrying a carrier-bag; it was at about this point that I realised I could reduce the rapid freezing of my hands by bringing them and the carrier-bag inside my coat, with only a slight additional risk of "I've fallen and I can't get up".
The first place I came to (a motel) looked really skanky, but I was sufficiently cold and miserable to try it anyway; it was closed. The next one along, a Best Western, was open, and staffed by a lovely lovely man who gave me a warm dry flannel with which to snap the ice off my face while he was booking me in. I turned on heaters, blow-melted the ice on my hair, then blow-dried it, then had a hot shower and blow-dried my hair again.
The chances of my getting home today looked fairly grim, too, when I called the lady this morning, but she turned out to be Wonder Woman; dug out her car, drove the doom-laden roads, and rescued me before checkout time.
|Tsk. Ruby slippers take you *away* from Oz, not to it. And you end up in Kansas. Not a recommended method of transport.|
|Hm, but they take you 'home'. What if home *is* Oz? Do they get confused?|
|No, ruby slippers bring you out of a dream. Doesnt matter if your dreaming of Oz or not.|