The alarm went off at 4:30 am. I had spent considerable time crafting a wakeup tone that was as unoffensive as possible, elicited a pleasant feeling upon hearing, but was still obscure enough that I might not be mocked for it; should a Tinder date, hopefully the Canadian one who, if it is dark enough and you're several cocktails into the evening, might bear a passing resemblance to Johnny Depp--decide to sleep over.
After careful consideration, I put on an Indie Rock T-shirt and some pre-torn jeans, because a flight to Portland, Oregon seems to warrant that sort of decision. Initially, I had decided that cosmetics were not essential at the hour, but as I stared into the sleep deprived eyes of my dog, I reconsidered. What if I'm bored and want to take a selfie? I'll regret the eye bags.
Freshly made up with a devil-may-care outfit, I left at exactly 5:44am to the train. I remember the time, because my phone told me to, "Leave at no later than 5:44 am." It gives me these instructions unbidden. At 5:44, feeling pleased with myself for being ready and not having taken the amphetamines that I purchased from India for the occasion, I checked my phone again and it said, "Leave now." I used to need a boyfriend, or a Mother, or a responsible friend: the kind who is already married and has a house AND a car, to give me these sorts of orders, but now I have a phone. Pefect.
The train ride was uneventful, excepting the 10 photos I took of things that absolutely did not warrant photography, including 4 pictures of myself drinking a kale smoothie, which would later be confiscated by the TSA.
Luckily, the train to JFK was largely above ground. Or should I say mostly, since size doesn't factor here. Because of this, I was able to snapchat several photos of myself in the sunrise to my still slumbering friends, and up and coming comic Will Noonan, who playfully draws vomit on his face in every snapback.
Finally, Howard Beach and a chance to ride the Airtrain. Here I had to jostle an iPhone user for space at the disabled window so we could take cellphone shots of the glorious orange sky and a mostly garbage free pond. Straight to Instagram it went.
A Facebook post lamenting the early hour rounded out my social media presence, and lo, an offer for a pre-written itinerary for my Portland trip arrived in my inbox.
Now arriving at the airport I shuffled into line at the Check-In, and my phone, who I might start calling Jeeves, provided me with a barcode to scan so that I might be spared any unnecessary interaction with either humans or computers.
At Security, my appearance seemed to warrant a pretty thorough security check. My purse, full of batteries and vaping liquid, passed through unnoticed. This is because the contents of women's purses are unfathomable, even or especially to an X-RAY technician. First, I stripped off my modesty in the form of nike sneakers and a black leather belt I got from a Saudi Arabian student I used to tutor, and my perfectly worn in black hooded sweatshirt with the torn pocket I filched from my best friend.
First I was put in the body scanner, legs not indecently spread eagled, but a bit ore than a ladylike shoulder width apart, and arms above my head as if I was trying to look like a silhouette Gentleman's Club advertisement. Next, a woman informed me that I was to be patted down, and a man informed me that my bag required searching. Knowing that all my best paraphernalia was in my purse, I confidently agreed to both procedures.
The woman indicated to me in a picture which body parts were offensive (Lady, you're telling me) and perplexingly, it was my bicep area, in which I had not concealed any real guns, nor any figurative ones. I passed the enhanced pat down, readjusted my now askance undergarments, and went over to the man who told me with large brown eyes filled with what could be regret, that I would not be able to continue my journey with the Kale smoothie in my possession. I responded that I didn't mind, because it "kinda sucks away." He laughed, and binned it. Belt and shoes now affixed back to my only slightly violated person, I continued to gate B35. It's worth noting the gate number, since my phone provided me with this information but I had to check it every 30 or so seconds because I have the memory of an empty plastic bag.
On the way to gate B35, which was now boarding, I checked Foursquare to find out which coffee kiosk was more desirable, and got into line. Vaguely I worried about missing my flight, but I looked at my phone and there were no incoming directives to follow. Once in line, I was treated to a lengthy conversation between two women about whether or not they wanted coffee, given their lifestyles and previous consumption of similar beverages. In the end, it was decided that one of them did, and one of them did not. Furthermore, the berries at the bottom of the yogurt parfaits were not to be trusted, nor was any food that was not "strictly carbohydrates" because one of their friends got really sick once from an airport salad. Feeling confident in my decision, and knowing the girls behind me would approve, I ordered a toasted croissant and a coffee. Then waited in a new line. Over the loud speaker I heard again that B35 was boarding. I would hear this message one more time before I received my wax bag of flaky carbohydrate goodness.
Finally laden down with vices, I checked my phone again and proceeded to my gate (Thankful to moving walkways that allow me to do both things at the same time.) I heard now that B35 was issuing its FINAL boarding call and I wrestled with my bag of croissant, which was difficult to operate with no free hands.
Now with gate B35 in sight and the flight crew attempting to will me to speed up with beckoning hand gestures, I broke into a run. It was one of those runs that people use when crossing the street in front of your car against the signal. The kind where you aren't actually going any faster than a walk, but that you hope looks like you are, but in fact you are fooling nobody. Unwilling to spill my coffee, which I had somehow existed without for 3 entire hours, the fake jog was all I could muster. In fact I was the final passenger to board, which made me briefly flashback to my flight in January where I was scolded by the flight crew for being last, but had a bagel sandwich that time. If I was a duck or a child from Singapore, perhaps I would be whipped for this offense, I thought to myself.
Once in my seat, it was discovered that my 2 seat mates did not deign to grace me with their presence, so I uploaded a photo of my 3 empty seats to Facebook, so that others my feel blessed to share in my good fortune. Maybe THEIR lives could be touched by this gift as well, I said to myself.
I prepared for take off by covering my T-Shirt with croissant flakes and flecks of coffee, as I still did not have a free hand, and was unwilling to set either down, and there were no available surfaces anyway. As we began our ascent, the Delta safety video featuring ALF and other lovable 80's characters played, and I threw my hoodie over my head, settling into my 3 seat paradise. I wondered about that plane hookup app Wingman and if any of the people on the plane were attempting to alleviate the pain of a 6 hour flight with it. I was thinking I'd prefer a more cuddle based app, or maybe not, as I valued my open seats.
As I began to surreptitiously operate my e-cigarette under the hoodie, the cheerful and surely former cheerleader flight attendant offered me generous portions of blanket, peanuts, and coffee. I enjoyed these items for several mouthfuls, all the while listening to my favorite Arcade Fire cover song on repeat. I had tried the Delta music channel for Alt Rock, but was dismayed to hear Uptown Girl on the playlist, which then turned me off from all of their stations. I fixed up my iPad to buy some wifi and then discovered that it was 30 dollars for the day, or a more affordable 23 dollars for 3 hours. That was the information that led me to put a pen in my hand and change my iPod playlist to Mumford & Sons, which isn't cool or new. It is considerably less upsetting than Delta's playlist, but not entirely satisfying.
As I continued to write and surreptitiously cape under my hoodie, the kindly flight attendant flicked on my overhead light so I didn't ruin my eyes, surely infuriating the 15 people I counted around my 3 seat paradise who were trying to sleep, but it did allow me to write in more comfort. And, since my eyes were still under the hoodie, I was not blinded by the light's extreme brilliance.
As Hopeless Wanderer comes up on my Mumford playlist, I must now bid you adieu, as my hand is cramping and I need another thimbleful of coffee, or roughly 7 peanuts to continue my day. And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll have a bit of a lie down.
Working in marketing and data analysis, I explore the relationships between people and media regarding their culture, social life, political influence, historical significance, and technological contexts.