Summer in the City

A mini journalism scandal erupted not long ago when a sports reporter wrote a story about a game he didn’t attend – I don’t remember the details because frankly I thought two things: 1) it was a minor infraction from a well-respected writer and it did not involve any intended deception or fabrication. I think it was more a matter of going with the advance lineup and not hearing about a substitution, or something like that. And 2) I would never do anything like that, even in a pinch. Weeeelll, maybe not, but I came close enough to see how it could happen.

Last night, sitting at home on the left coast, I thought I’d get a head start on today’s blog entry. I figured I knew pretty much how my trip would be, what kind of reception I’d get at this end, so why not write the draft and then edit in a few details if need be and post? It would just take a few minutes that way, and I was bound to be tired.

This is what I wrote last night:

Thanks to JetBlue’s new nonstop service from Burbank to New York, I was spared the hassle of getting to, and through, Los Angeles’ main airport (LAX for short). My flight left at 7 AM, a tad early, even for me who usually arises around 6. My husband was kind enough to drive me to Burbank and we left the house at 5:30 — those of you who know him well know that we arrived in no-time flat. Security was thorough, but less uptight than at LAX, and I had plenty of time for a cup of Starbucks to rev my own engines.

The flight was smooth and I spent the time thumbing through a 400+ page catalogue of the Luther Henderson archives that I will be visiting tomorrow, and at the recommendation of Rifftides, reading The Shadow of the Wind, which I had ordered a few weeks ago and had been saving for this trip.

New Yorkers typically escape the city on summer weekends, and I knew that arriving at JFK on a Sunday afternoon would mean a lot of traffic heading back into the city. Luckily, the taxi fares from JFK into the city are flat rate, and the cab was air conditioned.

I’m not sure who was happier to see me, my mom or Django, who, though four-footed and only 25 pounds, is perfectly capable of knocking me over. (Dad’s still on tour in Europe.) I am posting this from my parent’s living room, using my mom’s computer and cable modem as the library with free wifi is closed on Sundays.

So there you have it. I have arrived and will be blogging from New York for the next two weeks.

And this is what really happened on the way to the airport:
My husband wanted to leave at 5:30 and I was running a few minutes late, no big deal. We got about 3 blocks from home and I realized I forgot my glasses, so back we went. Still nothing to really worry about, with my husband behind the wheel, we only live about 15 minutes from the airport (20 when I drive). We’re cruising along, traffic light and moving swiftly….until we rounded the bend onto the Golden State Freeway and everything came to a complete stop. Nothing was moving at all, and we couldn’t see what was causing the problem. It was five minutes before six, my flight was at seven, and I had luggage to check. I turned on the radio, couldn’t find the traffic report, and realized that it didn’t matter what the cause was — nothing was moving. I got on my cell phone and calmly called the airline to see if there is a later flight, which there was, but showing only one seat open. Should I grab it? I asked about LAX, still not awake enough to remember that Jet Blue does not fly out of LAX. “Four seats on the 10:30 out of Long Beach” the lady was saying just as a few cars began to inch forward. I said “thank you” and hung up. Just a minute longer and the traffic was moving as if nothing had happened. I don’t know whether that got my adrenaline going or stopped my heart. We pulled up to the terminal at ten minutes past the hour, I checked my bag, got through security, and as I apporached the gate, they announced boarding. No Starbucks. Thankfully, the flight was smooth and uneventful. I got throughthe first 300 pages of the archives catalogue, but I haven’t started reading The Shadow of the Wind yet.

My husband always teases me about being outgoing; he says I can get on a elevator and know everybody’s life story before we get to the lobby. He’s right,and I say that you never know who you’ll meet. Just yesterday we hired a building contractor to repair our roof – I met the contractor while on jury duty last year; he had been talking about his company and I liked what I heard and took down his number. I didn’t have any jobs in mind, but you just never know. Anyway, waiting on a long line to get a cab from JFK Airport, I got into a conversation with a fellow ex-New Yorker/California transplant. In a sleeveless tee-shirt and blue shoes, he didn’t look like a litigation attorney, and he had sense of humor, too. Turned out his destination was within about four blocks of where I was headed so we shared a taxi and exchanged email addresses — you never know when you’ll need a good lawyer. The taxi was air-conditioned, but the traffic wasn’t bad at all.

My reception was as anticipated, but now it’s after midnight and I am using my own laptop connecting to the Internet via telephone modem. I never could have imagined today’s events, so it’s a good thing I didn’t post last night’s pre-written account. “One never knows, do one?”