My parents came with me to the airport and I cried in McDonalds. There. I have feelings. Shut up.
There were two options for flying into New York on the date I wanted. To avoid a massive airport stopover, I went the long way. On the flight from Melbourne to Dubai I was sitting next to a chatty and strangely attractive ginger man* who, considering I never got his name, is now known in my memory only as ‘Big Ginge.’
Big Ginge: ‘So are you staying in Dubai or moving on?’
Me: ‘Moving on. Heading to New York.’
Big Ginge: ‘Hey, me too! You been there before?’
Me: ‘Nah. You?’
Big Ginge: ‘Once, a few years back. I’m meeting my girlfriend over there, she’s pretty excited.’
Strangely it was at this point I lost all interest in talking to Big Ginge. He slept most of the flight anyway. He’s a drooler, which means it never would’ve worked out between us. I’m a drooler too, so if we had babies, with our combined genetics they’d probably drown in their sleep. And be ginger.
On the second flight a miracle occurred. For the first time in my life I actually fell asleep on a plane. Not that weird half asleep/half awake kind of sleep, but actual, proper sleep. This lasted for about half an hour before I woke to the sound of a screaming child. He was travelling with his father, and I think the problem was that he wanted his mum. I came to this conclusion from the number of times he yelled ‘I want my mum.’ We all want our mum, kid. Just cry in McDonalds like a normal person.
Then came JFK airport, where the passport control guy knew Melbourne and wanted to know who my football team was. I said ‘Essendon’ because I wasn’t sure if it was ok or not to say ‘Go Bombers!’ in an airport.
Next stop was the taxi rank. A friend of mine went to New York in the middle of 2011 and warned me that the cab drivers have a death wish. I was told of running red lights, changing lanes at high speeds without looking and all kinds of horror stories. I assumed she was exaggerating. She wasn’t. For a while there I thought I’d paid thousands of dollars and flown for 30 hours just to die in a cab. May we never speak of it again.
I arrived at the hotel with all limbs still attached and an extreme hunger in my belly. I went up to my room, turned on the TV and opened the shutters on the window. It was dark outside, and there was just a bunch of buildings out there, but I still thought it was amazing. Then I realised there was a window in my tiny bathroom. I had to stand in the shower base to open it, but outside that window was the Empire State Building. I stood in the shower for god knows how long looking at that building lit up all sexy in the darkness, waiting for the novelty to wear off. It didn’t. But dammit, I was hungry.
This is the view from my window. Look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t spend a night standing fully clothed in a shower for that.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous about going outside when it was dark. It didn’t help that there was a report on the news about how the murder rate was down in 2012. I know it sounds like a positive, but they were really happy that ‘only’ 414 homicides were committed in New York that year. That’s approximately 1.3 people a day. I’m one person. That means in a day they could murder me and then some. No thank you, sir. I think I’ll stay in my shower and eat the chocolate biscuits I packed in my suitcase.
Stay tuned for part two, which will cover things that happened when I finally left the shower.
*first time for everything…?