Things I learn at 3:30am: I am not invincible.
Biking to the train station with my carry on is, as predicted, an insurmountable task. I call a taxi to my apartment. The operator tells me one will arrive momentarily. Ten minutes pass. No cab. I panic. I sprint four blocks to Phelps gate, bags in tow. A cab finally arrives. I make it to Union Station with 8 minutes to spare.
Things I learn at 4:30am: There’s a surprising number of bankers talking the 4:11 train with me. The 60-year old man next to me doesn’t mind that I lean on him as I struggle to fall back asleep.
Things I learn at 5:45am: Riding the bus in Manhattan is just as bad as I thought it would be. Inserting the metro card into the reader is just like inserting a vagabond USB cable into an unruly slot. I’ve been trying to squeeze it in every angle possible for the last 40 seconds, with three ‘helpful’ passengers telling me just exactly what I am doing it wrong. I’m pretty sure I just embarrassed myself in front of the entire M60 bus.
Things I learn at 6:00am: I’m back in Queens. It’s the borough where I’ve made the most memories over my last two years worth of weekends in New York. I always get pangs of longing passing over Astoria Boulevard. The rain is really coming down now. In just under 4 hours, it will be 90˚ and sunny. For now, it’s 46˚ with a chance of thunderstorms.
Things I learn at 7:30am: My flight has been delayed. It’s been delayed three times in the last hour. I’ve managed to avoid most airport food, but this $3 cup of tea is doing very little aside from keeping me caffeinated.
Things I learn at 10:00am: My flight is still delayed. It’s been two hours since I was supposed to depart and I am still in the airport nursing the same stale cup of Earl Grey tea. We won’t be in the air until noon, and I’ve already been awake for six hours. Morale is low.
Things I learn at 10:45am: I’ve now shed bitter tears in front of the Delta check-in attendant. My flight is canceled and I’m not rebooked until the next day. To the left of me a woman is yelling because her first class ticket trip to New Orleans has been rebooked as Economy to Detroit. Behind me, there is a man cursing under his breath. I feel you, old man. I’m right there with you.
Things I learn at 11:30am: Tears and politeness can get you out of any jam. I manage a miraculous booking through Miami (Dalé!) that will land me in the Big Easy around 6pm, only 7 hours after I was meant to land there. Being in the air after this morning’s debacle is strangely comforting, even if I’m quite sure that the old man sitting next to me has Russian prison tattoos on his knuckles
Things I learn at 4:00pm: Mojitos make everything better. Life in Miami is beautiful and my seat to New Orleans is confirmed.
This morning started out slightly disastrous. I overslept my 3:00am alarm clock and almost missed my train, because some part of my brain kept telling me that waking up at 3am was unnatural (rightfully so). I expected my M60 experience to be the worst part of the day. Boy, was I wrong. The day proved much, much more eventful than I could have expected. But I will be arriving in the Big Easy in a few hours in one piece and in the end, that is all that matters.