Flying Over I-95 S. So With Hopper.

Best day of the week?  Friday. Friday afternoon. Doesn’t matter how backed up traffic is on I-95 North, Home is no more than 45 minutes away.  Nothing, I mean, Nothing will jam up this vibe. Nothing will impede the start of the Great Unwinding. The seat is reclined a wee bit. The A/C beats back the 86° F mid-August heat. Home, home in minutes.

Best day of the week?  Friday. Friday afternoon. Except when you’re on I-95, heading the wrong way, heading South to LaGuardia Airport.

A working weekend. A long week, getting longer, and blurring into the week after.

Baggage check. A line snaking through the ropes waiting to pass Security. The listless, iron backed chairs in the waiting area. The rush to board. The hopeless prayer for an empty seat next to you to stretch out.  “Drink Sir?” Weary flight attendants forcing smiles with their offers of pretzels and tasteless shortbread cookies – and then, they hawk their gourmet sandwiches tightly shrink wrapped in plastic. “No thanks to that.” A three and a half hour flight that feels like five.  The interminable wait for your luggage to slide onto the conveyer in baggage claim. The 35 minute ride to the hotel, hoping the cabbie will let you sit in silence. The wait for Room Service. The unpacking of the suitcase. A glance in the shower. That would be nice. Too tired, the shower is reduced to a splash of cold water from the sink. Room service arrives. You sit on edge of the bed in front of the TV, a fork in one hand, the remote in the other, clicking by all News (real, fake or otherwise). A Kit-Kat calls out to you from the mini-bar. And then the M&Ms. Laying flat on your back, you float with your eyes closed, savoring the sugar high as the smooth milk chocolate coats your tongue. And then, only then, you let go, Salzberg’s letting go, it’s an inside job, and you let exhaustion sweep you away to your alarm for the Uber pick-up at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.
[Read more…]

Morning Commute (Pretty sure I could be either driver; < 24 Sec)

VOLUME UP!

VOLUME UP!

Good times never seemed so good!


Some Country. Some Day. Happy Birthday!

bale-hay

Excerpts from Bob Greene’s: If You Think the U.S. Is Divided and Ugly, Hit the RoadThe beauty of our country as seen from a car window on the 12½-hour drive from New York to Chicago.

…The night before…a former long-haul truck driver who’d told me he hankered to see the Great Lakes again—and asked what were the chances he’d be willing to drive straight from Manhattan to Illinois. He said sure; we worked out a price.

By 8 a.m. we were on the road. You know how divided this country is reputed to be? How ugly things allegedly are? Here’s a suggestion: Cross the United States by road this summer. Take a good look out your window. The country itself is pretty swell—beautiful and vibrant and full of small surprises. We, who live here, may do everything we can to screw things up, but our mutual home brims with moments of random loveliness.

On a busy street corner in Newark, N.J., a mother protectively clutched her daughter’s hand as they waited to cross. In eastern Pennsylvania, the soaring, craggy rock formations by the highway sent a silent message: We were here before you were born and we’ll be here after you are gone. Driving over the Delaware River, with the splendor of the famed Delaware Water Gap below, we caught the first magnificent sight of the Pocono Mountains—and those trees, all those breathtaking miles of ancient trees. Who could ever count them? An impossible task.

In large cities life can seem crowded and claustrophobic. In rural Pennsylvania the overwhelming sensation was of how much open space America still has to offer: the room, if we choose, to spread out, to free ourselves from barking over each other’s shoulders. What must life here have been like before the telephone, before television, before the internet, when people didn’t have thousands of angry and disembodied voices—the voices of strangers—barraging them every day, stirring them up? When the voices they heard belonged, in the main, to their neighbors?… [Read more…]

Flying Over I-95 N. All Oversized. (Part III of III)

airplane-seat-fly

6:31 am.

I’m walking, my oversized shoes slap on the industrial carpet. Mr. Dandy is somewhere behind me.  My crumpled and oversized J. Crew Chino’s uncomfortably sag off my a**.  And, I’m dragging this bitch of a carry-on with its shrieking left wheel ricocheting its echo up and down the jetway.

I catch a faint mix of Purell hand sanitizer and sweat. The Purell is me, no doubt – the other half, just can’t be me. I crane my neck down to confirm, and it’s confirmed.  As I lift my head back up, I catch another shot, must be from the winter coat two bodies ahead.

I’m undeterred by all of this, beaming with good fortune – a complimentary upgrade to first class.

She’s behind me, but I don’t see her.

I stuff my bag into the overhead bin, and step out of the aisle to let the traffic pass.  She points to the window: “I’m sorry, but that’s my seat.”

In the tight quarters of the aisle, we are separated by inches. She’s in her mid to late 20’s.   She’s wearing jeans, and a baggy red sweater.  She’s an inch or two shorter, but I’m dwarfed by her, by a minimum of 1.3x my body weight.  She settles in her seat. [Read more…]

Flying Over I-95 N. With Mr. Dandy. (Part II of III)

airport-planes-aerial

I’m sitting, at the gate. 6 am.

Slumped in the seat, I unstrap the day-to-moment: alarm, bleary-eyed 4 am shower, the pack-up, the last once-over of the room, the tip for the cleaning lady, the hotel checkout including erasure of the $18.95 wifi overcharge, tip for the bellman, cab, boarding pass, security and of course, the slow march down the corridor with the bag. The bloody bag, wheels now up, exhausted from the trek, is resting peacefully.

Sigh. It’s ok.

I twist in the ear buds, find Today’s Chill playlist and turn inward, deep into the Head.

30 minutes till boarding.

There’s a stir in the waiting area. Ladies chattering.

Hair gelled and swept back. Fitted black sport coat. White starched shirt. Skinny black tie. Slim fit, boot cut, stone-washed jeans. European style boots, fine polish. Accessorized with a smart brown leather case, Louis Vuitton-like with a fancy French handle like Porte-Documents Jour. As he passes by check-in, there’s a whiff of Tom Ford oud wood eau de perfume which fills the waiting area with its rose wood, cardamom, and tonka bean alchemy. Ladies swoon, now fully under the spell.

He takes the empty seat next to me, and sets the Porte-Documents Jour neatly on his lap.

I slide my bag under the seat, out of sight. Jesus. Mr. Dandy had to sit here? [Read more…]

Flying Over I-95 N. With Wheels Up (Part I of III)

runway-plane-airport

Shoes are slapping on the high gloss waxed floors.  It’s 5 am. I’m walking down wide corridors, the same corridors where an hour earlier the cleaner worked his canvas in his blue starched shirt with its corporate logo on the right pocket, his dark navy pants, his work boots pumpin’ the gas-brake pedals of the industrial floor waxer. MLK, if a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. Michelangelo was here. He was.

Airports. The only thing clean, are its floors, and to a high sheen.

I’m dragging my beat-up carry-on to the gate, its left wheel handicapped from birth, and wailing the same suffering pitch for six or seven years as if stabbed with a knife at each turn of the wheel. You think nothing of spending hundreds for the latest gadget upgrade, but when it comes to luggage…

And the whispering starts.

Mother with toddler. Honey, tuck in here next to me. Cover your ears until that poor old man passes. I know, it hurts.

Retired Couple. Oh, Sam, look at him. He can’t afford new luggage. Should we ask him if he needs a few dollars to buy some WD-40? [Read more…]

Walking: Just to be, and soak it in, rather than conquer it and tick a box

david-gray

FOLLOWING I don’t follow anything or anybody online; neither am I subscribed to any online magazines. I think I’m just too old and set in my ways for Twitter, etc. I still care about manners, spelling and punctuation, for Christ’s sake. Watching my kids and their intense relationship with the online world, I can see that it’s just a totally different mind-set; a different way of being even.

WALKING. These days my favorite pastime is to just go for a walk and if it’s out in the wilds, then all the better. Recent trips have included the Isle of Skye, the North Cornish coast and the Lake District, all of which were spectacular. It’s about taking your time to traverse rather than just climb a mountain and come back down again. Sometimes you climb up a mountain and find a tiny little lake, a weird little ecosystem with its dragonflies buzzing around. You just spend some time in this strange, magical spot. Just to be, and soak it in, rather than conquer it and tick a box. That’s my approach.

~ David Gray, from “Download by Kate Murphy” (New York Times Nov 26, 2016)

 


Notes:

  • Photo: Digitaltrends
  • If you’ve never heard of David Gray (what planet have you been residing on), check out his classic hit: Babylon

How reassuring! How desperate!

HiroharuMatsumoto_photography-02-alone-loneliness

I boarded a flight at Kennedy Airport in New York. There were HSBC ads in the jet bridge. I flew for 24 hours to the bottom of the world. There were HSBC ads in the jet bridge…

I left a country, the United States, in the midst of an election campaign. I arrived in a country, Australia, in the midst of an election campaign…

I had a cappuccino before I left. There was a cute heart shape traced in the foam. Next to the Sydney Opera House, familiar from photographs, I had a cappuccino. There was a cute heart shape traced in the foam…

From my window in Brooklyn Heights I watch joggers at water’s edge, some with dogs or infants in strollers…From my Sydney hotel window I gaze at an urban landscape similarly transformed. I watch joggers at water’s edge. They wear the same gear. They use the same devices. They are into wellness in the same way.

I lose myself in the silvery play of moonlight on water. Where on earth am I? I have traveled a long way through time zones over a vast ocean to find myself in the same place. My Twitter feed looks the same. My Facebook friends have not changed. My little universe with all its little excitements and aggravations is still at my fingertips. My bills are maddeningly accessible. Through an immense displacement nothing has been left behind. Even in another hemisphere I contemplate my life from the same angle. People argue about climate change and same-sex marriage and jobs and immigration, as if the world is now a place where everyone discusses the same thing…

In his great poem “The City,” C.P. Cavafy wrote that: “As you’ve wasted your life here, in this small corner, you’ve destroyed it everywhere else in the world.” We never escape our own skins, nor our lives lived to this point, however far we go in search of escape. But today’s trap, fashioned through technology, is of a different nature. The homogenization of experience is also an insidious invitation to conform.

Experience, like journalism, withers without immersion in place. At some level, the truly lived moment involves the ability to get lost — lost in a conversation, or in the back alleys or Naples, or in silence, or in the scents and inflections of a new city. There is no greater thrill than being lost in this way because self is left behind, a form of liberation.

Yet a world is taking form that wants you never to be lost, never to feel displaced, never to be unanchored, never to be unable to photograph yourself, never to stand in awe before mystery, never to exit your safety zone (or only in managed fashion), never to leave your life behind: a world where you travel for 24 hours to your point of departure.

How reassuring! How desperate!…

So I am somewhere else after all. Surely I am. I wake at night, sleep by day, and find myself altogether lost in translation.

~ Roger Cohen, excerpts from Australia or Anywhere


Photo: Hiro Harumatsumoto via Ignant.de

To Find The Wild Within

If you have not visited, Go. JUST GO.

…All in the court of her majesty, Mother Nature. She chose this place to erect her monuments…


Young as the Morning, Old as The Sea


I wanna lay by a lake in Norway, I
I wanna walk through Swedish fields of green
I wanna see the forests of Finland, I
I wanna sail on a boat on the Baltic sea

I wanna fell the rushing winter, I
I wanna go to my Polish grandmother’s home
I wanna see Hungarian lanterns, I
I wanna woke on a road that leads to Rome

I wanna be free as the winds that blow past me
Clear as the air that I breath
Young as the morning
And old as the sea

I wanna lose myself in the Scottish highlands
the west coast of Ireland
the Cornish breeze

I wanna rest my bones in the Spanish sunshine
the Italian coastline is calling me
to be free as the birds that fly past me
light as the fish in the sea
to be wise as the mountains
and tall as the trees

I wanna be sunny and bright as a sunrise
happy and full as the moon
I’m flinching like fireworks fading too soon

~ Young as the Morning Old as the Sea, Passenger (Mike Rosenberg)


Notes:

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