Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Old Lady of the East

We left the house early the morning of January 30.  The cold bit at our noses as we pulled our luggage out of the trunk at the airport, foreshadowing our future travels down the the mercury. We found a security checkpoint with a suspiciously short line.  I slid off my shoes while watching Kristin struggle to unsheathe her laptop.  She realized at that moment that she had taken her previous ease of security checkpoint passage for granted, sans laptop, and cursed me under her breath for suggesting she smuggle that hardware.  We didn't know it yet, but there was no need to hurriedly prep for the security rites.  A man in chef pants snaked through the line, pulling a pallet of frozen atrocities.  Ice dusted chicken fingers, stiff mozzarella sticks, and blocks of cheese.  We were to spend the next 5 minutes watching chicken tenders and the like slowly pass under the xray machines.

Bags were checked, coffee was imbibed, and I dropped into a makeshift airport salon to get some work done on my bangs by a lady called Rhonda.  She asked me where we were heading.  "Egypt? Why you wanna go thur?" she said while staring down her crumpled bag of Lays Original chips that lay discretely on the vanity next to the clippers.  I knew the situation.  Really, you can never eat just one, and here I was getting my hair cut by a woman that very well could be on the brink. Hypothetically, if she had eaten one Lays potato chip, then could she find the strength to focus on the task at hand?   Would her mind simply fiendishly vacillate from hair to chips and back at such a rate that she accidentally stabs me in the eye with her shears?  The suspense cut our engagement short, as I waved her off after a few minutes.  After the trim we traveled to the restrooms and walked by her again on our way back to gate c16.  She was fist deep in the bag, shoveling lays down her throat like a humpback putting back plankton.

It was finally time to board again.  Hard to imagine it has been 5 months since last blasting into the sky.  We shuffled onto our 11am flight to La Guardia, where we would be staying with the Connecticut Chapter of the Delaney Empire.  My godfather, Uncle Mark, met us upon our disembarkation.  He shuttled us to his home in Stamford, where we prepared for a feast at Telluride.

After dining at Telluride on calamari, empanadas, scallops, and amish chicken wrapped in prosciutto, Kristin, my cousin Mike, and I hit the train station.  Armed with tickets to grand central, gloves, scarves, and a 12 pack of Sam Adams Noble Pils, we boarded the 8:47 to New York.  The 45 minute commute from Stamford to the city is a precursor to a night out, and people generally bring beverages and discuss plans en route.  I was told that it is easier to meet girls on the train than in a bar. When we board, an ambassador of the strange immediately greets us.  This guy oozed randomosity from his tongue, hardly pausing between bizarre questions or statements.  We could tell by the general vibe of shoulder shrugs and eye rolls in the railcar, that our fellow passengers had been ordealing under his tenure of remarks for some time.  He asks Kristin,  “Hey have you guys ever heard of South by Southwest?”  “It is like the Disneyland of music.”  "What about oberammergau" "They do the passion play there."  With that, his dart to Michael, "Hey man, what did you major in?"  Mike firmly states, "Economics..." To which, our new friend replies, "No way man, do you know how we can fix the economy?"  And the questions would continue.  We were asked where we got our news, if we used postcards, our feelings about Nebraska, matt groening, etc.  I sat there unscathed in the shadow of his blind spot.  The situation felt like a cross between modern general stream of consciousness and an elaborate marketing survey.  The gentlemen across the row from us were on their way to a Jersey Shore party, and one of them was sporting a headband.  The maniac asked if the headband had an effect on phrenology and then asked where they were heading.  The headbanned youth replies, "An 80s tennis party, I am going as John McEnroe." The response:  "Awsome!  Have you ever played virtual boy?"  This type of thing goes on for 45 minutes.  I will present herewith the highlights of this feral human.  Born in the midwest, he was banned from drinking alcohol by the U.S. government.  Government officials visited his hospital room after a considerably dangerous bender and made him sign away his drinking rights.  Later in the madness, he is arrested for disturbing the peace when he arrives at his mother's Homeowners Association Meeting wielding a samurai sword and refusing to put out his cigarette.  Below is a picture of the madman and Kristin.

When we finally arrive in New York, we check into our Times Square hotel and then head towards the Comedy Cellar.  The Comedy Cellar is a famous comedy club in Greenwich Village where several famous comedians got their start.  It is an old school dingy underground place with low lighting and a vintage feel.  You can really feel the history in the air.  Comedians like Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock show up occasionally unannounced to try out new material, and most of the guests we saw were recognizable from tv and movies.  We met up with my good friend, Dan, his fiance Lisa, and Magoo at a bar above the cellar before heading down for the 11:00 show.  The show was amazing, and my favorite guy was James Smith, a comedian who appears on Flight of the Conchords.  Dave Attell also performed and was hilarious.  I realized mid-show that I had lost my scarf, but since it happened during a segment in which the comedian was discussing the femininity of scarves, it hardly bothered me as much as it should have.   Seriously, if you are ever in New York, and want to have some laughs, definitely check out the comedy cellar.  After the show, we hit a bar on the Upper East Side and then retired to our hotel.

The weather in NYC was maybe in the single digits.  I had never been so cold in my entire life.

The next morning, we walked with Mike to Grand Central, and then took a stroll up 5th Avenue.  We stopped and took some pictures, ate a few slices at one of the 50 restaurants call "Ray's," and finally gave up when our legs went numb from the cold.  We sat in Grand Central huddled for warmth and sipped on some piping hot chocolate out of a styrofoam cup while we waited for our train back to Stamford.  Tonight, my aunt Anjum cooked us an immense feast and I am about to crash.

 Moments before Departure from Dallas

 Grand Central

 Lady Reading

 Bar above Comedy Cellar

Taking a cab to the upper east side
 Bright Night

A night scene

 Grabbing a snack at 3am



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