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Sunday, August 15, 2004

I'm in New York City! Yesterday was abysmal. Well, no it wasn't. It was only awful towards the end. Wait, let me explain. I'm too wired and loopy to document it chronologically.

After dropping Tripoli at Sue and Bill's house, we first made our way to our second Horrorfind in Maryland. Once again, it was awesome, though this time, since we couldn't attend Lou Gentile's presentation (and George Lutz wasn't making a second appearance), I made sure to catch more readings. Joe R. Lansdale did a great reading of some of his lighter works, including Godzilla's 12 Step Program. Which led me to buy two of his books, even though I wasn't planning on spending anywhere near that much money.

From there, things started to get ... well, let me put it this way. At many times in my life, it has seemed like everything is going exactly right. The week I spent in New Orleans with Matt, for instance, was somehow charmed. I couldn't screw anything up. The stars were in perfect alignment, and coincidence and fate were totally in my favor. Yesterday was the yin to those days' yang, keeping the universe in balance. Aside from the heavy rain, brought to us courtesy of Hurricane Charley, we missed turns, took wrong turns, racked up unnecessary tolls, and finally arrived at Newark (intending to park at a free public parking space and take the PATH train to NYC) only to find that the available parking was at least $30 a night. We finally ended up parking at Newark Airport for $10 a night, and catching a bus to the PATH station. When we finally arrived at the hostel about 6 or 7 hours after we set out from Hunt Valley, after catching the wrong subway train and ending up somewhere in Queens, our room had been overbooked. Hurricane Charley had delayed outbound flights, and some of the hostel guests were unable to leave.

At about that point, I lost my cool. I asked for a couch to crash on for the evening at the least, and something about my obvious, near-hysterical desperation probably made the receptionist take pity on us. She pointed us towards the basement, where the maintenance man, a 43yo Colombian named Luis, lives. He welcomed us with open arms, and after hearing me cuss fluently and babble about our terrible luck, gave us a couple of beers, a long conversation and a bed in an unfinished room.

The beers were probably not the best idea in the world, since neither Matt or I had eaten in over 10 hours. We had three each, and, softcocks that we are, we were pretty much hammered. After retiring at around 1:00am, we woke up at 6:15am and we decided to have a bathroom run together. I stood up for about 10 seconds before my head started to swim alarmingly and my stomach flipped. Oh boy. I barely made it into the bathroom; I was so nauseous I couldn't see. Without puking, though, the feeling passed. We used the facilities and made our way back to the room to find that the door had closed behind us and we were locked out.

You see what I mean about fate conspiring against us.

Matt at this point started feeling off as well, but after the color returned to his face, we set to work trying to get back into the room. I guess it took around 30 to 45 minutes before Matt finally worked out how to beat the lock. I was so happy when that happened. It seemed like the first thing we had managed to do right in 24 hours.

But all in all, despite all the crappy drama, and despite me losing my cool, things turned out all right. We have a new friend in Luis, who bonded with us over beer by telling us stories of his incredible, fucked-up life, and his three kids and unfaithful ex-wife back home in Colombia. We had some free beer, and despite the effects, who am I to talk about having a bad day when I had free beer? And we didn't have to pay for accommodation for the night, which is no small thing in Manhattan. It could have been a lot worse. If I hadn't lost my cool, who knows where we would have stayed or what we would have done. Sometimes there's something to be said for freaking out and saying "fuck" profusely and consecutively.

Today was much more according to plan. The finest news of the day is that some idiot has a wireless router around here somewhere, and as a result, we have a lovely, 11 Mbps, completely free-of-charge internet connection in our hostel room. Buying a laptop with a wireless NIC was totally worth it just for the kick I am getting out of this. AHH!! Joy.

We went to Macy's and finally figured out what to do with the $100 credit we have there (Last year, someone bought us an expensive Macy's flatware set as a wedding gift ... despite the fact we explained numerous times to numerous people that we do not need any flatware. And that wasn't the only flatware set we received. What is wrong with people? I mean, I understand that it's the thought that counts, but gah.). We forgot to do any laundry before we left Pennsylvania, so we are short on underwear. No longer!

(Now that we do have plenty of knickers we'll be going three weeks between laundry days, mark my words. It will be disastrous. Our shortage of underwear was the only thing keeping us from creating huge, unmanageable piles of unwashed clothing.)

I think we're going to do nothing for the rest of the evening. Both of us have already seen Manhattan previous to this trip, and the purpose of this vacation was relaxation. There's something oddly calming about coming to a city that is so dizzyingly busy, and deciding to do nothing.

But I'm never driving to NYC again. Never never never. God bless Greyhound buses.
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