Thursday, 5 August 2010

The End of the World


When I looked out of the window as our plane was flying over America, I saw this new, strange horizon. And felt simultaneously lost and home.

::

Finally, our 13-hour flight from Sydney took off on Tuesday. Just before it did, the pilot announced "Sorry folks, we are having a few circuit problems in the cockpit."

Which is obviously all that filled my mind for, oh, 13 hours. Every dip, piece of turbulence, every shudder. Every time the seatbelt light came on, I braced for the crash. I asked hon, "Hon, you know in the Road Runner cartoons? When Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff for a while and is hanging there in the air, holding up a sign saying HELP and then plummets? This is what flying feels like for me. It's just not natural."

Dave asks me do I ever give myself a break - no, I don't. I'm Kevin in Parenthood, freaking about his lost retainer. The more I grow up the more I realise how my anxiety has been a constant my entire life.

Finally, I called the stewardess over and point-blank asked her:

"Oh hi. Are there still circuit problems in the cockpit? Did the pilot notice a problem and just say, stuff it, and he took off anyway, and now he's going to kill all the people?"

I actually said that to her. Dave almost went purple. She's all, ma'am, it's fine. Can I get you a drink to calm your nerves?

Now THAT would have been a really bad idea.

::

We landed in San Francisco, sans flowers in our hair. We had time to kill ..... eight frickin' hours, actually. Got talking to a local and she told us to catch the BART into town. So we did, jet-lagged, crumbly, bone-weary.

It was like toy-town - everything is a prop and nothing looks real. Here's Dave next to the Golden Gate bridge .... it didn't seem very golden though. Maybe it was just my frame of mind.

We passed a growers market! Thay have those back in Australia too. All the people and colours and sounds, all new. We were delirious, trying to prop each other up.

Back at SFO airport, Dave and I had a stupid tiff - I wanted to buy a bottle of water but he wanted to walk straight to the gate. I stopped to buy water so he walked off in a huff. Then we both lay down on the seats, spread out, sleeping. I did not care by this stage ..... most other travellers looked alert, perky. We were not.

Five hour flight to JFK airport - man it felt long. We had been travelling for three days straight by then, so over it, second-guessing the whole trip. How could I leave my boys? (I have a whole nailbiting post brewing on THAT.)

We get off the plane, get our bags - no transfer ready. That's ok. It's 1'o'clock in the morning by this stage. A big tall scary dude pushed forward and told us he'd take us. So we went with him - Dave went to get into the drivers side of the car. The guy drives like a maniac, I'm in the back, suddenly realising we're not even in a proper taxi. Just some random dude who talks like he's on speed - talking about how humans have fucked up this planet and we're going to have to go live on another one.

He and Dave talk cars for a while, I'm looking at all the cars and noise and buildings, FREAKING. Trying to read the road signs, for when the cops ask us after our robbery.

But he didn't rob us! And we drove through Times Square ..... oh holy Arkansas Toto. Like the lights of Kings Cross in Sydney, magnified by 1000.

Finally we were at our hotel. Walked in .... and checked in. Oh, we WOULD have checked in, but they had overbooked. We had prepaid almost 2 months ago. It was now 2am in the morning. I said to the guy, "Are you fucking serious??"

There were a lot of other people stranded, just standing there. I was pretty much done, now. So pissed. He could tell - Dave told me it was ok, I said, no, no it's not ok, it's fucking atrocious. The manager HID from me while this poor guy gave me taxi money and a voucher for another hotel.

I stormed out and cried and cried so hard. Cried in the cab, and I cried checking in to our other hotel. It was 3am, I REEKED of B.O. by this stage. I think I'll throw my top out, so embedded is that smell.
It had all been a huge mistake, the Gods were against us, and I just wanted to go home. There was no food available ..... Dave went straight to sleep but I raged on twitter for a while, cracking open some Tim Tams for dinner. Or breakfast. Angrily. I rang my travel agent back in Oz and fumed, nicely.

Then Dave and I slept for ten hours straight, the cleaner woke us up knocking on the door at 12pm. Kicking us out.

Cab back to first hotel ...... who were falling over themselves to help us. By this stage we'd had no food - not even water. I almost fainted, Dave was so white. Reminded me of when he was on chemo. We came up to our room and drank tap water. Is that safe? Went down to Dean and Deluca .... America, no offence but I need to show you how to make a decent coffee. I don't drink, smoke, or take drugs .... but my God I need proper coffee. One that is roasted and ground and made with care - not filtered or french-pressed or whatever the hell you guys do with it.

Sat there in a daze, looking at all the traffic. It is like we have climbed into our television sets into New York. All the streets are like a movie set - even the shitty little alleyways. People are quick and loud. And so direct! No pussy-footing around, just snappy and to-the-point. I love it. I absolutely love the hell out of it all. I think. Hold me.

Saw this truck, it said "Time. Moving and Storage." Felt like he was moving and storing Time itself. Wouldn't surprise me .... nothing would surprise me in this city.


Dave, in our proper hotel room. Finally!



::

It was so hard to get here ... so hard.

It took me 38 years.

::

I packed four formal dresses, some undies, and a bra. I'm going on the Kodak bus tour tomorrow, and then the Martha Stewart party. Have no idea why I got invited to these, or how to get to any of the places, or what Dave will do. We both need to reclaim our mojo, surrender to it all.

I'll be blogging my way through it ... I can't wait to meet some other bloggers. It will be like a big One Eyed Stamp Collectors of the World Convention ...... except there's no One Eyed Stamp Collectors, only bloggers. I have never met another blogger in the flesh before. I'm strangely not worried about meeting new people at BlogHer this weekend ... probably because bloggers are the best kinds of people.

::

It is 6pm right now .... we are on our way out to buy the biggest steak. Or burger .... some hunk of meat, anyway. Before we do that, I need to buy a completely new outfit. And some laxatives. And tweezers ..... three days of travelling and I have the chin of Chewbacca.

27 comments:

  1. ok first of all, welcome to america.

    now, that was NOT the golden gate bridge. not that the real one is golden anyway, it's more orange. but that was the BAY bridge that connects SF to Oakland. (btw, I would have been happy to come meet you in SF with a proper meal, coffee and a tweezers.)

    now enjoy NY!

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  2. Oh Eden you crack me up! I think the best part of this entry was the laxatives.

    You may find the coffee, or whatever it's called, isn't as strong as ours either.. ask for a triple shot and it'll be a normal one for you :)

    All the best gorgeous girl :)

    - K
    @kathieddies

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  3. I will be hovering by my computer for all the juicy details of your trip.

    God you are going to have a great time!

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  4. Welcome to the East Coast!! It's hot as balls, right? Enjoy your time in NYC ... it's a great city!

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  5. That is a journey. Glad you finally got your room!

    I will see you on the Kodak tour tomorrow. :-)

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  6. So excited to read about your journey! I have been looking forward to this.

    And thanks for reminding me why I never go anywhere.

    :)
    Carrie

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  7. I am laughing my ass off here in Minnesota (but only because I know everything is OKAY) -- in the MIDDLE of the country you've just flown across -- thinking that if there was ever anything that could've gotten me over my intimidation of NY it would be the fact that you were there -- darn pesky eight month olds.

    Martha Stewart! My GOD -- genuflect for me will you?

    I simply can't wait to live vicariously through you!

    I know why you got invited -- girl YOU'RE YOU!


    xoox

    P

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  8. I have a love/hate thing about flying. I've lived through some turbulence that was so bad, I was pretty sure I was going to die. All I could think was, My parents didn't even know I was traveling; won't they be surprised. It's the ultimate surrender. Cold fact: you can't fly the plane from your seat in coach. Your life is in someone else's hands. Or God's hands, if you go for the spiritual approach. Deal with it. If I am meant to bite it, what can I do? And I just give it up. And then the ride's not too bad (as long as the turbulence doesn't kick up). If only I could learn to do this in the rest of my life. I'd be a lot less tense.

    I was holding my breath when you told me you got into a cab that wasn't a cab. I can only imagine what that suspense was like on top of jet lag.

    I think the hard part is over and now the fun begins. You go, Girl.

    XXOO

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  9. Somehow I'm feeling like you + Martha Stewart = implosion of the entire universe. I think it's probably the slow cooker post...

    Sorry your travel was so incredibly crappy. I think every trip needs some kind of issue, so that you can appreciate how fabulous the rest of the trip is.

    I hope you're having a wonderful time and a wonderful steak. I also hope you find some coffee you consider decent, or else you're going to be one cranky lady!

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  10. Oh my goodness, I'm exhausted reading about your trip! I'm so glad you're finally here and somewhat settled. I recently sent my husband a link to your "how to live" post and he's been reading your blog since. Tonight we giggled together as we read about travels. You seriously have a gift - you're just so LOVEABLE! And it shines through in every word you write. :) Now i'm addicted to your twitter... You need to market this stuff.

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  11. Damn. San Francisco! So close but yet not. I'm about 3 hours away from San Francisco but I was also at work all day.
    I'm glad you finally made it there and got a room. The trip sounds exhausting. Hoping you have an absolutely fabulous time.

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  12. hey you were in my town! Luna is right, that is the bay bridge, not the Golden gate. Its a lovely landmark all the same.

    The Golden gate is at the other end of SF. It is't gold either, its a rusty red. Its called the golden gate bridge because the estuary it spans was called the golden gate during the gold rush, it was where the gold was shipped out from. So it is the bridge over the golden gate, and its painted red so it can been seen in the ever present fog.

    And that is your San Francisco lesson for the day! Enjoy NYC!

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  13. Omg Eden, I love your blog, its like I'm there on the plane with you & Dave! It sounds like the start of your trip was absolutely craaaaaaaazy! The rest of your trip is now gonna be awesome & all you dreamed it would be! Missing your gorgeous face in the land of oz! Take care & have heeeeeeeaps of fun babe xxxx
    Ps, throw out that BO top for sure xxxxq

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  14. oh Eden, but you knew already it wasn't going to be smooth sailing right? trial by fire for your big trip to the other side of the world. and I've said the same thing, flying is not natural indeed.
    I'm relieved for you that you made it safe and sound, that you finally got your right hotel (make sure your agent gets you some sort of discount), and order espressos. hope you and Dave discover a great little restaurant just the two of you, tucked away in a charming little side street in lower manhattan. enjoy yourselves and can't wait to hear back from you. love the boots in your pic btw.

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  15. I love you. And I love that you're loving the city, though how fucking hot is it, right now? My hair is HUGE. I'm sort of blaming you because it was downright pleasant last week. I'm gonna email you about our plans.

    xoxox

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  16. I am living vicariously - it is like seeing the city from a completely brand new eye. I hate the travel troubles you've had though - yuck - it is scaring me off my thoughts that I want to go to Australia and New Zealand some day !! Irrational !!

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  17. :-) So glad you made it! Can't stop smiling that I FINALLY met you, after 3 years of stalking you. I mean, admiring you.

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  18. Just got to Edenland and not sure who stamped my passport. This is a great blog Eden and I'm gonna find some time to go through your 'back catalogue'. Let us know when you find some decent coffee and if anyone calls you an 'Aussie' rather than an 'Aus he'. What's with that?

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  19. Oh, Eden. Is is okay that I'm laughing hysterically?

    Glad you made it to NYC, glad you finally made it to your hotel and glad you are blogging about it. I hope you've reclaimed your mojo by now . . .

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  20. Babe - how I wish I was there, right alongside you, bitching about people and acting all touristy.. Enjoy! x

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  21. I fly a lot for work but I hate it. HATE IT. After every take off and every landing I say out loud "Yay, we didn't spontaneously combust". Can you believe that other passengers give me dirty looks?

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  22. Welcome to America! So glad to have you here. Wish you had told us you had a stop-over in SF. I would have showed you the sights! I work not far from that open farmers' market on the Embarcadero.

    Hope you catch up with your sleep and have a wonderful, wonderful visit.

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  23. Just when I think the trial will be over, I read this post and I shake my head in wonder at the calamity that seems to have followed you on your journey so far. But that's all over now! All of that is banished! For you are there now, and things will be wonderful. Don't forget to eat some pie. Pie solves many problems.

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  24. Haha!! The last line was the best! I can so totally relate.

    Hope the trip is going well. Have fun, eat lots, enjoy the sights and sounds of the city!

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  25. Sounds like you are having a blast (reading your tweeds as well). So proud of you for going and taking the bull by the horns. You must be proud of yourself too. Speaking of hairy animals, got to go I've got the cheek if chewbacca!!

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  26. Of chewbacca not if chewbacca....damn gorgeous predictive text on iPhone

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