29 December 2005

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Finally-the day is here to go to New York!

I got up at a decent time to finish my last minute errands. I still had to make it to the bank. Yeah, that definitely didn't go as planned. It was all good until I got back into my car. I checked all my blind spots (as always) and started to back up. Thump. Shit! Yep. I backed into some lady's car. She parked just in my blind spot-not in a parking space, but in the actual lot where you drive through. I was pissed because I marked up my bumper pretty bad-hopefully some good old touch up paint will fix it right up. It is really only a few small scratches that could be buffed out and one or two that need touch up paint...no biggie I guess.

I got to my friend's house around 1400. We were dropped off at the train station for our 1535 train. We got out of the car and headed towards the warming house. By this time I had already realized that I overpacked, and that my suitcase probably wasn't going to last. Same for my friend-his luggage strap tore off the bag as we walked into the station; not a good way to start off a trip. We got onto the train. A very uneventful ride later, we were at Union Station in downtown Chicago. We walked the few blocks to the orange line EL train (elevated train). We were both exhausted and we still had a way to go before we could chill out. Halfway to the EL my friend's bag lost another strap. Yeah-hopefully not any premonition as to how this trip is going to finish out.

We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Our flight was on time and rather uneventful as well. I was already wigging out because I hate airplanes. I had a really bad experience when I was 16. I took a flight to Florida and there was a lot of turbulence. I was already convinced by this time that I was going to die because when we left Atlanta the plane started to smell like something was burning. All of the sudden the lights shut off, the captain was yelling over the intercom at the flight attendants, and our oxygen masks came down. I swore I would never fly again. So much for that.

Anyways, I freaked out when we took off and landed. The rest was a piece of cake. By the time we looked at some photos on my laptop and watched 20 minutes of "Ladder 49" we were starting to descend. Yeah! Long Island here I come. We had finally landed at Islip airport.

For some reason when we picked up our luggage my friend's duffel bag was now missing the other strap-the final one. He had to carry it like a hotel pack to get it out to the car. That sucks.

We didn't reserve a car before hand. Big mistake. Hertz only had one car left by the time we got there, so we ended up with a Toyota Matrix. Not only did we not need a big car-it cost quite a bit more than the smaller cars that are usually available. Oh well. At least our feet were back on the ground. It was rather late by the time we got everything handled and got on our way for real. I think we landed around 2200 CST (so 2300 New York time).

I was introduced to the Long Island rudeness right off the bat. We stopped at a diner to grab a bite before we headed off to where we were staying. The waitress was a real piece of work. And I caught the Long Island accent for the first time. We drove around for a while in my friend's old town of West Islip. Then we headed towards our deluxe accommodations. I had never been there before, but as soon as I saw the building I knew we were in for a real treat.

We unloaded the car and headed towards the front doors. One was broken-sticking out of the door frame. The other was still on the hinges, but propped open. There were newspapers piled up in a corner. There were burn marks in the elevator ceiling. We got off on the third floor. I knew which apartment it was as soon as we got off the elevator. The door had a target on it with Osama Bin Laden on it-all shot up. Home sweet home (for the next few days at least). Tony let us in right away and then went right back to his couch. I looked over at him. There he is lying on the couch. On the top of the couch, propped against the wall-a shotgun. Great... He got up to give us the grand tour. He also had us make note of our room. He lifted up my pillow-another gun-a hand gun. He then lifted up the pillow on the other side of the bed-big surprise-another handgun. Tony said, "I put one under each pillow just in case you want to shoot each other." Really funny Tony.

Then he started with another story-long winded as usual :). He told us about a lizard that he got the day before Christmas from a lady down the hall. Someone got it for her son for Christmas but she wouldn't allow it, so Tony decided to take it in. In the corner by the TV was a wire cage with food and water in it...a little odd for a lizard, but Tony must not be considered the most "normal" person one would meet. He traipsed around the apartment yelling "Egore, where the f*** are you? You son of a bitch!" Okay then... He said not to worry. He'll turn up. The last time he disappeared for a few days, but he woke up one morning and the lizard was sitting on his chest in bed. Great-that's what I have to look forward to.

The whole lizard story turned out to be a stupid joke. The cage was from a pigeon he kept as a pet at one time-but he was really playing it up putting food and water in the dishes. Ha...

We threw both of the guns that Tony gave us under the bed-we figured it was probably better that way. There was some minor ruckus in the hallway (the cops had already been there once today), we unpacked what we could and went to bed. Interesting start, but it can only get better-Right???


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