02 January 2006

Bottles and Cans

Our last day in New York. That sucks. I woke up this morning to the smell of frying food, and Tony singing at the top of his lungs. It really wasn't what I would call a song, but rather a refrain that never ends; "Bottles and Cans, Cans and Bottles, Bottles and Cans, Bottles and Cans...." It finally quieted down after about twenty or so minutes of this.

We got somewhat of a late start. We wandered a bit throughout the neighborhoods and then we went out to Jones Beach. It is really beautiful there. We walked the boardwalk and took some pictures. Then we went into one of the warming houses to get breakfast. I had my first "egg sandwich." It was good. We walked around a bit more, decided it was way too cold and headed back to Huntington Station.

We thought we were flying out at 2000, but decided to look at the tickets to be sure. It was a good thing because we would have missed our flight-it left at 1830, arriving at Midway at 2000. Oops. We stopped at the place that Tony works at. He basically sorts out bottles and cans- 24 to a case, throws out the ones that the business doesn't sell, packages them onto pallets, totals up the value and gives the customer a receipt. We stood and watched for a while to see exactly what he does everyday because he tells us the oddest stories about it. Now I know that they are true. The people are ridiculous. I never realized how hot of a commodity cans and bottles can be. Some of the people would come back three or four times in one day-making well over $100. It could be a job in itself. I don't know where one would find so many bottles or cans, but what do I know. I throw them away with all my other garbage.

We went back to the apartment to get in a quick nap before we had to go to the airport. Tony returned shortly after we did. Then the grub followed...he knocked on the door and this is what I heard; Grub: "Can I have a cigarette? You know you love me." Tony: "...Yeah, I love you like a retarted son." I just thought that was really funny. The things that pop out of his mouth sometimes are unbelievable.

Our flight ended up running almost 30 minutes late due to weather in Chicago. All was good for the most part. Boarding the plane was okay, and we got seats next to each other. We flew on Southwest Airlines and there it is first come first serve seating. Kind of weird, but it worked out since there were 30 open seats on the flight.

This is where things got bad. The flight attendants started serving drinks, etc. when the captain announced that we might be hitting some turbulence. Okay, not too big of a deal, right? Wrong. Less than five minutes later the captain came back over the intercom, told the flight attendants to stop serving, seal everything up for landing and to get into their seats. It is never good when the captain starts telling the flight attendants what to do. Then I saw a couple of flight attendants with worried looks on their faces whispering to each other. Another flight attendant yelled at a guy sitting behind us because his cell phone was on-he was just playing games. Yeah, that can't be good. Then I figured out why. We started to get into some really bad turbulence. At one point my butt wasn't even on my seat anymore. The whole plane was shaking-I thought for sure that we were going down. This must have lasted for quite a while; I could feel us dropping altitudes to get out of the worst of the storm-the next thing I new we were descending and getting ready to land. Thank God. We had to land using instruments only because it was so foggy.

I heard later from some friends that no flights were allowed to leave Chicago due to the storm and fog. We were one of the only flights that was actually allowed to land-most were forced to land elsewhere and layover until the storm passed.

I was extremely relieved once we hit ground. It scared me at first because by looking out the window I couldn't tell we were landing-it was too foggy. The jolt took me by surprise and my heart jumped into my throat. We had to wait about 20 minutes for our gate to open up-another plane was still in it. While we were sitting on the runway my friend said, "I have to tell you something. I couldn't tell you while we were flying because you were already too scared. I got really bad chest pain that ran into my left arm and I felt like I was going to pass out." I was just like, "Shit. Why didn't you tell me? You need to go to the hospital...this isn't the first time this has happened and we aren't screwing around anymore." He didn't want to go-he said the pain was gone already and he felt fine. Great-so here comes a five hour fight to get him to go to the hospital.

We made our way off the plane and to the baggage claim. The whole way I was trying to convince my friend to go to the hospital. He said, "it's only a little bit of angina-no big deal..." And I responded, rather loudly, "what the hell do you think angina is a F***ing musical?" I got a lot of funny looks-but whatever. I had to do something to convince him to go. He is an EMT and knows perfectly well that chest pain isn't normal. I'm a medic so I thought I would try to explain maybe a little bit more the difference between angina (such as chest pain on exertion that goes away at rest) and true chest pain that is more worrisome-such as pain at rest, radiating to the left arm and jaw, sweating, weakness, etc.

We got onto the EL and ended up getting off at the wrong stop. That is a whole story in itself. I tried to be smart and push my big bag through the little turnstyle and get me, my backpack and laptop through all at once-bad idea. my foot got caught on my bag that was on the ground. My leg pushed the turnstyle so that my other leg was caught. It was all going in slow motion; I was diving head first into the concrete floor over my bags as the turnstyle caught me other leg from below. Yeah. I landed with a huge thud-my glasses flew off my face. I was laughing my ass off- hoping that once I got up I wouldn't be hurting. It turned out to be okay- I had a little bump on my head and I will probably have a few bruises, but it was worth the laughs. The best part was that the lady behind the ticket window didn't even bat an eye at me. She acted like she saw this everyday. Maybe she does.

We had to walk a few blocks to get to Union Station but we made it. My friend was still adamant about not going-I was not giving up my fight. I spoke with him briefly on the train about it and I said I wasn't going to force him. We got to Round Lake, got a taxi, and went back to his house. I threw my luggage in my car. He knew he was defeated when I took the extra effort to get my bags into the back seat of my 2-door car. I got him into the ER and I will tell the rest in my next entry.


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