Cities Visited in 18 Days:
Ft. Worth, TX
New York, NY
Flights Taken: 8
Hours in The Air: 25.5
Number of Bags of Terra Blues Potato Chips Eaten: 7
Drinks Had on Plane:
3 Ginger Ales
4 Bottles of Water
2 Gin and Tonics
Hours of Rachel Zoe Project Watched: 1.5
Cities Visited in 18 Days:
Sept. 24th, 2010
I woke up feeling rather ill, read an old copy of Wired magazine as I tried to get ready for the day. Will Farrell is on the cover. I think about how I totally talked to him. I planned to go to MoMA today, and got a croissant and coffee at Bakeri on the way. I ride the train and read an Alice Munro book on the way, make my transfer to the M, and arrive at MoMA. I have a card that I’m supposed to see if it will get me in, but I’m feeling nervous about trying it and so ask the desk lady if I can get the student rate even though I haven’t an ID card. She lets me in for $12. I like going to museums alone. I like being alone no matter what, and museums are places I really like.
The things I liked the best were two pieces by Yoko Ono, which is very unlike me so I know I must be feeling ill. One is called Voice Piece for Soprano. The instructions are writ huge on the wall: ‘Scream. To The Wind. To The Wall. To the Sky.’ There is a microphone set up in the atrium, and now and then someone gets brave and wanders up and screams. The whole place jumps, but it’s really wonderful to be wandering around looking at a Matisse or something stodgy and hear a rip-roaring shriek reverberate. I scream eventually, but it isn’t quite the scream I wanted to scream. Another piece is called Wish Tree and involves everyone writing their wish on a piece of paper and hanging it on the tree in the courtyard. People wish in all languages, they wish for happiness and health for their children most often. My favorite wish is written by a little kid and it says “My wish is a seceret.” The wishes are collected every few days and deposited in a big glass bin, inside the museum. I leave after a few hours, saw a few favorites along the way: Cindy Sherman, Laura Gilpin and Andrew Wyeth.
In line at Whole Foods to buy a bottle of water, I see Carey Mulligan on the cover of Vogue. I totally interviewed her before she was famous. This does not make me feel good, though it should. The one hundred copies of Vogue watch me buy a bottle of water and I head out of the store up two flights to Bouchon Bakery. I buy a sandwich and read my book. Alice Munro is in some kind of mood, going through something rough I can tell, her books are so transparent. It’s making me mad. I can’t think of anything to do so I walk down Broadway away from the park, towards Times Square. Times Square is not very big. I don’t know why all these people are taking pictures of it. Why would you want a picture of something you should try to remember? They’re not even taking good pictures, and they remind me of the guy on the train who took pictures out the window of the trees going by and they all turned out blurry.
Head out to Bryant Park, trying to remember why it’s important (Oh, right, the fashion shows.) and into the large Public Library which is immense and grandiose in every sense of the word. I start to cast a little librarian movie with Matthew Gray Gubler in it. That’d be cute, I think, and sit down for a while and chat on my phone with my sister and friends. Back to Williamsburg, and it’s Google reader and wait for Mary to come home or tell me what we’re doing tonight. Probably going to Snacky by myself for Bibim Bop.
Restaurants: Bakeri, Bahn Mi 172, Bouchon Bakery
Drinks: none so far
Wake up on Mary’s day off, we try to decide what to do. At first there is some support for the idea of going to Ikea and riding on a ferry, seeing the statue of liberty. But, eh. We head out for brunch, stopping along the way to talk to an energetic boutique owner. Mary knows that I am fancy, and wants to take me somewhere Toile-ish. Roebling Tea Room is all sturdy wooden benches and delicious smoked salmon. The menus are typed up on a typewriter and there’s horse and beagle wallpaper. It’s absolutely on another level of perfect, and as we walk in they start playing Paul Simon, and she says it’s cause she called ahead to make it happen for me.
After an immensely satisfying breakfast we go to a store called Junk, and Mary ends up finding some upholstery fabric for her chairs as well as a lamp that looks like it was made out of melted-down Goody combs. I pick out some old timey photographs for my weird collection that started in Austin, and I think will end up in my bathroom at home.
We take our finds home and Mary begins a private gallery showing for me of paintings for sale. I latch onto a painting of Robert Redford as Hubbell Gardner from The Way We Were. It is mine. I adore Hubbell, and I love this painting.
It’s time to go to the beach, and so we do. I take pictures of the Manhattan skyline and Mary explains to me all about the waterfront construction and what it all means. Mary brings a tiny shovel and shovels in the river muck by the water. We play around with the idea of going to Marlow and Sons, which I want to do, but I also like being able to pay my bills so we decide not to after all.
At home for good, we break out some wine, Mary gets down to the business of making cauliflower soup. We have a grand time as she is good at both picking dinner tunes as well as making really delicious food. I eat too much and babble on about God knows what.
Convinced to rally, we head out again and meet up with some friends of hers who have lost a ticket to the show they are going to. They buy another one. Mary and I go grab a drink and I go toddle off to get ice cream. Eventually it is decided that Mary will go out and have fun with Tamara and I will go to bed because I am lame. This is ultimately what happens.
Restaurants: Roebling Tea Room, Zablozski’s
Drinks: Dark and Stormy
Wake up at 9a or so, and head out much earlier than the day before. I make my way to Bouchon Bakery at 10 Columbus Circle and get some lunch to-go, along with a TKO which is a chocolate dense cookie with some kind of heavenly cream inside. I walked over to Central Park and read my Alice Munro book, thinking I’ve walked quite a way into the park, but I’ve only really touched the edge of it.
India texts and asks me to come to SoHo, which I do, and she shows me around Greenwich Village, and SoHo and a bit of NoHo and we go to three different libraries. Also she points out where David Bowie and Hugh Jackman live(d) which is all I care about.
We walk and walk and walk, I am such a walking baby.
Dinner is at India’s mother’s home, she lives on an entire floor in SoHo, and it’s one of the fanciest apartments I’ve ever seen. Mary’s apartment has art all over it which is fun to discover, but this apartment has art literally everywhere, in that heady accumulation which is the product of a lifetime of creating art oneself as well as cultivating a huge personal collection. I had forgotten that India’s mother was African-American, and her personal collection of art is incredible, as well as her enormous studio. I am so green with envy over that studio I can barely contain my exclamations of jealousy. The grand tour of the apartment was lovely. For dinner we have butternut squash, the best cole slaw I’ve ever had, and India and her mother had corned beef. Her mother says she wants to paint me but can’t think of a reason, and I tell about my enormous painting that hangs in a friends home, and how when I go to parties at their house people sort of recognize me. Gelato rounds out a wonderful dinner and India deposits me back to the subway and I make my way back to Williamsburg. One of those inspiring nights where you are reminded that you can be as awesome as you want to be. I try to call Joey all the way home to tell him about something that happened at dinner but he doesn’t pick up.
Wake up at 11, do some light school work and catch up on my regular work
don’t end up heading out til 4 p.m. But I make my way on the subway to 14th street and walk around SoHo and NoHo looking for an Old Navy. I’ve never been to New York before so everything is new, learning where the stops are, which direction to go. I get off at the right stop for my bank, get out some funds. I make my way to Old Navy to purchase some leggings, and just take everything in, the loud streets, all the people.
Eventually I get over to visit the High Line. Which is an elevated walkway that runs through part of the city, all gorgeous wood and indigenous plants. People are sitting on benches, enjoying ice cream or laying out in the sun on wooden lounge chairs. I get off the elevated high line at 14th street and march through part of the meatpacking district. I go past Alexander McQueen and can’t help myself, I have to go in. I do and it’s a beautiful store. The sales people are surprisingly nice even though I am sure they can tell I’m not about to drop that kind of money. A few more similar stops at Stella McCartney and such, and it’s time to head back to Williamsburg. I meet India and Mary for dinner at a place called 5 Leaves, in Greenpoint. I have this amazing tomato soup and truffle fries. Mary used to live around here and is very well acquainted with the area. One of her friends, Tom, sits with us as we all have a few more drinks, but after we’re done we head over to Van Leeuwen ice cream. Fancy ice cream, but nothing in the world can beat my Scoops back home.
Local Restaurants: 5 Leaves, Van Leeuwen
Local drinks: Pimm’s Cup
Wake up at 5:20am, filled with a deep and abiding sadness caused by my own exhaustion. As I pick Jayne up from Biola I run a stopsign on campus which draws the campus safety. They pull me over in front of Hope but I sort of cheerily talk my way out of it. The flight is fairly uneventful, I’m sitting next to a girl who curls up and keeps kicking me with her Uggs but, whatever. I don’t do any reading, I just sit and think. About what, I’m not sure. Arrive at JFK which is huge and strangely deserted.
When I arrive at Grand, I am very pleased with myself that I’ve been able to make it to the city on my own on the E train. I park myself at a Le Pain Quotidian and await Mary. The street outside (SoHo) has cobblestones and looks like a movie set. Mary and I take all my stuff back to her waterfront apartment in Williamsburg, which is the coolest place to be, I gather from the Internet. Walking around, we run into some friends of hers, Derek and Victoria and talk to them for a bit. There’s not many people out but it’s early and it’s a Tuesday. We make our way to Snacky, a delicious little place with Bibim Bop and kimchee and what-all-else. Feeling tired out of my mind, we head back to the apartment and I fall asleep. I tell Mary I plan to sleep until I wake up with is taken with some confusion.
Local Restaurant: Snacky
Local beers: Not sure
Today is a quiet day, I wake up and head back to my apartment in Los Angeles. It’s lovely and I do some mucking around on my huge computer, enjoy the curtains in my place, do some packing.
Nothing much happens. I pick up Abigail at the airport and we eat dinner at Phlight. I fall asleep (after doing yet another school assignment) thinking about how I have to get up at 5:20 a.m. and about how I haven’t written my article for Laremy yet. I keep waking up from stress and sleep poorly.
Wake up at 6a, go outside and wait for Dharmesh. He gets me to the airport on time and I witness someone trying to take full-sized shampoo bottles through security. He insists that “every airline” lets him. God help the TSA agent who is trying to contain himself.
I get on the plane, oh and of course I am sitting next to someone who’s never flown jet blue. Not that I’m some expert at flying, but perhaps this is a rant for a separate post.
I make my connecting flight in SFO, but barely. I get started on a paper, and on the one hour flight to LGB (Long Beach) I punch out something rather good about trends in collections management and development. Oh the life of the librarian-in-training. Turns out there’s a lot of different views on developing and maintaining passels of books. Just shove ‘em on a shelf and forget about ‘em, I say.
Jayne picks me up and I decide to give her my extra Phoenix ticket for the Hollywood Bowl that night. I head over to Laura’s and one of my last library books has shown up in my absence. As I open it I realize it’s the one I need to do my assignment that was due yesterday.
Laura and I head off to Trader Joe’s and buy lovely food stuffs, then pick up Jayne and make our way to meet Trent. Trent has made an incredible picnic spread for us, so we find parking and jam up to the Hollywood Bowl where we have a box twelve rows back. The view is really good and we feast for a bit before Girls starts. I like the lead singer’s hair.
Grizzly Bear takes the stage eventually and I always love them no matter what, so it’s a treat to see them. I think about how I worked on their Two Weeks video, and how funny it is to think I could just walk up and talk to them then and not now.
Leslie Feist shows up and sings Service Bell with them, and then sings background vocals on Two Weeks. She’s wearing a jean jacket. (Making her “the cutest Starbucks manager ever” - Ned Hepburn)
Bathroom break! Chris the guitarist for Grizzly Bear is out in the crowd being mobbed by women and I want to say hi or something but Phoenix is starting and they’re playing the first song off Lisztomania, which is the only one I even sort of know, so Laura and I book it back to the box.
Phoenix plays an amazing show, but I am so exhausted from the past few days that I am in a mood when driving home and there is endless traffic. All I want is to fall asleep. Arrive at Laura’s, fall asleep.
Local beers consumed: None
WARNING: A LOT HAPPENED TODAY. THIS IS LONG.
On my last day in Dallas I wake up around 9 a.m. and stumble into the shower. Amy is working from home that day, so I take a few pictures and Deron reads in the back yard. I try to get some reading done for school but I end up reading David Sedaris instead.
Deron and I make the long drive to Austin from Dallas around 11:30 a.m. and I am loathe to leave. The dogs are slightly sullen as well, as if they know I’m leaving. They’d been making a nest out of my bedding which was strangely moving. Deron and I are at the stage of friendship where now we are talking in strange voices and putting on short one-act plays for one another. Since this is pretty much what I do with all my close friends, it’s what I’m most comfortable with and the conversation is easy and filled with important matters.
Deron and I meet up with Dharmesh, at Threadgills, which is a legendary restaurant where Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix once played. We have dinner, but it’s slightly uncomfortable in that way where two people who know the third person just makes for awkward conversation. Deron heads back for Dallas and I am choked up seeing him go, it’s been an incredibly relaxing, encouraging and thought-provoking four days filled with conversation and a lot of laughing. I’m so touched that they even rented a car to drive me around in that I can’t even think about it.
Dharmesh is a new Austin transplant and takes me to an incredible old thrift store where I purchase three small old photos for my bathroom. I want to buy everything but I restrain myself. Ice cream is had, and when we can’t scrape together enough money to pay the girl (who is wearing a “Keep Austin Weird” shirt which complements her fuzzy clipped-on tail and cat ears) she lets us just pay her for one of the ice creams. Dharms drops me off at Taryn’s little house after making plans to take me to the airport in the morning.
I haven’t seen Taryn since my first year of college, six years ago, but she is unchanged. Sweet, absolutely gorgeous, friendly and funny, Taryn is now working in Austin doing a bit of production design, a bit of producing, all very involved in the film scene. She’s also married to Finn, an architect Icelander who she met in Iceland. They live in an amazing little house and are self-employed and doing very well. So, pretty much living my dream.
After we catch up for a bit, I’m full from my earlier dinner but I accompany Finn and Taryn to G’Raj Mahal which is in the Rainey Street district, a trailer-park type area where it’s BYOB and they serve Indian food. Taryn talks a lot and makes an excellent Austin guide as she adores the city. Finn listens and interjects from time to time. I ask if they play any instruments and she says that Finn does play guitar.
Taryn: All Icelanders are very musical, artistically talented…
Finn: …and beautiful. [laughs]
Taryn: And modest!
Then we head over to the Lustre Pearl bar, which has been converted from an old home into a bar with a huge outdoor patio area. Taryn keeps up a running city-guide commentary the entire night, and since she’s incredibly well versed and enthusiastic about Austin, this is amazing and really wonderful.
Back at home, we have some wine and make plans for the rest of the evening. Taryn had brought this velveteen green couch with her from Los Angeles, and she explains “Oh Finn hates this couch. But I’m going to reupholster it, it’s just a six-year project.” She gets up and I ask him what he hates about the couch. As Taryn is just out of earshot he says in a half-whisper with a big grin, “I don’t really mind it.” She comes back in the room a half-second later and says “I just don’t know why you don’t like it.” and he says something like “It’s terrible!” That moment was simple and sweet, a fleeting form of affection between two people who really love each other.
I spend much of the evening trying to cover my Iceland tattoo with my hand, various configurations of turning away, holding my flattened palm over my inner elbow. Or holding my drink with that hand, my arm turned away from them awkwardly. I’m sure I looked as dopey as that sounds.
Taryn and I head out and I see the Lucky Lounge, she shows me 6th Street, which is where much of the U.T. drinking goes on. (With 50,000 college students in Austin, they’ve got to go somewhere!)
We’re sitting at the Spider Lounge drinking a beer and Finn says “I notice you have a tattoo of my country on your arm.” And I am embarrassed but I show them. They love it, and don’t think it’s silly at all. Finn asks Taryn why she hasn’t displayed the same level of Icelandic devotion, and then points out in the map where he was born, where he had lived.
As we’re sitting there, Taryn offers that if I wanted to and if she could get me some money for it, that she’d love to have me come work with her on a special project at the end of October. I agree after she explains what it is (secrets!) and so I’m looking forward to the possibility of returning to Austin so soon after leaving.
We head home and I fall into bed after marveling on the insane generosity and kindness of the people I have had the good fortune to know, in my life.
Restaurants/Bars Visited: Threadgills, G’Raj Mahal, Lustre Pearl, The Lucky Lounge, The Spider Lounge
Local Beers Consumed: Pearl Beer (Made in Ft. Worth, Lonestar(?)
Wake up, stress out in my head over the amount of school to do, so I start looking around to figure out what I absolutely must do. Make a list, de-stress, this is do-able. Deron and I make plans to go see the Ft. Worth museums today.
Send Taryn an email asking if I can stay with her since I can’t stay with Dharmesh. She says yes and asks I want to go on a night hike to a swimming hole. Immediately I think of the Levi’s commercials of people running around at night. I only brought flip flops.
Deron and I make the drive to the Ft. Worth museum center, where the Modern Art museum is located, as well as the Kimbell and the Amon Carter. The Modern is exquisitely built, all concrete and glass, huge spaces that allow the art to be the main focus. In fact all of the buildings seem carefully designed to enhance and highlight the art rather than abscond with the attention.
A few pieces get my attention, a large scale Clyfford Still, a wavery ladder that is suspended in air and goes up at least two stories.
I get a call as I’m walking around and Fred calls to tell me my car will only cost $190 to fix. That’s more than I wanted to spend but not $300 or $400 like I was imagining. I am overjoyed and pay for it over the phone. This means my sister will be able to pick me up with no problems (hopefully!)
(I still can’t find anyone to buy my extra tickets for Pavement/Sonic Youth or Phoenix/Grizzly Bear.)
Outside we wander over to a large steel structure that a group of high-schoolers are nearby and when we walk into the piece, there’s a large amount of foiled plastics casting wild light all over the inside. It’s strange and unexpected and beautiful. The snaps and claps and my whistling echo up and away, and I like it in there. I want to build a house in there.
Lunch at the Kimbell is very good, surprisingly good and their permanent collection is excellent as well, though there’s nothing as striking to me as some items in the Modern.
We’re walking around and I focus in on a stunning Laura Gilpin photo that I keep returning to, a group of art students near a rocky outcrop. Deron is being shown some old vintage cameras by an elderly lady docent who seems very sweet. I keep walking back and forth between the photos and the two of them. She looks up at me and says apologetically; “Sorry, no vampires!” And I nod. I guess I look like a tween who needs to be entertained by Twilight-related novelties.
Dinner at Hong Kong Garden, which is pretty good. The interior is kitsch absolute. We have a good time and I tell them about the way I insert the word “butts” into Robert Frost poems.
Daily Show, Colbert Report, Mad Men and then bed.
Restauants: Kimbell lunchery, Hong Kong Garden
Local drinks: Lemonade with a sprig of mint and an orange slice.
Wake up around 9 a.m. I spend most of the day taking care of small matters in and around my life, such as checking in on school (WHOOPS forgot about that!) and figuring out where I want to eat in New York. This pursuit actually takes up quite a bit of the day. I’m behind in school, but manage to make small furtive steps towards something related to schoolwork.
We eat lunch at a place called Vietnam, meeting up with Cindy and Darryl. Buffet vietnamese food is pretty damn good I must say. There’s a lot of funny stories told and I am reminded of how much I adore these fine folks.
On the way home I get a call from the guy who fixes my car and he says he needs a switch for the steering column but no one has said switch, and it’s going to be expensive. He can’t even quote me accurately how much it’s going to be. I think about my sad life and how I owe everyone money, including Abigail, Cate and Lauren. I remember the scholarship I was up for, and wonder if I’ll ever hear if anyone got it. I remember how I have TWO TICKETS to sell for various shows in L.A. and it stresses me out. We drive back through downtown Dallas and I stare out the window, moping to myself.
When we get home, I fall asleep with two dogs on my bed. They look annoyed at me whenever I move or roll over. This strikes me as funny. When I wake up, Deron asks me if I took an angry nap. Yes, yes I did.
A professor from my old school emails me wanting recommendations about films that confront sexuality. Can’t come up with any at first, but after an hour I’ve got about twenty or twenty-five. Pleased with my list, I consider hosting a sexy film festival. I forget about this idea within the hour.
After a while we head off for dinner, stopping first at a taco place and then heading to the Bishop arts area. Deron instructs Amy and I to stand for a picture, snaps one and realizes he has no SD card in the camera. After all our wavering, we end up at the same place we ate last night, Eno’s, because it is really good. Tomato basil soup so soft and warm, a spicy caesar salad and the thinnest pizza you’ve ever had. I tell them about press junkets and Silverlake and Los Angeles and wax eloquent on Forage and Scoops ice cream for a while. We talk about how Dallas and Los Angeles are similar and not-similar at all.
After this we head to a liquor store and discuss champagne, chambord and settle on beer. Back home for the finale of Top Chef. I do some more research about where to eat in New York and talk myself into and out of spending $300 on lunch at Thomas Keller’s Per Se restaurant. With the car repairs I just can’t afford it, not that I could even marginally afford it before. I just adore Thomas Keller’s approach to food and have been reading about French Laundry for so long I wanted to try Per Se. After that, a $15 Lobster Roll doesn’t seem so expensive so I map out lots of places to try, including possibly Ssam Bar.
Local Restaurants: Vietnam, Eno’s
Local Drinks Consumed: One cantaloupe “local” martini, Two hoegaardens.
Wake up at 6:45 a.m. and reorient myself. I appear to be in Cate’s apartment and I leap up, check my phone. Read a text message from John about stale Milky Ways or something, not sure what that means. Head off to Biola to pick up Jayne in my car that won’t roll the windows down. We get to LGB eventually.
What I like about the Long Beach Airport:
- It is easy to get through security fast.
- They only have four gates.
- The people who work there are competent.
What I do not like about the Long Beach Airport:
- Everyone in small airports acts like a dope about how to fly.
- Also there’s a toy that is sold in the gift shop that makes this hysterical laughter noise and the last three times I’ve flown out of there, it laughs the whole time I’m waiting.
Once we’re all on the plane, I settle in to write an article, but about an hour later, the person to the left of me pokes me in the arm and when I take off my headphones, says ‘Yep. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna be that person. I’m gonna make you move so I can get out.’ I try to reorient all the stuff in my small space to let him out but when I get the attention of the person sitting next to us (since I am in the middle) they look at me with a mixture of disdain and defeat. When they do get up to let the Window-seater out of our row, they leave their headphones plugged into the arm rest so they have to lean over. THANKS FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE. When we all get situated again in a few minutes I start writing a tome about how to fly so as not to annoy me. I plan on laminating copies and passing them out half an hour before boarding time.
I can’t decide if the person to the right of me is a woman or a man. I start looking for clues, but results are inconclusive. When asked by the stewardess what they’d like to drink, it acts like the entire affair is a major imposition. “DIET COKE, OR WHATEVER.” The stewardess brings a regular coke, which is not okay. “No, no! No!” The human says, and taps the can with their pointy fingernail. I turn back to my writing.
Austin lurches up from the ground to meet us, and deplaning is faster than usual. Deron meets me at the bottom of the escalators and I am very glad to see him. We hop into a fancy rental and make our way north to Dallas. Had no idea it was so far away. The cashier at the gas station wants to talk to me about how some people lie to buy cigarettes. I am buying water.
The drive is good, we discuss ideas and people and places and the Texas countryside rolls by, always very much the same. Amy comes home about half an hour after we do, and we all head off to dinner. Dinner is exceptionally good at a local Oak Cliff place called Eno’s. I get a sandwich and a spicy salad. Since I’m a vegetarian it’s hard to really git Texas, since there’s all this delicious BBQ I don’t eat.
We stay up late watching TV and reading the Internet. I finish my article and fall asleep around 10pm my time, 12am Texas time.
Local Beers: Tried to drink a quadruple, but no luck. They were out.
A few basic rules for flying Jet Blue. I’m not even going to touch the TSA requirements because you are an adult and can so easily find out what is required of you that there is no excuse for non-compliance.
Look at your boarding pass. Look at the number on your boarding pass. Does it say 15B? Then you are not going to be pre-boarding. Nor are you in rows one through five. Nor are you in rows twenty-five through twenty. Do not do anything to make them repeat themselves on the speakers. Do not complain and moan and bitch when you sneak into line and they tell you they’re not boarding your row. Just wait, it’ll all happen, it always does.
When you get on the plane, be ready and able to hoist your ten thousand pound bag into the overhead bin yourself. Or check your bag, if you can afford a plane ticket, you can afford to check a bag. Do not weakly and feebly slowly push it in while looking around hoping some big strong man will help you.
Do not gape about bewildered and stand in the center aisle. Find your seat and get into it. If you’re on the aisle, don’t buckle your seatbelt until your seat mates are in their seats. Don’t act annoyed if you have to move to let them in. Get up, and get out of the way so they can get situated.
Remember how we were looking at our boarding pass earlier? You still need to know that number. 15B is not 15A, it’s not any other number than 15B. So sit in your own seat. There’s a little diagram above each row to show you where you’re sitting. Don’t make the person who’s seat you’re in have a confrontation with you. That is embarrassing. If they do, don’t explain that you thought you were in your seat. No duh you thought you were in your seat, that’s why you were there.
As soon as you sit down, pull out the card that shows what kind of snacks and drinks there are and make your selection right now. Right now, right now. This instant. Ginger ale and blue potato chips. Okay, replace the card and don’t think about this again until she asks you. Do not wait until she asks you to think about it. Do not ask the stewardess what kind of drinks they have. It’s a plane, they don’t have Diet Mr. Pibb or Mountain Dew Code Red, they have like coke and stuff. Do not act like your inability to pick is some sort of charming quirk. Everyone hates you.
We wake up and putz around, a little bit hungry but not enough to do anything about it. I do some dishes, and then walk around taking pictures of the house. I have a half-daydream that we’ll film a movie here, a zombie thriller as the house would be ideal. Too big to defend, too much open farmland around. So I take reference pictures in case anything changes. Someday I will build an exact replica of this house for a movie, or maybe just model a few rooms on it.
We drive through Sonic and I eat two grilled cheese sandwiches, my favourite food. The Medford airport is stupidly small, there’s one lane for TSA and it’s adorable… people have left their brains at home and are trying to bring jars of homemade pickles and green beans on the plane. Every single bag gets pulled because no one understands how to be alive. This entire trip is making me hate others, as I listen to the announcements in the airports. “PLEASE sit down, we are NOT boarding. PLEASE hold your own boarding pass. We are ONLY boarding rows 20-25.” No one listens and it drives me nuts. I wish there was some secret symbol they could place on your boarding pass to indicate how normal and awesome you are, how you understand RULES and FOLLOW THEM.
After an uneventful flight, Jayne picks us up and informs me that the windows are no longer rolling down, and the turn signals do not work. I decide to crash the car into the side of the freeway just to end the torment. It’s so hot we begin to have fever dreams. I open the sunroof which helps a little bit but oh my god.
I drop Jayne off, then drop Cate off but not before getting the biggest glass of water ever. I take Abigail back to her house and we make dinner plans at The Olde Ship, our local pub. After I drop her off, I go to Old Navy and buy a shirt and some flip-flops. (Currently wearing said attire.) Then I head to Laura’s, hold some cats and pick up my packages. Children’s books and nonsense, as usual.
Back to Cate’s, we watch a movie and head off to Olde Ship. The server is Brendan Michael, (his name is really Michael but due to a mix-up months ago we call him Brendan Michael.) I get the fish and chips, everyone else gets mulligatawny soup, which is the best soup ever. My flight to Austin leaves at 9 a.m. the next day, so it’s off to bed.Restaurants/Bars: Sonic, The Olde Ship
Local Beers consumed: None
Wake up around 9 a.m., and make some more breakfast potatoes. There’s a general lazy movement to explore the small nearby gold-rush town of Jackson so after Cate wakes up and takes a shower, we drive over there. It takes much less time than the day before. Oregon farmland is half dry fields and half lovely trees, large new homes and old Victorian looking houses. Jacksonville has one main drag, with a coffee shop called The Good Bean where we rummage up some breakfasty items for second breakfast. I upload some images, Cate keeps knitting as she’s promised to make a baby blanket for someone and it is slow-going. I didn’t bring the iPad, which is probably for the best. We run into an acquaintance of Cate, a woman who has cystic fibrosis and has always known she won’t likely live past thirty-five. She walks over to her husband and their baby, and I think about how hard that would be, having to make life decisions without knowing how much time you had left. Then I realized we all kind of do that, she just gets to know what so few other people do. After this, we walk over to the toy store and look at some weird paperdoll books. There’s paperdoll Cats you can dress up, Gibson Girl ones, Southern Belles, The Royal Family, it’s endless. We decide not to buy anything although I dig through the plastic bins looking for dinosaurs.
Me: Is it weird or just SORT of weird if you have a bunch of dinosaurs all over your apartment?
This question was never answered conclusively. Cate sat down outside to knit and Abigail proceeded to buy me two jawbreakers and a local beer. We head home eventually, after stopping at Ray’s Food Place to buy some avocados. At the farmhouse, we’d found this old 2008 copy of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition and it was the highlighted reading material of the trip as we poured over the model’s answers. “Ha ha ha! I’m such a nerd. I play chess and read a book.” I lobbied at Ray’s Food Place to buy another one, but we couldn’t find one.
After heading home we had some more wine and ate some guacamole, which pushed dinner back to non-existent.
Restaurants/Bars: The Good Bean
Local Beers Consumed: None, purchased a Rogue Valley Beer that I left at the farmhouse after all.
We wake up in the master bedroom around nine or ten. I am sleeping on an enormous airbed that is actually comfortable. First things first, I rummage around and grab Abigail’s iPad so I can play Angry Birds, but I end up playing Plants v. Zombies which is really fun and I’m vaguely good at it so I feel smug.
Abigail summons me to collect blackberries and THERE IS NOTHING I LIKE MORE THAN BERRIES so I hop to. What was supposed to be fairly easy turns into, of course, complicated stuff so we’re wading through the rushes and avoiding thorns and we yield about twenty-three blackberries.
Once everyone wakes up we make a big farm breakfast, eggs, potatoes, bacon, delicious food stuffs.
The farm house has a great room, a dining room, a hall bathroom, a mudroom, the master bathroom which is as big as my apartment, the master bedroom, a side room, the kitchen, the butler’s pantry AND THAT’S JUST DOWNSTAIRS. It’s all decorated with wildly variant wallpapers which are half gorgeous foil and flock, half the worst thing ever. I decide to do some work in The Princess Room which is upstairs. Abigail comes in and plays me various Disney songs that had been stuck in my mind for days. I do a little writing, do a little school work, and then because the internet doesn’t reach to the Princess Room, I go sit on the stairs for a bit and do Internetty things.
(The computer I have with me for AYCJ is a seven-year-old (at least.) 12-inch Powerbook G4. It likes to not do stuff, and one time it was in my purse and got coins all up innit so the CD drive doesn’t work.)
Later we crack open some wine and sit on the outside porch, the sunlight filters through the trees and there’s a lawn in front of us. Various animals weave in and out so of course I whip out the iPad and play some games that require me to stare at a screen.
We’re going to see Music Man and eat at Bella Union in the nearby town of Jacksonville, so we all pile into the car and head off. It took like a hundred years, however others have dispute my understanding of time. Dinner was had, the Caesar salad was somehow spicy and delicious all at once. I have the seafood fettucine, which is lifechanging but makes me sick of course. We start to walk over to the outdoor amphitheater where they’re showing Music Man. Earlier I was going on and on about why I don’t like it, (the costumes, the sets, the film stock used) and Cate loves that movie and can’t understand why I don’t like it.
I lay down on the grass and promptly fall asleep. This annoys Cate, who is merrily laughing and enjoying herself. I fashion a blanket out of two coats I brought. I exist in a wakeful half-dream, freezing to death. Eventually Abigail announces we’ll be going home. So we do, and have some ice cream. More zombies, and then bedtime.
Restaurants/Bars: Bella Union
No Local Beers consumed.
I arrive at LAX around 11 p.m. the night before, and am about to lose my mind. In between the Jersey Shore and the young child who cried and cried and cried the whole flight, I am on edge. Jayne has trouble finding me on the sidewalk, which is packed with people. This makes me crazy. Also she shows up wearing my clothes, which makes me triple crazy. I skip from plain crazy to triple crazy after someone has been crying in my ear for six and a half hours. We make our way to Westlake, where I live in Los Angeles and I pick up some stuff for the Oregon trip taking place the next morning. Make my way to Abigail’s and fall asleep at 1 a.m.
Wake up at 7 a.m. and my sister drops us off at LAX, where I was less than twelve hours before. We check into Allegiant Air for our trip to Medford, and they have this janky plastic laminated banner behind the counter, the entire operation seems NOT REAL. Making our way through security, one of the TSA guys recognizes me and says I changed my hair, and another one says “Hey, didn’t I see you yesterday?” which, I mean: awesome. But, silly too.
Allegiant Air is fantastical! It’s a tiny plane, and they seem to mainly fly to Vegas. We are reminded that we all have seat assignments, and we are told that if we have alcohol with us, we may NOT consume it on the plane. Sounds like they usually have crazy stuff going on. We finally decided to try some of those little mini alcohol bottles they are always pushing on people, and we heartily approve.
Sally picks up Cate, myself and Abigail at the Medford airport and amid a flurry of confusion (and we haven’t had breakfast yet) we head off to the Farm. THE FARM IS SO COOL. The living situation is confusing, but we go shopping, find some food and settle in for the night. Cate makes salsa, and we made tacos that were delicious. After some drinks and some iPad games, it’s time for bed.
Restaurants/Bars: 4 Daughters Pub
Local Beers Consumed: Tangerine Hefeweizen
7:00 a.m. wake up, which is actually 4 a.m. California time. I navigate the charlie system to Porter Square and find Drew’s house. He brings me my camera and we talk about the vibe of Harvard Square and Cambridge. It’s early and I’m confused so I tell him I’m leaving soon even though I don’t leave ‘til later.
I call Alex and we meet at Petsi Pies in Somerville, I have a sweet potato pecan muffin and he has a blueberry muffin and coffee cake and we talk about physics, he tries to explain his class about Solids to me. I’m happy that he’s able to have people on his level to be able to share things like that with, and that he gets to do so much research at MIT. I’m jealous, but I wouldn’t be good at it so that’s dumb of me.
My feet hurt cause I wore dumb plastic shoes. I hate my life. They’re not even that cute.
It’s a good thing I talk to Abigail as soon as I get back to Lauren’s house, because she informs me that we are leaving early on Friday morning, NOT Saturday morning as I first assumed. I was busy planning my quiet Friday at home, getting school and work done (I owe Laremy an article, gonna
play solitaire write it on the plane tonight.)
Lauren and eat delicious Greek food and then I go see The Kids Are All Right, which I’ve seen before but I still laugh and it’s still funny. We leave, and kill time by having a beer then she sends me off on my merry, the outbound red line to the silver line, then to BOS Logan International. I can’t believe how nice she’s been, especially considering I show up a total stranger and have completely forgotten all credit cards, debit cards or anything LIKE THAT. I’m annoyed all over again at how BAD people are at being alive and getting through airports.
I get in tonight at 10 p.m. so my sister is going to pick me up and take me to Westlake where I will pick up things I need and then we head off to La Mirada. In the morning I get up at 7 so we can make our flight at LAX. This is actually unrelated to AYCJ, but it’s still a trip!
Restuarants/Bars: Petsi Pies, The Greek Corner, and a bar by the Kendall station
Local Beers: a local IPA but I don’t remember the name.
11 a.m. wake up time, meet up with a friend from college, Drew. Drew and I walk to his house in Porter Square, which is one stop down from Davis Square, where I am staying with Lauren. We get icees and he complains of the heat. Drew and his boyfriend recently moved from Pasadena and he is so excited about the new apartment, which is really lovely. Blue walls and absolutely nautical. We discuss smugly how wonderful it is to live on our own. Coffee, board games, I meet his brother and get filled in on every detail of life until about 6, when his boyfriend drives me over to meet Lauren and another college friend, Alex, for dinner. I’m excited to see Alex as he’s doing his PhD at Harvard, in Physics. So I’m simultaneously jealous and can never understand what he’s working on. Superconductors and stuff. We eat delicious foods and then go get ice cream at J.P. Licks. Coffee and Oreo for me, White Coffee for Lauren, I don’t know what Alex got. I have left my camera at Drew’s house so I’m like stressin’ on getting it back. Not sure what makes my brain go into backwards mode where I do dumb stuff, but maybe when I’m older this unmitigated nightmare will end.
Alex and I make breakfast plans, then Lauren and I go to her favourite bar, New Republik and talk for a few hours and then toddle on home. She very kindly pays for everything and buys me a Charlie Pass, which is the subway/bus pass.
Boston is a very walk-y city, I’ve never been here before and it’s interesting to see how people live in places you’ve only imagined. The public transportation is clean and usable, the entire place is over run with college and grad students from Harvard, MIT, Lesley, and tons of other colleges and universities. Everything here is brick, and old. I’m kind of into it.
Restaurants/Bars: Veggie Planet, J.P. Licks, New Republik
Local Beers Consumed: U.F.O. Hefeweizen
Woke up at 6 a.m. to get to the airport by 7. My sister is sleeping over in my Westlake apartment so she can drive me, and we were kept up until 3 a.m. by my inability to pack, as well as a search helicopter in the area. On the way to the airport I realize I don’t have my credit card or debit card or any cash. I do have my ID so I decide not to go back, I’ll just get money from my Wells Fargo in Boston.
On the plane the pilot comes out and welcomes all the All You Can Jet people on their first day. There’s about 10 of us on the plane.
I get to Boston and meet up with Lauren, my friendly host for the three day trip. I have never met her before, but we both blog for Clusterflock, and those people are swell, so I am relatively sure I will not be murdered. I tell her that I forgot my money, and she informs me there are no Wells Fargo banks in Boston. I die inside. A lot. She offers to cover me and I profusely apologise for being alive.
We meet up later with another ‘flocker friend, Andrea, who more than graciously buys us dinner and takes us to a show. Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin was playing, and they were pretty damn good. A successful first day.
Restaurants/Bars: The OtherSide, The Middle East, T.T’s The Bear
Local Beers Consumed: Pretty Things Baby Tree