Autumn in New York, Part I

The first exciting installment of my New York adventures…

…began at the Seattle airport, where odds had so far been in my favor of getting a seat… just any seat… on Monday night’s red-eye to JFK. I took my time getting through security and perused the magazine rack at the news stand. It’s a good thing there aren’t more exotic car magazines in print, otherwise I could have very well missed the flight altogether. Eventually I moseyed along to the train to terminal S, clearly the party terminal, from the huge plastic balloons and bright LED lights along the escalators on the way up to the foyer.

The airport was quiet at 10pm, but not completely desolate. After a quick stop into the restrooms, in attempt to kill even more time, I checked the monitors at gate S8. They were calling for passengers to check carry-on bags in anticipation of a completely full flight. I saw the upgrade list… 20 names… That didn’t bode well for my ambitious dreams of fame, fortune, and a reclining seat on a red-eye, but it meant some economy seats may be freed up. I was still third on the list, however. Just as Danielle promised, there I was, BAT/A, up on the monitor. Somehow that makes me feel important.

I had dressed up a bit, to make myself look business-class-worthy. As a frequent traveler, I generally have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting the seats that I want on a plane. Though I knew I would have to accept whatever seat was free as my name came to the top of the list, I politely waited in line at the gate and requested a window seat. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, after all. In reality, I was relying on all sorts of superstitious luck, and the kindness of strangers, who conveniently don’t get on a flight that is almost impossible to miss.

Second on the list… and the main cabin was already boarding. That’s alright… they were still calling names for upgrades. There’s still a chance, still a chance. For a split second I saw my name at the top of the list. There were only about 5 or 6 people yet to walk through the gate. It may have been me sitting there all alone, waiting for a chance to fly to MSP at 12:55am, with another stand-by card and a prayer. When it came down to it, I am fairly certain I managed to get on the plane because I had forgotten to bring my travel pillow. I texted this to Danielle as they called my name up to the desk.

When they handed me my seat assignment, 27F, I was fairly certain it was a window seat. Yes, a window seat. I love my life. Some people gamble, others take drugs, I get a high off of flying last-minute and getting fantastic seats on long flights. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

We sailed through the clouds just as my eyes were focusing on the city-scape of Bellevue, and when we turned east and emerged above the cloud cover all I could see of my new home was the top of Mt Rainier. I went to the back to change my clothes and get myself ready to sleep. The clouds thinned out over the eastern part of the state, where I knew one day I would find future adventures. Interstate 90 is one of the few main highways I haven’t taken across the country, and I think it deserves a voyage one day, especially to Glacier National Park, and of course, North Dakota, the last of the 50 US states I will visit.

Time went quickly as I dozed in and out of fitful rest. Over Wisconsin… Pennsylvania… We arrived 20 minutes early to a red-orange sunrise and overcast skies. I changed out of my pajamas and took my time getting to the baggage claim. Since I was one of the last people on the plane I had to check my small roller bag, but contrary to normal New York mayhem, I really wasn’t in a hurry. I am now on the Long Island Rail Road, one stop from Farmingdale, excited to see my family and take a trip to the Atlantic Ocean. The adventure continues…