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home alive or maybe alive, not really all that sure

2012-06-01 - 7:39 p.m.

Magnificent weather in New York, I'll give 'em that. I took a stroll through Brooklyn in the morning and noticed an area where they actually sold the wicked wine -- organic wine, naturally, since it was a neighborhood of organic produce and whatnot. But I'm glad to see that the entire town hadn't been eaten by Mormons and Muslims. I just did not expect to have memories of New York that included having to slip your own wine into a restaurant.

C. had warned me that you could not rely on New York public transportation to get to the airport but I'm looking at the instructions and thinking, hell, how hard can it be? Ha. Just ha. I went to the booth and told the lady that I wanted to go to JFK. To say that she deliberately told me wrong is to give her too much credit. The events of the day have satisfied me that nobody working for the MTA knows what is going on. I realize perfectly well that if we had a subway in the South, the trains wouldn't run on time, and the employees would know eff-all but c'mon. I just expected something different from New York. Now I fully understand why the masters of the universe lost their grip. Clue-effin'-FREE. To cut to the chase, the train that was supposed to run to catch the Airtrain to JFK wasn't working. But instead of admitting that it wasn't working, the MTA wants to sell you tickets, strand you in the ass-end of nowhere, and then maybe you can figure out how to somehow get to where you need to go. Just tell me the train ain't running in the first place and I'll call a cab, folks. It just ain't that hard. I won't go through the whole awful story but at one point I was stranded on the side of the tracks while actual New Yorkers came and went, most of them stopping to ask me (presumably because I was standing there) if this train happened to go where they wanted to go. Yes, it's true. The system is so screwed up that 1) nobody knows where the trains are going, and 2) there are no employees working down on the ground who know where the trains are going. And the employees up top in the little glass booths know even less than zero. I realize they are in the little glass bullet proof booths because they're afraid of being shot at, even though in nowhere else in the world do people go around shooting at subway booth attendees. I also now understand why somebody might feel the deadly urge to pick up a rifle. People, if you don't know, just say you don't know. Don't make up bogus shit that you think might sound right and send the tourists scrambling out to East Jesus.

Yes, I'm bitter. But only a little bitter. OK, on reflection, I realize that Tokyo had the same poor system of design, such that you often get on the wrong train, find out after you push your way to read the sign inside the train, and then hop off to switch trains. Everybody can't be Paris. But in Tokyo 1) the trains run on time, and they do not suddenly decide to take the train to the effing airport out of service, and 2) when you know going in that you can't read the signs, you don't assume that the people putting up the signs are in the wrong, so you're willing to cut them a little slack. In the case of the New York subway system, I just have to say, shitty training of employees, piss poor planning to pull a train to the airport out of service with prominently posted signs stating the train will be out of service on a different week, and hopelessly inadequate signage in English such that even the locals have to ask for help. C. says there is a grant to do something about the signs, as New Yorkers are tired of answering the constant questions from tourists. I suspect it's more than that -- they're embarrassed to find themselves asking questions of people who turn out to be mere tourists.

My note from Delta said that you had to check in at the airport 1 hour in advance. If this rule is for true, any coach pax who left Brooklyn when I did missed their plane. I barely made it under the wire by heading directly for the Terminal 2 first class check-in. I saw the lines for security for the cattle, and I have to say, if you are not in first class/priority then bless your heart.

I had an about-to-expire club pass. Horrible to use it for a 10 minute visit but I had little choice. I chugged two glasses of wine and threw together a lunch which was mostly olives and hummus.

I was late to board. They were already boarding zone 2 when I came running up waving my gold card. The boarding pass beeped, and I thought I saw the word "upgraded"" flash by, but no one involved in the transport industry in New York knows what's going on, so the gate agent kinda blinked and then shook her head. So...maybe I'm wrong? In any case, I was tired, so I just got on the bus. There were two other ladies from the south in the exit row and we exchanged some pleasantries about how disorganized New Yorkers were. To prove the point, a non-rev came shambling up with a boarding pass for my seat. "Let me guess, you're in 27C," he said. I knew right then that they would (probably) have to break down and come fetch me to first class, but I didn't want to make promises I couldn't keep so I just mumbled, "Wait a minute, I think it will be OK." The lady next to me was horrified. "They put two people in one seat?" "Yeah, well, it's going to take them a minute to figure it out," I said. Just then, they called for "Mister Radford." "It's Miz, but I'm ready." Horrified lady congratulated me for the upgrade, and non-rev sighed in relief to get the aisle exit row.

No meals, no pre-departure cocktail. Just bottled water before the flight and several passes of the snack basket during the flight. The wine flowed freely though.

They forgot to give me my day pass back at the club in JFK so I didn't visit the club in ATL. The only reason I had any time was because our flight to MSY was delayed. Here I was boarded into first class without any kerfluffle, and I had some pre-departure drink, wine or Bailey's or who-knows-what. More snack basket. More wine. IMOM picked me up at the airport, and I probably bored him with rambling stories of my adventures. In the morning, I tried to go over some very elementary lessons on deal-hunting with him, but he begged off and said it was way over his head. He took me to lunch at the $1 martini place, and I had two Lemon Drops. Exhausted now. I'm all fired up with new information about how to take my travel deals hunting to the next step, but I'm not verbalizing anything really well right now. Jet lag.

I already got an email from Delta saying they'd replace the $7 I was wrongly charged for my drink the other day. That was fast.

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