Proof of leg room
5 a.m. — dazed awake
5:05 a.m. — shower, finish packing, water plants, take out garbage. is that everything?
6:20 a.m. — 24th Street, 20 degrees, breezy. load car. 2 suitcases, 2 briefcases. speed to JFK from Chelsea no problem. find long-term parking lot but no parking. wait while man from Florida figures out how to scrape snow off windshield. should I help, I ask Jim, thinking of “Fargo” and that furious scraping of windshield. Lot — $18/day.
7:45 a.m. — scurry across expansive wind-tunnel lot to tram building. freezing. mishap getting on tram. jim rushes on tram. doors whoosh behind him. closed! Jim wrestles doors open. I get on. man follows. gets on. doors close on another wife. Jim wrestles again, woman gets on, joins horrified husband. “don’t have heart attack, please,” I say, watching Jim’s sweat dry. people in tram car joke with Jim. Jim jokes to saved woman, “you owe me 10 bucks.” she tells Jim which terminal to get off at and says, “$20 please.” lots more laughing. terminal 5, JetBlue (2 round trips with legroom $1500), swift tram trip, no further tram drama.
8 a.m. — auto check luggage doesn’t work, get help. ushered into zip lane for security clearance, shoes stay on feet and no groping. fantasize about sneaking into the “Flight to Cuba” line; eat scrambled eggs; buy colorful pens at Muji. .38 and .25 tips. $39 for breakfast; $22.05 for pens, eyeglass cleaner & plastic pen case.
9 a.m. — buy two sandwiches, 2 bottles of sparkling Smart Water, two cookies from Boar’s Head for the 6-hour plane ride. $22 for sandwiches. Jim pays $13 for rest.
9:20 a.m. — late for priority boarding. line up with everybody. seated in row six, right behind first class where they eat for six hours straight between glasses of wine, hot towels and comfy blankies. 3 dedicated attendants for 10.
10:30 a.m. — lift off. extra leg room for Jim & I @ $50 extra ea. way for ea. of us (6’5”, 5’11”); we cross legs in appreciation. flight attendant to me: “Are you able to open exit door if there’s an emergency?” yes, which could be a lie. it’s not something we practice.
? p.m. — 35k feet, time on pause, suspended-animation zone — TVs don’t work; get free movies. read 50 pages of “Unbanking of America” by Lisa Servon for book review; watch “La La Land” to bone up on contemporary LA. everybody eating free chips. Jim has bloody mary at 11 a.m. to quell flight nerves. no charge.
View from an overpass near Best Western.
2:30 p.m. — smooth landing. get luggage, call Uber ($23), check into same Best Western room we had last year, $169/night. free delicious Earl Gray tea. happy people at front desk. parched. get free bottled water.
3 p.m. — sister’s caretaker gives us ride to sister’s house. Sherman Oaks. Nice long visit. Talk about crazy mother, crazy brother, other crazy loved ones all gone now. uncomfortable topics for ailing sister. hospice angels. gratitude. sister's friends implore: hold all those stories till we get there. still don’t tell her about memoir.
7 p.m. — order takeout. Thai.
8 p.m. — food arrives. 11 p.m. “our time.” gobbling as if just had colonoscopies.
9 p.m. — call Uber. go outside. 84 degrees. full moon. honeysuckle so strong. swoon. to Jim: we grew up with this sensual largess. the best part.
9:10 p.m. — where’s Uber? try again. wait 4 minutes. $6 w/tip.
9:30 p.m. — unpack; have free green tea; plug in multitude of devices for charging. text loved ones. “all ok here.” downplay southern california weather. minus 9 degrees there.
9:40 p.m. — XpenseTracker total 3-11-17: $2,440 or thereabouts
9:45 p.m. — suddenly sleepy. collapse