Friday, August 11, 2006

Home to Brooklyn, broadband... and blocked views

Flying from Dublin to New York at 10.30 yesterday morning sounds like it should have been a nightmare, but, thanks to the very decent and professional staff at the airport, it wasn't really. Except for a moment when I had to restrain myself from spinning around in the crush at gate 32 to shout "JUST GIVE THEM THE GODDAMN CREAM!!!" at a woman behind me who was refusing to understand that the no liquid/no gel rule applied to her, too, no matter how little she felt like stooping down and opening up her bag (which, incidentally, looked way too big to pass as hand luggage, but anyway).

En route to the airport, the friends we'd stayed with called to tell us that there was a major security alert, and that if we needed to stay another night or two, there was no problem. It wasn't much fun turning to the severely-hungover and not-too-flight-happy-in-normal-circumstances A to relay this news (the security alert bit, not the staying another night with our very fun and now very pregnant friends). It was even less fun reading the texts that miglior started sending me at five minute intervals, each one carrying a greater air of foreboding than the last. When you're standing in the check in area for US flights, the last words you want to read are "Critical Terrorist Alert" or "liquid device expected/sought". Any minute the frantic calls from our mothers were bound to start coming, and they did. But check-in went smoothly, as did screening, as did immigration, and though the boarding gate was a bit of a cattle mart, it would have been chaotic on any day, given the number of very small kids travelling with their self-righteous parents (of COURSE you can push past me because you've been "separated" from your husband. What is this, a mercy flight? Look, he's just over there. He's not being bundled into a flight going in another direction to you. You don't have to step on everyone's heads to get to him).

I don't think the ban on liquids, medicines aside, will have that terrible an effect on the experience of long-haul travel; it depends on whether the airlines decide to use it as an opportunity to make more money by charging for water and other non-alcoholic drinks. On the flight I took yesterday, you could have as much water as you needed after the seatbelt lights were switched off. The other liquids I gave up - moisturiser, foundation, lip gloss - are hardly essential for hand luggage. True, the skin on my face felt like an armadillo's arse afterwards, ca change. But I was emotionally reunited with pretty much everything I'd given up at the baggage carousel in JFK, where a pretty surly crew worked to match the plastic bags of duty-free and other liquids with their red-faced, impatient Irish owners. Any flight from Dublin to New York, after all, will have its fair share of women on shopping trips, and it's dangerous for them to be separated from their bottles of bronzer for too long. Mild panic had definitely set in.

Favourite moment of the whole experience, though, was when the young male flight attendant did his last whirl round the cabin with a huge bin bag looking for "shampoos, gels, anything like that". "Still looking?" someone asked him cheerily. "Yeah, and I'll be selling this lot up the front in half an hour," he said, to loud, prolonged laughter from our end of the plane. It was a huge release of tension. He continued on his search. "Any shampoos, gels, ipods...."

Thankfully, the New York in which we found ourselves was not the New York of last week, when temperatures hit 117 farenheit; yesterday was a bearable 78 degrees. Thunderstorms last night ensured that today is manageable, too. We're going to see Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in the amazing, surreal venue that is the disused pool at McCarren Park later today, and tomorrow we're going to a wedding of two friends who've recently moved back here (well, the groom has moved back, the bride has just moved here, full stop) up in Connecticut. So it's good to be back. But there is some bad news. I don't know whether I can call this blog by its current name for much longer. Why? Because yesterday, when we walked into the apartment, and when we looked out the kitchen window where our lovely view used to be, we saw this monstrosity.
This is how it used to look:
And it's only going to get taller. Even a Sashimi and Sushi Platter (that's 23 pieces of raw fish, folks! YUM) on Bedford Avenue couldn't make me feel better. Well, not much better.

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