Dealing with airports, Pucks way

1. arrive early, way early
2. Look around for the check-in desk and ticket office; store the location in your memory for later use.
3. Find the darkest corner of the airport; normally that’s where they keep the bar.
4. Get served and suppress the urge to check you haven’t accidentally travelled to the future, where the price of beer is roughly the same as gold, the trick here is to buy beer not spirits- the aim is to get comfortably drunk not conspicuously drunk.
5. Find the darkest corner of the dark corner bar.
6. Drink
7. Repeat.

The bars here at JFK are spacious, dark and free of cigarette smoke like a jigsaw with one piece missing. I’m on beer two and writing so no one mistakes my silence for an invitation for a polite conversation. A guy with his back to me is watching in fast-forward bootleg kickboxing from Brazil on his laptop, my kind of guy,
I’m trying to collect my thoughts about the last two months, box it off, draw a line under it, build a bridge and get over it. But it’s too soon, I’m too close.

Instead let me tell you about the last few days, Washington was cool, just what I needed, (thank you Dawn). After Washington I arrive in NY about eleven with no where to stay, after phoning round the hostels I find them all to be fully booked. SHIT so I have three options.

1. sleep rough
2. Go to the bus station and hang around for eleven hours or so till the hostels open in the morning
3. Find a hotel and damn the expense.

Guess which I took?

1. Fuck that
2. Double fuck that
3. Not enough cash

So for the lack of any real plan I start walking, vaguely hoping to be picked up by a female volleyball team looking for a nocturnal masseuse/plaything. After passing my second thugcrack gang with dogs I hail a taxi. I tell him to take me to a cheap hotel and put so much emphasis on the cheap he double checks the door locks after I get in. The ride is uneventful apart from the drivers breathing so wheezy I check that he is actually awake a couple of times, and we pass so many rough sleepers in doorways on park benches under gaps in walls that I decide to pay whatever they ask at the hotel and give the next homeless charity a large note next time I get a chance.

$98! !

The room cost $98 over a third of the money I had on me. The hotel is so far south of the city, it might actually be in hell. But as the saying goes, when life gives you poop, make poopaid. The bed was a double and there was a working bath. It was gone two before I finally crawled into the room but I figured an hour soaking in a hot bath is worth two hours sleep, so I fell asleep in the bath, which puts me three hours ahead by my reckoning.

Fast forward to today and after being politely phone rejected by my sixth hostel I phone a very nice lady at Virgin and persuaded her to waive the $200 rebooking fee and jam me on the flight tonight. (Thank you Theresa I hope your kids enjoy camp and your cold clears up soon.)

Walking past the bar is a platoon (squadron, whatever) of marines wearing desert khakis, some look young enough to I.D, a table next to me is applauding but everyone else has settled for looking away embarrassed. Hardly a ticker tape parade.
Wow my booze tolerance is way down, something to work on when I get back I suppose.
Two marines have just slunk in and ordered “two beers, whatever” its took them ten or so minutes after getting off the plane, which is ten or so minutes longer than it would have took me. Up close you can see the marines all have A B or C written on the back of their hand in Sharpie. I really hope this isn’t seating allocation, if it is I can understand the dire situation over there. I’m starting to like these guys, I don’t think they are supposed to be drinking, they hide there beers when other uniforms go past.

Due to the excellent entertainment systems offered by Virgin, the next time I write will be in England but I think the image of two uniformed marines hiding beer from there boss in a smokeless bar like schoolchildren a nicely silly one.

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