Saturday, February 28, 2015

A night in New York.

Uncle Slappy, Aunt Sylvie and my younger daughter, Hannah, arrived last night. No special occasion, they just  all decided that since the other one was coming, they might as well come too. 

In our atomized world, it's very rare for families to get together. I only wish my older daughter could have driven down from Boston to make it a real reunion. Alas.

It's been a heckish couple of weeks for me, culminating in an agency discussion I didn't want to have, and though I felt like crawling inside a Whiskey bottle (and I don't even drink) instead, I fired up the Simca and drove out to LaGuardia to pick them up.

The Grand Central--which is blithely called a 'parkway'--was crazy in the night. Straggling commuters were rushing home to Kew Gardens or Massapequa and a Golden Horde of wayward taxi cabs was descending upon one of the world's most obsolete airports.

I dodged Dodges, tiptoed past Toyotas, and hustled by Hondas and finally took the Simca out of gear and waited for my family in a secluded spot off the beaten track not far from the American terminal. In short order, a fire-plug of a cop sidled by and tapped on my window. I opened my door to talk to him.

"Your window don't work," he asked.

"No," I said, winding it down. "It's a little recalcitrant in the cold. The door's easier."

"You know this is an active pick-up and discharge area. Let me see your license."

"I'm waiting for my 86-year-old Aunt and Uncle," I said, handing him my documents.

He sidled back ten minutes later like Gary Cooper in "High Noon."

"Get out of here," he said. "Drive around the perimeter."

I complied. Of course, the perimeter signage is about as decipherable as the "London Times'" Cryptic Puzzle translated in Cuneiform. I took a wrong turn somewhere and found myself in the long-term parking lot. 

"What the hell," I said to myself. "I shoulda had them take a taxi. I'm in for $40 in this lot." A cab is $25.

I sat in a special space--a Priority Executive Gold VIP space, because everything in the world today is segregated by cash--and I waited for my cell to ring. It did in about twelve minutes.

It was the breathtakingly level-headed Hannah. She had already collected Aunt Sylvie and Uncle Slappy and her roller bag. I drove to an appointed place and picked the threesome up.

We then drove to Patsy's Pizzeria, one of the last vestiges of East Harlem that is still Italian. They have a coal-fired brick oven and make one of New York's surpassing pizzas. We picked up a few pies and a salad and drove home from there.

We feasted on the pies, chatted until 11 and then I went to bed, as did Aunt Sylvie, while Uncle Slappy and my wife stayed up chatting.

In all, a pleasant end. 

To a horribly crappy day.

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