So this is my 2nd and last night in beautiful downtown......Brooklyn, I think?
Brooklyn, Ohio. Yeah, I think that sounds right. As far as I can tell, it consists of a Friday's restaurant, a business park and a Hampton Inn. The latter location is where I am currently fighting with the heating/cooling unit and listening to the train rumble past, roughly 3 feet from my window.
Other than that, I have very few problems with my room. It's superficially clean, which is about all you can realistically hope for, the water pressure in the shower is decent, and while there was a very suspect half-inch brown smear on the front edge of the toilet seat, the rest of the bathroom is spotless. I cleaned the smear off with a washcloth and tossed it into the garbage can.
I'm sitting here listening to Wilco and wondering what to write about. I'm working on about combined seven hours of sleep over the last two days, so if none of this makes sense, I apologize in advance. I think I'll just tell you a little about my trip.
The toilet issue above makes me think that so far, this trip seems germier than most. Maybe my germaphobic tendencies are getting worse, or maybe people are just becoming more disgusting over time, but this trip seems worse than normal for some reason. Some of it was even self-inflicted, but I'll get to that in a bit.
It all started with the button on the ticket machine at the long-term airport parking garage. I pulled my car up, rolled my window down and reached out to push the button when I realized that there was something blobby and kind of red smeared on it. I'm not sure what it was. I am sure I don't ever want to know. For my sanity, I am calling it strawberry jelly. It helps me sleep better at night. I pushed the bare edge of the button and took my ticket with a shudder. After I parked the car, I walked to the terminal and picked up my boarding pass.
My next airport run-in was with the licky lady. She was stationed at the security check, sitting up on her little stool, looking over the top of her cats-eye glasses that were perched precariously on the tip of her nose. "Boarding pass and ID, please," she said, holding out one latex glove-covered hand. I handed her both the boarding pass and my driver's license.
If you've ever picked up your boarding pass via one of the kiosks, you know they dispense them on thermal paper, which is very, very thin. Apparently, too thin to separate from the folder easily. You know what makes it easier? Giving a good, solid lick to your filthy, rubber-clad finger with your knobbly old tongue first.
She wrote something on my boarding pass with her pen and then held up my license for inspection.
"Second row on the left," she said, handing me back my license and boarding pass. I could still see the little glistening spitspots drying on my license. I wrapped it in the boarding pass and tried to forget about it as I bent to take off my shoes.
I tossed them into one of the buckets, grabbed another one for my laptop and pulled all the crap out of my pockets. The guy in front of me was doing the same. I tossed my backpack on the conveyor belt.
"Do you have any gels, liquids or creams?" the security guard working the X-ray machine asked the guy in front of me.
"Yes, just the normal shampoo and toothpaste-type stuff," he answered.
"Can you remove it from your bag, please?" the security guard asked.
The man pulled a clear ziplock bag from his duffle. The security guard poked at it, and then spotted something.
He rooted around in the guy's bag for a second, then pulled out an extra-large tube of Preparation H with a 3-inch nozzle.
"The limit on tubes and bottles is 3.4 ounces," he said, holding it up. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate this."
The guy didn't argue. I think he just wanted to toss himself into the gears of the x-ray machine and call it a day. At least his ass wouldn't hurt any more. The rest of the ziploc bag passed through the machine without incident. The guy was so flustered, he left his laptop in the bucket and I had to point it out to him.
I was next.
"Do you have any gels, liquids or creams?"
"Uh, yes," I said. "Just the normal, uh, you know, toiletries and whatnot."
Toiletries and whatnot? Where the fuck did that come from? Who am I? The Queen of England?
"Take them out for me, please."
I took them out of my backpack, nervous, yet smug in the knowledge that the time I spent transferring shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste into small 3-ounce bottles was not wasted.
As I put the bag on the conveyor belt, I noticed something. My ziploc bag was vibrating. The guard noticed it too. He looked up at me and arched an eyebrow, clearly waiting for me to explain what he was seeing.
"Electric Toothbrush," I said sheepishly, opening the bag and holding it up for all to see, just to dispel any confusion. I clicked it off and shoved it back in.
After I made it through the security check, I survived a momentary gross out when I realized that while I was packing my computer and my "toiletries and what-not" into my backpack, I held my boarding pass and driver's license pursed between my lips. Is it any wonder we are all going to die of swine flu? No, it is not.
(As an aside, is it just me, or does everyone else feel like they are about to get called out for smuggling drugs or explosives or something when they go through these checkpoints? I'm always expecting someone to walk up to the head guy, whisper something, point directly at me, and the next thing I know I'll be on the ground with some TSA agent's foot on my neck while another one cuffs me. )
After that, I went to grab a cup of coffee at starbucks, and the woman making it coughed directly into her hand and then used it to press the lid on my coffee. I brought it over to the sugar/cream stand, and then promptly dropped the lid on the floor. I picked it up, thought fuck it, and put it back on. I was already dead.
My last gross out on the way here was, as you've probably surmised, bathroom related. Right before boarding, I decided I'd make a quick run to the men's room to get rid of some of that coffee I had ingested. As I was standing there doing my business, I realized I was standing in a puddle of piss. Nothing out of the ordinary there, I guess. I rotated to the outside of my feet to keep as much of my shoe off the ground as possible, but the damage was done. I walked out just in time for our flight to board. As I was stuffing my backpack under my seat, I realized something. The only place to put my newly contaminated piss feet was right on top of my bag.
Man, I hate traveling.
It's late and I have an early shuttle to catch to the airport in the morning, so I'll have to tell you about the rest of the trip tomorrow. I'll give you a hint: It involves heavy drinking, other peoples' dirty balls and socks of unknown origin.
You can't go wrong with that combo.