Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Forgotten Celebrity Sighting

Geez... so many celebrities, so little time. I forgot that we saw... wait for it, wait for it... Usher!

Ben and I, much like celebrities ourselves, moseyed out of the club for elite flyers at JFK (thanks to Ben's work trips). No overcrowded and loud terminals for us during the Thanksgiving rush! We did it right.

Instead, we enjoyed the perks of the club. We surfed the (free) internet in (free) overstuffed chairs while drinking and snacking on (free) food. We relaxed in solitude and used private restrooms. We breathed freshly circulated air as our phones charged in one of the many available outlets. Yes, the club and its amenities definitely helped us cope with the stress of traveling. Wink, wink.

We worked hard to hide our relaxed demeanors and protruding bellies as we sauntered out of club and to the terminal. We stood off to the side, not ready to join the masses quite yet. The upper crust must always have felt this way too, I thought. I browsed through a celebrity gossip magazine when Ben poked my arm.

"It's Usher!" he whispered.

I quickly hid the magazine under my arm. Couldn't let Usher catch me reading such sordid and trashy writing. Embarrassing.

I distinguished him among his entourage within seconds thanks to his faux hawk and dark sunglasses. He and his entourage strolled by and disappeared through a neighboring gate and onto a plane headed to Atlanta. I ran to the gate door and relished the last few seconds of second hand stardom.

Usher surprised me. Not only did he forgo hidden hallways and security to get through JFK, but he took his sweet time doing it. Usher knew best... "Ain't gotta rush... I just wanna take it nice and slow."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another Celebrity Sighting

Well, time to add another celebrity sighting to the list... Russell Simmons!

My girlfriend invited me to her bachelorette party in East Hampton, which I eagerly accepted. We stayed at her future mother-in-law's four bedroom house nestled among big trees with a private pool in the backyard.  Where do I find these friends?!

One night, we ate dinner at the Georgica restaurant, which turned into a lounge/dance club later in the evening. As we ate, the waiters prepared the table across from us for a large and, obviously, wealthy party. They fluffed the flowers. Refolded some napkins. Brought out bottles of Cristal.

You know, the usual.

The party trickled in... mostly models, all young. Then, in waltzed the big dawg... Russell Simmons! I almost choked on my steak.

Later, in the VIP section of the lounge, Russell and his bevy of 20-year old models danced right beside us. Normally, the bouncers would bar me from VIP, but apparently the bachelorette party proved to be my ticket into the upper echelon of society that night. Our group danced right beside Russell. So close, in fact, his sweat flung onto me and my ponytail whipped one of the glamazons in his entourage. I used every awesome dance move in my arsenal in case he needed a short, blonde to employ in one of his multi-million dollar businesses.

Still have yet to hear from him.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cost Effective Traveling

Ben and I found a cheaper way to travel from NYC to home... the Sky Horse Chinatown bus company. We pay $30 during the week or $50 on the weekends to ride a charter bus from Chinatown in NYC to Cincinnati, Ohio. The trip takes 12 hours. We leave a "bus station" in Chinatown at 10pm and arrive at a Chinese restaurant/Perkins parking lot in Cincinnati at 10am.

Quite a deal.

The first time we took the bus, we prepared poorly for the long journey. But, the second time, we came ready. We learned from our mistakes.

We took shots of NyQuil. We wore comfy clothing. We brought neck pillows. We donned eye masks. We wore earbuds and listened to a "nap time" playlist. We munched on pre-packed apple slices.

I left no stone unturned, nothing to chance. We took the 12-hour journey very seriously.

The NyQuil made the journey smoother. It calmed my nerves. The bus drivers weren't necessarily bad drivers, just speedy. The swerving and the feeling of veering off cliffs often startled me awake. At times, I mistook us for extras in the movie Speed or The Fast and the Furious. Except, Keanu and Vin Diesel did not appear to slow down our bus.

Our bus made four stops during the 12-hour journey. The first stop happened at about 2am at a truck stop somewhere in Pennsylvania. We switched drivers there and took our only bathroom break.

The second stop happened at an abandoned hotel in West Virginia. The driver opened the bus door, yelled "West Virginia," booted riders, slammed the door shut, and then peeled out of the parking lot with (I imagine) a wicked grin on his face.

The third stop was on a side street in downtown Columbus, Ohio. We ran into a little problem on the way into Columbus because a marathon blocked most streets. The marathon made our driver very unhappy. He yelled a few choice words and drove down several streets to park elsewhere. People with suitcases ran from every direction and chased the bus, afraid of missing their one way to Cincinnati.

The fourth stop happened in Dayton, Ohio. We pulled into a strip mall parking lot where the driver yelled "Dayton." He again booted riders, slammed the door, and peeled out of the parking lot at a rather high speed.

We left skid marks all the way from New York to Cincinnati.

At each stop, the passengers looked uneasily at each other. The driver spoke with a thick accent, so the city names sounded a little different from how a native New Yorker or Buckeye might pronounce them. People constantly checked their cell phones and googled our locations to confirm our whereabouts.

As we left Dayton and drove onto the entrance ramp to the interstate, a guy seated in the middle of the bus yelled "STOP! I need off!" Ben and I looked at each other. Poor guy. Obviously, there was no going back.

Or was there?

The driver swerved to the right ON THE ENTRANCE RAMP and slammed on the brakes. He opened the door without a word. The guy jumped out of the bus, ran across a ditch, climbed over a fence, and then walked toward town.

I. Did. Not. Make. That. Up.

We arrived in Cincinnati an hour ahead of schedule... efficient or, perhaps, very scary. We relaxed at a Perkins restaurant and gave thanks for surviving the trip until our parents arrived to drive us home.

It's safe to say that if we survived the Chinatown bus trip twice, then we will survive anything.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Where To Go?

One of my greatest fears living in New York City has nothing to do with robberies, muggings, or even murders. It has more to do with john. Or, should I say, The John... as in the toilet.

We live in an old, old brownstone with some equally old plumbing. I fear that one day the plumbing will break and leave us without a useable toilet. Ben says I'm crazy.

Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not.

We only have one bathroom in our apartment. We don't know any of our neighbors. The nearest and only "free" public restroom (in Starbucks, of course) is one avenue and two blocks away. In an emergency, one avenue and two blocks is pretty far.

So, the person who said "The only thing to fear is fear itself" obviously never lived in New York and always had the pleasure of having multiple johns in his home.