Monday, October 26, 2009

Hew-ston (the city in TX, not the street in SoHo: How-ston)

Last Wednesday was a flawless autumn morning in New York City. The sun poked its warm rays through the cracks between the buildings and cast bright warm light on the streets, awakening them from their dark slumber. The temperature was in the mid 60s. The rich fragrance of coffee filled the air. The coffee that is sold from carts in little iconic cups with Greek figures on them. (Why do all NYC coffee carts have Greek figures adorning their cups anyhow?) Newspaper vendors shouted out "New Yawk Post! Get it heeah!" (I didn't get one. Instead I usually opt for the free version- "AM New York").

I took the bus across 125th Street and the Triborough Bridge (renamed something ridiculous, like RFK Bridge.....waste of tax money- in my opinion- to repost all the street signs, reprint all the maps, etc.) Anyhow, also a waste of time to be bothered by something so trivial. I was on my way out of the city that I love so much on this gorgeous morning. I was on my way to Houston! Except I have to get used to saying "Hew-ston", as opposed to "How-ston". Because here it is a carnal tourist sin to pronounce it like one would pronounce in Texas. How-ston is a street, and it is about as far from Hew-ston as one can get.

Both flights coming and going were fabulous. I had the exit row window seat. On the way there, the poor young boy in the middle seat, who was probably not more than 21 or 22 fell asleep on my shoulder. I didn't mind a bit, because his aftershave smelled so fresh and wonderful. When he awoke, there was some turbulence and he grabbed my arm. Poor dear. "Completely normal," I assured him, "we are just going through a cloud. That's all." He asked me how I knew so much. I told him I had years of experience. "Is it because you live in New York?" he asked. "That, and because I've been around the block a time or two," I explained to him, smiling.

Why was I (such an expert on clouds and turbulance) flying to Hew-ston, you ask? Because I was visiting my BFF from high school, JoAnn, whom I affectionately call "JoAnnieeee". She is a flight attendant. She used to be Newark based, and lived right across the Hudson in Jersey City, but several years ago she moved to the more senior base for her airline in Houston. Here we are now:

Here we are in High School. Kind of a strange shot, but I couldn't find any others that I had scanned. I was in the "milk maid" uniform. Those were our Summer majorette outfits and that was at the "band festival" in Ohio. Her hair was darker, mine was lighter. I don't think we've aged much:
On this visit to Houston, we saw a very funny comedian named "Pam Ann". Pam Ann does a spoof on the Flight Attendant industry. We sat in the very front row at the University of Houston's auditorium ("First Class" as Pam Ann calls it.) Here is a link to part of her routine, which I have perfectly imitated (if I do say so myself.) In fact, one of my friends told me yesterday that I should just speak in this voice all the time, because I've got the accent and this skit down perfectly:

I also met up with my long-time friend Buddy. (Why the heck did we not take a picture, Buddy, if you're reading this??) and also with my friends from Semester at Sea: Hayley and Kate Berge. JoAnn was so patient, because the three of us cracked up hysterically remembering funny things that happened while we were on the ship and we also kept finding people who looked like people we knew from the ship. Which was even more hilarious after drinking margaritas. Why does tequila always make everything so much sillier than normal??

Other than that, not much to report. It occurred to me that I started this blog over a year ago for the purpose of recording my voyage around the world in writing. I feel very evolved since then. A ship, some new friends, a trek around the globe.....all of those things do wonders for one's soul. I was reading a book the other day referencing Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", which I had read in high school. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember that there was a cave with just shadows that were formed by fire light on the wall of the cave. And then there was everything outside of the cave. Real images. The people confined to the cave only saw shadows and nothing else. Simply reflections of the real world. The cave symbolized a world of "becoming" and outside the cave was the world of "being". I think I am out of the cave now. I feel like I've gained such a rich knowledge, a new perspective and understanding of things. (That guy sitting next to me on the plane was definitely on to something!) Images that were merely shadows before, have gained some form.
Don't get me wrong though- I'm still learning things as I go. The voyage doesn't ever really stop. I am still stuck in a cave though, when it comes to dating. Nothing ever happened with that situation in the previous blog, in case you were wondering. Have met several other potential suitors in the meantime, but can't seem to really figure out what happens with them. The light goes out and the shadows disappear. But I do have a few in my peripheral vision. Now they just have to come to light and to true form. So now when I get my morning cup of joe in the Greek coffee cup, I'll be reminded of Plato's allegory.
And now it comes full circle. Those Greeks were pretty smart cookies. And as for me, well, the odessey really just never ends.