Thursday, October 25, 2012
I board an American Airlines flight in Curaçao and spend an hour praying my way through the heaviest turbulence I’ve ever experienced. Eyes shut. Sweaty fists clamped. Stomach turning and turning… Only to get stuck in immigration for 2 hours. Then spend another 4 hours in line to rebook my (missed) connecting flight to Newark, NJ.
2:30 am. Achy feet and new boarding pass for 8 am flight in hand, Guillermo the kind and calm 70-ish year old man from Bogota, Colombia, behind me in line suggested to Gloria, the 60-ish year old woman from San Salvador, in front of me, that we all grab a meal together… To celebrate our early morning flights, “we could’ve been on late afternoon flights!”
My old friends are avid walkers (you can tell by their healthy weight and sensible sneakers). Unclear if we were grabbing dinner or breakfast, we set our sights on Subway. I complained about achy feet (it’s official: Tory Burch flats suck) and struggled to keep my eyes open, but still managed to devour my Club sandwich, a treat from Guillermo who refuses to let women pay. Guillermo was en route to his only daughter in Ontario, moral support for her second mastectomy. Gloria was returning from visiting her daughters and grandchildren in San Salvador, her first trip in 12 years (she couldn’t leave the country due to “paperwork”)
Friday, November 02, 2012
Mismatched clothes, floppy red hat, sensible sneakers, feeling displaced by my lack of power, structure and productivity post-Sandy, I find myself seeking warmth and comfort in piping hot pork-filled soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai on 56th Street between 5th and 6th Ave, right next to the frightening “Dangling Crane”. Joe’s reminds me of an old love (who happens to be getting married this week), my crazy investment banking days (my old office is across the street), my parents (a family tradition since 2009).
No stranger to solo lunch, and feeling guilty about my loss of work, I plop down and set up my laptop. The lady next to me is nibbling at her dumplings and wandering for conversation… She’s slightly embarrassed to tell me that she had just picked up her New York Marathon number at the Javits Center. An avid traveler (Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Maui) this will be her 5th marathon – her first New York marathon, the world’s largest passes through all 5 boroughs – and she expects to be taking lots of iPhone photos along the way.
She asks if I know anything about Staten Island. The Marathon Start Line is currently a devastating wasteland, home to the highest number of Sandy-related deaths (19) and damage. I cringe and feel extremely lucky, sucking on my delicious warm dumplings. I’m not sure what to tell Beth (at this point we’re on first name basis) about the marathon — though uplifting, unifying and business-savvy, my sense is that the marathon is premature — so I tell her that I’m working on 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao.
She surprises me with this iPhone photo of her three colorful Nena Sanchez* prints hanging above her treadmill in Salt Lake City. (Turns out Curaçao is her favorite Caribbean island. She visited with her husband in 2009 and I can tell she’ll be back by the twinkle in her eyes.)
Nena Sanchez is most certainly an Awesome thing about Curaçao. (Danny and I visited her amazing studio in Landhuis Jan Kok, overlooking Flamingos, 3 weeks ago) I’ll post about her and other Awesome things as soon as things settle down!
A few hours later, enjoying some free Starbucks WiFi on Columbus Circle
(“Dangling Crane” lurking behind the initial Marathon preparations along the Central Park Finish Line), I overhear the guy next to me tell his girlfriend that Mayor Bloomberg has canceled the Marathon.
Too much, too soon, even for this resilient city in recovery.