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Friday, January 27, 2006

The cat's out of the bag.

I was ready. I was certain I was all packed. I had taken out the trash, removed all perishable items from the fridge, and emptied both the garbage can and the cat box. I had made a last minute dash to the "Everything Cheap and Crappy Store"--which I think is actually called something like "Discount and More"--to utilize their 99 cent internet connection and 50 cent printing service to whip up my itinerary. The "Discount and More" computer center consists of two Dells and a printer sandwiched between the consistently empty hot dog rotisserie and the E-Z Wider rack. High tech, my neighborhood is, let me tell you.

I called my local car service, scooped up my bags and waited in the vestibule for my chariot. Luckily, I remember that I had forgotten my iPod charger. I say "luckily" because upon returning to my apartment I also realized that I had forgotten the cat.

At the time, it seemed like a bad omen.

I'd never flown with a pet before, and didn't know what to expect. I bought kitty her ticket ($80! And she doesn't even get a pack of peanuts or little headphones) and proceeded to the gate. Assuming that they didn't expect me to load her into the x-ray machine I made a move to carry her through the metal detector. Not so! I was instructed to turn around pronto, remove the cat from the bag, and walk the cat through the detector while sending the empty pet carrier through on its own.

"...and could you please remove your laptop from its bag and place it in a separate bin, Ma'am? And your purse, too. And your scarf, please. Yes, and put the pet bag in a different bin as well. And please take out your boarding pass."

I realize these are security-conscious times. But this is New York and I didn't relish the idea of all my stuff plowing ahead of me in various bus-tubs waiting to be stolen while I held up the line during my "That's just my belt." dance under the metal detector while clutching a cat. I had even asked the nice security man if he'd help me chase the cat around Laguardia should she wriggle free. He said no.

While manoevering my belongings I was muttering about my situation and the man behind me in line was getting ready to go through the detector. Without looking up I advised him to cut ahead since I might be a spell, what with juggling a live animal and all, and in a thick gravelly NYC voice he asked what kind of animal it was, probably hoping for something exotic. Great voice. A serious brooklyn accent. Crunchy and squeaky and breathy all at once. Sort of like Colin Quinn's. I hadn't even left the airport (hell, I hadn't even gotten to the gate) and his voice made me homesick. The prospect of two whole weeks away from home suddenly wasn't as appealing as it was before. "Just a plain ol' cat", I explained. "Garden variety."

Poor guy got pulled to the side at random for a full inspection while kitty and I fumbled. I fumbled with my luggage and she fumbled in hers. Once safely at the gate, I went to the newsstand to buy a book for my flight (as is my travel custom) and heard that familiar voice again. He remarked that there was little available non-fiction at the kiosk, which I had also just noticed. I have nothing against fiction, but I tend to eat my fiction in the form of movies or television. So I turned to him and mentioned that yes, there wasn't much there that interested me and, it turns out, it actually was Colin Quinn, still possessing the same mischievous glint in his eye I remember from back in the "Remote Control" days. I asked him for some reading suggestions, steering him away from the hardcover new releases because I already had enough to carry. After perusing the shelves he settled on a choice between either A Million Little Pieces or Confessions of an Economic Hit Man because although they were both technically non-fiction they shared the reputation for potentially being fiction. Having no interest in drug-fuled mania (well, maybe a passing interest) I went with the latter.

This trip is an adventure already. And I'm still at the airport.
posted by missbhavens @ 10:29 AM |


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