Saturday, May 12, 2007

First Beach Trip 2007

I'm on vacation with my friends. We’ve been so excited about this trip since we booked it months ago. I find it funny that people who live in New York do so because “they can’t imagine living anywhere else” yet they always seem to be dying to get out of the city. I am one of those people today. I just got back from the Bay Area last Sunday and I’d been dying to leave again ever since. But I think I am more excited to hang at the beach with my friends than anxious to leave New York.

Anyway, I almost didn’t make it on the trip. Our flight was at 6 AM. ML was going to meet me at my place so he and I could take the same car, which I scheduled to pick us up at 4:30. The plan was set! Yay! – except for the fact I woke up at 4:47…with 10 missed calls on my phone. I was like a crazy woman – running around my apartment, grabbing things and throwing them in the suitcase.

I was out the door and hailing a cab at 5:06 and, finally, after three cabs refused to take me to the airport, I was in Omar’s cab at 5:13 on the way to JFK. I travel a lot, so I know that it takes at least 30 minutes to get there from my apartment. I also know that the flight closes 10 minutes before departure and that I didn’t have any cash with me. So essentially, Omar and I were both screwed. I was certain I was going to miss my flight. So certain that I’d already made a plan as to how I was going to somehow make the Crown Room feel like a beach while I sipped “mile-high” mojitos all day waiting to be re-booked.

But, alas, Omar came through in the clutch and got me to the airport in 17 minutes. SEVENTEEN MINUTES!!! I have no idea how this even happened as I was too busy working on my “Crown Room” beach plan to pay attention. And when I explained my cash situaion, he even agreed to let me send him the money…gave me his address and everything. I gave him a credit card – yeah, I obviously have no fear of identity theft – and told him that he could trust me, but just so he knew I was serious, if he doesn’t get anything from me in a week, he can use it. (it has a low limit and I never use it and I know it was a stupid idea, but my brain wasn’t on yet…remember I hadn’t even been up for an hour.) I threw his address in my bag and ran into the airport – with 20 minutes to get through security and to the gate to board.

I’m a professional traveler. So I pack just like the TSA tells me to and can usually fly through security. But it was today that the TSA dude needed to check my bag. I couldn’t imagine the reason – it was the small one that I always travel with, containing my laptop, little travel pillow, about 47 magazines, 5 charges, my DS Lite, and, oh yeah, a plastic bag of grits. Yup! He thought the grits might be drugs.

It was a pretty funny conversation, once I told him what they were. It went something like this:

Mr. TSA: You travel with grits? Now that’s a first.
Me: Not usually, but I’m writing a cookbook on Grits and I’m going to the beach (in…er… like 2 minutes) and I wanted to make them tonight for dinner.
Mr. TSA: What kinda grits are those?
Me: Yellow stone-ground.
Mr. TSA: Them ain’t real grits. Real grits come in a blue box.
Me: Those are instant, these take an hour to cook (why am I even having this conversation?).
Mr. TSA: I should make you some real grits. You want some real grits?
Me: (no – I want to get on my plane) Sure.
Mr. TSA: (walks over to counter, writes something down and comes back to hand it to me) Alright, well you call me when you’re back and I’ll make you some grits.

I think Mr. TSA was hitting on me – maybe I’ll invite him and Omar over for a fantastic grits dinner.

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