It’s been exactly one year since I last blogged from this free-wireless/sushi bar inside the airport, and once again I’m in love. But this time, I’ve got a MacBook. Why is it so hard to find free wireless in an airport? Why is JFK the only airport that truly loves you?

A few mornings ago I attempted the impossible: get my mother, my sister and me all on a train heading to NYC. Mom hadn’t seen the city since 1976, and my sister has only gone one other time, with me last year. They were so “whatever” about getting on the train, even though I asked if we could leave a little earlier, since we’d never caught the train in this particular city before.

So, of course, we leave about fifteen minutes before the train is due to arrive. You can pretty much nail the moment my mom’s going to realize she’s taken a wrong turn. The impression I like to do of it involves her driving but turning her head over one shoulder, quietly saying, “Oh.” (There’s a reason I’m at the airport almost three hours before my flight. I’m adhering to the Blau Travel Code of getting here before my flight’s even listed on the departure screen, but I knew I had to get my mom out of the house and on our way to JFK at least five hours before my flight. We left at 11:30, and in the time it took to get from the front door to the front seat of the car, my mother somehow lost the directions. We both looked everywhere for them, looking longer than it would have taken just to print them again, which is what we ended up doing. They disappeared like Master Shake dropping something onto his living room floor. We ended up on the wrong road twice, and once Mom slowed her car to a complete stop on the feeder road of a highway, because she wasn’t sure if it was okay to go. I was texting my cousin the entire time: “MIGHT DIE ON MY WAY TO THE AIRPORT. YOU CAN HAVE THE CATS.”)

Mom did take a wrong turn on our way to the train station, when the train was ten minutes out. We eventually got to the station, but couldn’t figure out where to park.

I ran up to the platform to figure out where to purchase tickets as my mother and sister drove around trying to figure out where it would be safe to leave the car. The lot said it was permit only, and I found a machine that said once you enter the parking space number, the machine would spit out a permit.

My mom and sister are on the other side of the parking lot, out of earshot. I’m gesturing wildly to them so I can ask for the parking lot number. They’re pointing in some random direction. Frustated, I yank my cell phone out of my pocket and hit the number for my sister.

“Hello?”

“I need the number of where you are parked.”

“What?”

“Where you’re parked. I need the number. It should be on the ground or something. Hurry, hurry, because the train’s coming, and I don’t know how this permit thing works, but I bet we have to put it on the car.”

Silence. My sister is looking at me, but not moving.

“Look on the ground around your car,” I tell her. “There should be a number. I’ll get the permit, just hurry!”

I can see my mom still pointing at some other lot, like she wants me to know she’s out of here. The train is less than three minutes away and I’ve yet to purchase tickets. My sister is now pointing in the same direction as my mother, and both of them are waving at me, smiling.

At this point, I got seriously impatient with my family.

“What the fuck is with the pointing?” I shout. “I’m just asking you to tell me the number of the damn parking space! Why can’t you do that? Why do you keep pointing?”

And then I hear, “You have the wrong number.”

Panic.

Click.

Merry Christmas.

I head over to my sister, quickly tell her the story, and she collapses into my arms in giggles. I run to the platform and purchase three tickets as my mother tries to opt out of the trip once again and someone tells us there are no permits and you just leave the car there and someone puts some kind of envelope on your car while you’re gone and then my sister decides to check to see if the car is locked as the train arrives and we’re screaming for her to run back as we hold the train doors open and somehow, somehow, everybody gets on the train.

I show my sister all of the phone numbers I’ve got for her, from all the different cities she’s lived in over the past couple of years. She laughs and says that there’s some poor girl who gets calls all the time for her in Texas. People always impatient like I was, answering, “Where the HELL are you?”

This morning my sister left for work without waking me up to say goodbye. I grabbed my cell phone to text her, “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY GOODBYE? I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU.”

My sister calls an hour later, wondering if we’ve gotten up. No, she didn’t get a text. I realize that in the Treo Suicide of 2006, I lost the updated address for my sister. So now that woman I screamed at just a couple of days ago thinks I’m in love with her and can’t figure out why we didn’t hang up the phone properly.

I’ve been working on the sitcom script all this week, so this trip became just as much business as pleasure, but with the amount of time I’ve spent with my family, every second quickly became research. At this point, I think I can legally expense just about every moment.

… Flight delayed? Thirty minutes, at least? Who cares?! Jet Blue! Wooo! Waitress, I’m gonna need an order of salmon sushi, please. Yay!

… I am aware that this is probably not a normal reaction. I just can’t help it.

[p.s. — dear marcy. i bet you miss my cell phone. GOOD. by the way, you only beat me in the 80’s trivia game because i was too busy being mortified. love you!]