Wednesday, April 4

Way back in December of 2003, I attended a TWOP Recappers Summit in Las Vegas. I was living in New York and working around the clock at the time, attempting to balance the endless rigors of my two ersatz careers: working in publicity and singing Christmas carols at a loud Italian restaurant. This strange crunch time led to my only being able to go to Vegas for seventy-two hours, a trip which legend has retold as, “Dan got off the plane, had a martini with Pamie, a cup of tea with Tara, and turned around and got right back on that plane.” I was also in the grips of a hateful death cold that had caused me to lose my voice completely, a distinct occupational hazard when attempting to 1) tell journalists to write a story about the director of the Shall We Dance remake or 2) choke out the tenor part of “Sleigh Ride” to drunk patrons at a loud Italian restaurant.

I got myself to McCarran Airport on Sunday morning, where I came face to face with a departure board lit up in red with the word “CANCELLED.” The east coast was socked in with snow, the airport in Vegas looked like a refugee camp that had been outfitted with “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine games, and ground control back at JFK indicated that we probably wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while. Then I got to the Jet Blue terminal, where my flight to New York was not only scheduled to take off, it was also slated to land on time.

Now, this was a snow EVENT in New York, one which, if memory serves, kept Sarah from being able to make it to the summit at all. So it was with some trepidation that I even checked in. It was sixty degrees and sunny in Vegas, but what on earth were we flying into?

The nice Jet Blue man at the gate clearly felt our concern, to the point where he invited all of the passengers (and we all went) behind the counter to look at the latest satellite map. It was still snowing in New York and only one runway at JFK was open, but by the time we were to arrive in New York the storm would have moved through just enough for us to land. I closed my eyes, convinced myself that Jet Blue had somehow forgotten to register itself with the FAA, and held my breath for four hours until we were safely on the ground in New York. I may be wrong about this, but I actually think we landed a few minutes early.

Cut to present day. I’m usually annoyingly up on the news, but I’ve just come off a very, very long couple of months at work that have left me clueless as to what is going on the world. I heard about Jet Blue’s public relations disaster back in February, and rather than vowing never to fly the airline again, I thought, “This is the same mentality that got me to New York on time.” Knowing I had some time off coming up, I booked a flight on Jet Blue from Burbank to JFK. My seat assignment? Row 1, seat on the aisle. Clearly I was only person on the planet who had interpreted other people’s misfortune to have been stuck on a runway for eleven hours as “the groovy moxie of an airline that loved too much.”

I am currently in the middle of my first day of a three-week break. I finished my show and I’m on my way to New York to see the friends, family, and places I haven’t seen in over a year. I thought about doing something really dramatic and exotic like going on some extended vision quest to Europe to find myself, but, honestly, I am about a hundred years old and I’ve pretty much done all of the finding that I have in me. I don’t need to be in Paris by myself.

I woke up at 6:30 this morning, said goodbye to Eric, hugged the cats for the better part of an hour, packed all of the stuff I didn’t need (I’m going to read six books? Really?) and probably forgot the stuff that I did need (whither all of my prescription medication, I wonder?), and tapped my fingers while Pamie navigated her way to my house so we could go out to breakfast. After two cups of coffee and a panini literally dripping brie (so much for losing ten pounds while I’m on vacation), I checked my watch and listened as Pamie gently mocked, “Yep. Four whole planes flying out of Burbank today and you need to have the opportunity to be on all of them.”

I arrived three hours early. To hell with all of you.

But…BUT! There’s weather in New York again, and my flight had already been delayed an additional half-hour by the time I got to the gate. However, the previous Jet Blue flight to New York had been delayed two hours (planes spend so much time in the sky and no one has figured out a way for them to fly in the rain yet, am I right, girls?), so I crossed my fingers and approached the gate. I chatted with the two nice Jet Blue ladies (Theresa and Nicole) for five minutes about getting on the earlier flight, and with a little begging (they thought the standby seats would all be taken) I asked to be added to the list. I’m very charming. Ten minutes later, they paged me to the desk over the intercom, which is a first for me. I walked over as quickly as I could, so gleeful at the possibility of getting out of Burbank on an earlier flight that I blurted out, “You guys made me feel totally famous!” They asked me if I wanted them to do the announcement again so that the whole airport could hear it, and I asked them which button they could press so that my name could also be heard at LAX. There were still seats available on the earlier flight, but my bag was already on the later plane, so I would have to wait until the second plane came in anyway. Except, wait. They can check on that. They did, and ten minutes later I looked outside to see my little blue bag sailing across the tarmac on a little cart and getting loaded onto the first plane. And here I am, sitting in the third row on the aisle of a shockingly full plane. A two-row demotion isn’t a bad trade-off for getting into New York two hours early. I have so far finished three back issues of Entertainment Weekly, pretended I was going to start the new Vanity Fair, and slept through the better part (at least I assume it was the better part, as the part I saw wasn’t better than much of anything) of A Night At The Museum. Why so angry, Ben Stiller? What’d the T-Rex ever do to you?

So, here I am. Three weeks out of LA. Since I moved there, I have always maintained that there should be a law on the books in the state of California that if you live in Los Angeles County you should be forced to spend a month out of every calendar year just being somewhere else. That law doesn’t exist yet, so I’m getting ready to enforce it for myself.

Happy birthday, Pamie.

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