Wednesday, March 08, 2006

North by Northwest Part II

For those of you who enjoyed John's poetic account of his trip to Boston, I offer you his equally salty and sassy account of the return trip. Note: his description of DTW as Disney World hits the nail on the head. And like John, I have eaten at DTW Chili's (breakfast tacos, no less) and have also been served by the energetic Marlon.

"Boston has many sights, and Evan kindly showed me a good number of them. One thing I hadn't expected to see however was so many people with only one leg. Boston must be the monoplegia capital of the North East. I suggest that they make this part of their next tourist campaign, as all these individuals seemed to be getting along fine and the one-legged silhouette tackling the trail of freedom could serve as a far more meaningful mascot than lobsters.

I suppose this sticks in my mind because yesterday I was reading a Wallace Stevens poem where he states to work out the number of souls in a room divide the number of human legs by two. This twoleggedcentric view, Mr Stevens (wherever your soul now resides) is not true of the Massachusetts Bay area. I would however recommend sitting on a futon in Boston reading Wallace Stevens' collected poems with a cool breeze and noise from the street coming in through the window as the sun comes down and the ink of the words on the page gradually become indistinct form the encroaching gloom as an excellent Sunday afternoon activity. If you have just walked two miles of largely uneven and uphill streets this only adds to the experience. As does red wine.

Dear God the T system in Boston is ugly. UGly. That color scheme! Tiles of the most disquieting concoction of red and maroon; oranges and greens whose pungency actively wounds the palate; dark brown laminate wood effect panels that are everything that is bad about human manufacture. The whole thing makes Washington DC Greyhound station look like it was designed with the same care as the set for the Oscars.

Speaking of which: Heath woz robbed!

I must say I was somewhat taken aback to see the initials of North Western Airlines emblazoning the header of their inboard magazine. Presumably they don't expect many of their customers to recall that NWA was the name of an infamous hip-hop group fifteen or so years ago. I won't spell out what it stood for here (look it up) but rest assured that “a crazy motherf--ker named Ice Cube” wasn't professing to be a member of _Northwesterners_ With Attitude?

Otherwise, flight from Boston fairly uneventful. I was not pleased to see an irritable German woman (which is to say, a German woman) being unsympathetic to her doleful male traveling companion, as he leaned his big lovely lugubrious German head on her, stroked her on the ass, and complained about his ears hurting (in German). What is her problem? Some of us would kill to be treated like this. I for one would love for someone to use me unequivocally as an object in this way, but some people apparently have a problem with it. While we were stuck waiting in the purgatorial white noise once the plane had stopped but movement seemed forestalled for the remainder of eternity, I was tempted to stroke his head as he leaned it on her shoulder (What? Everyone's happy). I refrained however, continuing to gaze transfixed at the bewilderingly complicated table in NWA magazine which reveals that the recent movie version of _Pride and Prejudice_ is available on the flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis, but not Amsterdam to Mumbai. Strange, but, as is so often the case, true?

I have nothing against Germans of course, except the world wars. I too would be irritable if I had grown up in Germany and had to use the transport system anywhere else in the world. You should see a German in the line at Stansted Airport, London. That is a laugh.

There is a Chilis inside Detroit airport. IN THE AIRPORT. Anyone who knows my penchant for the welcoming palaces of light that are American chain restaurants will understand my glee at this discovery. And one doesn't even need a car; instead, the aforementioned metro train will whiz any needy domestic US travelers along its internal superhighway to this beacon of hope and joy and twenty-four hour onion rings. I feel like I am in Disneyland. Which is to say, heaven.

This said, I wish my server had been brassy blonde Roxanne* and her panda-like overapplication of eye makeup rather than dopey black probable ex-con Marlon whose thick black spectacles and effete manner would normally endear me to him had he not forgotten to bring me my beer.

*Names have been changed out of respect to Chilis and Detroit (Motor City).

Beer arrived. Marlon is on the path to reform. If he keeps this up, I may even leave him a tip.

I just heard Marlon wish another party to “Have a safe trip, come back and see us” Come back and see us! Bless. Tonight his tip shall ascend to the dizzy heights of fifteen percent. AT LEAST.

The possibilities this has unlocked are endless. Thank you academia! At this rate your contribution to the future of humanity might just approach that of IBM.

Can someone please kindly tell me the expected time one should reach one's departure gate. When I first arrived at Charlottesville and walked up to check in my luggage the guy looked at me disapprovingly and said “Are you John?” I half expected him to drag me in front of the other passangers with my head hanged and say: “Well, who's THIS everybody? Look who FINALLY decided to show!” I get to the planes in Detroit with at least 20-30 minutes to spare but still receive looks of death.

On the plane. NWA is everywhere: how did I not notice?

The passenger sitting by the emergency door has a lot of responsibility it seems. I don't know if he's up to the job, as he is a bit of a fatknacker. The instructions demand a great deal and, with a strategic removal of nouns, may also function as a helpful set of requirements for a potential sexual partner:

“To meet the selection criteria you must: have sufficient mobility, strength, and dexterity in both *** and ****, and both **** to: reach upward, sideways and downwards to the location of *****; grasp and push, pull, turn or otherwise manipulate those *******; push, shove, pull or otherwise open ******** ****; lift out, hold, deposit on **** ****, or maneuver over the ***** to the ***** ****; maintain balance while removing ***** etc.”

In this connection, I especially like the final instruction: “exit expeditiously”

I realize it is somewhat predictable to mock the laminated card of illustrated instructions in the event of a plane crash. This said, I must take issue with one illustration in particular: a woman in a flouncy skirt passing through the emergency exit window and gracefully sliding off the wing to land with a jolly bounce on a floor of plush grass. Not only does this completely misrepresent the actual distance between wing and ground, it also shows the man in front of her on this unrealistically carpeted landing place bounding along like a child in a Blake sketch practically “leaping, laughing” as he skips off into the meadow. In reality he would probably be flailing away with a broken ankle as he desperately claws his way beyond the hellish wreckage and human carnage.

Dare I suggest that Route 29 looks even MORE beautiful from the air?

Back in Charlottesville. And, in true Oscars fashion, I would just like to thank everyone who got me where I am right now: Evan, gracious host and expert guide to Boston and environs, Benallaroundtheworld for believing in me and giving me a chance to be a part of this wonderful blog, Cory (girl, pretty) who gave me a ride back from the airport, Kristen (girl, pretty-heck, America's Next Top Model) who was on hand to do the same, all the little people: the women on the planes who gave me drinks and superfluous napkins, the cab driver I infer we must have had on Friday night but can't remember.

And with this, travelersallaroundtheworld, I worldlily bid you goodnight and, as Inspector Clouseau might say, Ben Voyage!


Blogger Evan said...

Dear John, we here are very proud of our one-legged inhabitants.

And, yes, the cabbie was also quite gracious Friday night. At least I guess so...I think I remember conversing with him...fuck, I don't remember either.

Yes, the T is hideous, but we're also proud of that as well. Next time you're in Beantown, I will take you on an art tour of the MBTA...the installations along the Red Line are nothing to miss! Perhaps they will end up in MOBA in Dedham...the Museum of Bad Art (it really does exist...

7:51 PM  
Blogger Phlip said...

How come I've never seen any one-legged Bostonians? I am way outta the loop on this one . . .

John - It was nice meeting you, and best of luck with your job search. Hope to see you back again soon!

Ben - I totally want to ride the Downeaster with y'all when you come up here! I have NEVER been on Amtrak. In fact, until I moved here, I had never been on any train in the USA. (Not counting novelty sightseeing trains at amusement parks, Stone Mountain, etc.)

Evan - We MUST visit MOBA soon!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Ben said...


A group ride on the Downeaster sounds fantastic. Perhaps we can even fork out the extra 10 bucks for business class and ride in style. Well, Amtrak style, at least. It's like upgrading from Wal-Mart to K-Mart.

4:36 PM  

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