July 15, 2002
I woke up to Brad and Aimee looming over me, both dressed in business attire. It reminded me of my parents waking me up at age 17 after they’d discovered that I’ve been drinking all night and came in way after curfew. I think they must have been exhausted and were dreading their return to work. I can’t claim them. We said farewell and I went back to sleep. At 11:00 Shawn and Pat joined me…awake and partially cognoscente. Due to some sort of house key fiasco, one of us had to stay behind in the room while the other two went to visit Central Park. I nominated myself (I was quite tired, behind on the journal and had already spent quite a few days in the park). Shawn and Pat put another mile and a half on their shoes and saw the ENTIRE park. When they came back I forced a rush on the group. We left for the airport at 3:45 PM. No way in hell was I going to get caught in Manhattan at 5:00 on a Monday. We would have been stuck there until 7:00. Fortunately we caught a bus and got through the tunnel by 4:30. It was hot and we were tired and grumpy so the next two hours spent at Teteborough airport trying to decipher the weather all over the country was not a treat. We quickly learned that a Nor-Easter was building directly over Boston. There was no way we could head anywhere in that direction. South was our only option. Not having been to Bean Town since college, I was extremely disappointed. One and a half hours away from some of my closest friends and we were headed the opposite direction. I called my old room mate and delivered the bad news. We would try it some other time.
The flight to Washington DC was quite smooth. It’s amazing how the landscape changes so dramatically throughout this country. Every time we get into a new assortment of colors and forms take place below us. The landscapes alone make America an incredible place to live. Fortunately, our flight path appeared to be the only place in the United States that was safe from bad weather. We ran into a bit of a dilemma when it came to selecting an airport however. Our intention was to land at the College Park field, a small, relatively busy spot that would be most convenient for our ride and was accessible to public transportation if necessary. Of course Washington DC is now one very large “no fly zone”, so we needed to make a quick mid-flight adjustment. We touched down just before dusk at Freeway airport, home of the smallest, most abused runway I’ve seen to date. Pat powered the plane in without using flaps and nailed the tight landing on a strip that was only about 20 feet wide.
I called another of my old room mates John (AKA Thief) who made a 45 minute trek out into the wilderness to come and get us. We unpacked the plane and changed clothes out in the middle of the brush field that they used as an airplane parking lot. As the sun disappeared we were surrounded by little glowing bugs that are not native to California. I had the fortune of seeing them dance around on a previous road to when I stopped in Kansas. I was still just as fascinated by them. Pat and Shawn stared at them for a moment and wondered why they were rising, glowing and descending. I told them something about a mating ritual that I think I heard as a child. Who really knows? Maybe they just want to make us ask why. I doubt it. I’m sticking to the “mating ritual” story.
Eventually Thief showed up in his Cherokee. The Jeep that we had used for a couple of road trips back in college was still intact. It was, however, the trash receptacle it had always been. He also was the same he’s ever been. Thief is just reliable like that. We made our way straight to the restaurant/bar where another of my college buddies, Dave, was tending bar. A little background on Dave: He’s an incredible musician who leads the life of a creative genius. He spent a semester living in our common room playing tunes and smoking a pack a day. The first semester of my senior year is full of memories of Dave sitting in our windowsill, playing his guitar with a cigarette in his mouth. People seldom wondered why–he was just cool like that.
We took seats at the upstairs bar where he was working and put back of couple of complimentary drinks. Dave was in true form. As soon as he was done he took us to another bar across the way where he was in with the staff. We drank some more and reminisced about the good old days. Much laughter, many inside jokes-Pat and Shawn quickly got bored with us and moved to a different part of the bar. They understood that this was one of the reasons I wanted to make the trip and were gracious about being left out for a moment.
Eventually, Thief dumped us into Dave’s hands and headed back to his own neighborhood. Thief was actually working the next day and thought it better to leave us with Dave who could drop us off in the morning. We made it back to Dave’s three story pad where we quickly passed out from yet another long day