Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Good Times!

It was about this time last week that I emailed Steve to inform him of a provisional timetable of my arrival in Myrtle Beach, and my departure. He replied that it would be good for him if I left a day later - Monday 7th May instead of Sunday 6th. I was happy with this as it meant that I would be there a day longer and the flight was cheaper. All that remained was to wait for Darren to text me back regarding his participation in the trip. As soon as he texted to say no, as I knew he would, I'd book the flight.

That evening I was partaking in my daily post-work-web-surf when I happened upon the news that Arcade Fire were playing in New York on the very Monday that I was leaving America. What an opportunity it would be if I could stop off there for a day and watch the World's best band! Darren's negative response to my text meant that I would only have my own schedule to worry about so it was decided. I was off to New York!

But wait. Why go for just one night? How could I visit New York and then leave before we were barely acquainted? One night became three. I found New York hotels to be pretty costly and I'd be paying the debt off for some time but what the hell? I wouldn't, however, book a thing until I'd secured a ticket to see the mighty 'Fire. They went on sale on Friday afternoon at 3pm and I'd decided that I wanted to see the Wednesday performance at the legendary Radio City Music Hall.

2.38pm Friday. I reach for my wallet to get my credit card. I don't have my wallet. My wallet is in my bedroom and I'm at work. It's okay, Kerri or dad will be home and a quick phone call should resolve any problems. Except they're not at home. Tickets go on sale in 20 minutes and will be sold out in 25. I commandeered a work van and drove as fast as a 1.4 litre Renault diesel engine would take me and was rewarded by getting ready for the ticket release a whole minute early. About 2 minutes later I'd secured a ticket at Radio City, a good ticket in the middle of the floor. I now had no reason to back out of the New York plan!

I should state at this point that I was, and still am a bit, pretty apprehensive about staying on my own in New York. I looked at pictures of the Manhattan skyline with a new curiosity. You check these things abstractly when they don't concern you and more closely when you realise that you'll have to deal with them at some time. It's a big scary-looking place. I'm going to need a proper itinerary or I'll end up wandering around aimlessly and not really seeing or doing anything.

Back to the issues at hand. It's now Saturday morning. I've identified the flights I like and book them. Heathrow - Mytle Beach via Washington, Myrtle Beach - New York via Charlotte, New York - Heathrow via Washington for £463. Adding New York to the itinerary hasn't made things much more expensive but it's probably still more money than I've ever spent on anything in one go, with the possible exception of dental work. I now need to book a hotel but that can wait. I'd feel a little queasy spending much more money in one day than I already have. Nothing much in the social schedule today so I go and do my usual football bet and, for a change, do a 50p lucky 15 on the TV horse races. The races start. my first selection comes in at 12-1 and I'm already up on my day's betting. The second comes in at 13-2 and I'm now sitting on £59 with two horses yet to run. Any winner from these two pays for my flight and more. The third race starts and by now mum and dad are watching and are probably even more nervous than me. My horse, Waterside, is handy throughout and stays on as all the others begin to drop away. He hits the front with a furlong to go and that finish line can't come quickly enough for me. I make a noise something like "AAAARGH!!!" when he crosses the line first. An online odds calculator tells me that I've won £951.50. I still l have one horse to go. If that wins I get something stupid like £23k. It doesn't win and I skip to the bookies and collect my winnings in lovely bundles of £20 notes. It felt fucking great and I could now stop worrying about having to stay in a New York Roach Motel.

I'd promised myself that I wouldn't get drunk on Saturday as it was Glastonbury ticket day on Sunday. But sod it, I was so excited that I wouldn't be sleeping much anyway. And so it proved. I was up on time and made preliminary contact with my fellow campers. There were 10 of us trying for tickets and 9 of us (Me, Kerri, Alex, Dan, Michelle, Laura, Lucy, Smith and James) on Messenger. It proved to be a very handy support group and also a right laugh. None of us were having any joy at all with tickets but were meeting with great success on the piss-taking front. Then, about 45 minutes in, I got a phone call from the only one of our camp not Messengering. Lisa said she had tickets and I nearly wept with joy! Then Michelle got through with tickets for her Lucy and Alex but suffered a power cut right at the end which made everyone panic. Finally, using the link that Lisa had emailed, I got through to the website and phoned Alex who gave me the details of everyone yet to get a ticket. We had all succeeded! As I write, Lisa still hasn't got a confirmation email so we're not completely out of the woods but it should all be okay. It's going to be the best Glastonbury ever!

I met Kerri for a few pints in the afternoon at the Coach & Horses in Ickenham, her new local. Not content with being the most fortuitous weekend in living memory the sun came out and we had the first beer garden pints of the year. The happy glow hasn't yet worn off. I booked a hotel in Times Square yesterday and am all set for America. I really have had a fantastic start to the year and the prognosis remains sunny. Good Times indeed.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Thanks so much for your comment!! I was so excited to read you'll be treating yourself to a visit to the big city. It can seem a bit intimidating at first but once you settle in it becomes like a good book, you just can't leave it behind. Living here has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. let me know if you need any tips or want some ideas on fun places to go! Magnolia bakery in the west village has the best red velvet cupcakes, they are truly sinful. (I know you didn't ask for any ideas but I couldn't resist throwing that one out). Enjoy your trip and don't forget to eat a hotdog from a street vendor (who knows what is in them but they are delicious) :)