“I’m on a plain, I can’t complain!”
JFK – Brussels Feb 9th, 2017
I slept badly last night. I knew I would. New York did indeed do the perfect 60 degree spring day to blizzard switch over night. I am often very well organised. To a point. I was more or less ready when I stepped out to shovel some snow for a previously mentioned elderly neighbour. She is a dote but so much so that she’d be looking for you to shovel for her nice neighbour too and I was trying to be quick. Sure enough, like Yoda, caught I was and I did a little bit of her neighbour’s footpath too. Wha’ harm. I’d have done the whole thing if it wasn’t for the tick -tock deadline of a looming transatlantic flight. In a snowstorm.
Not to mention my wonderings of how well will the MTA might deal with this today? What time is it anyway? Let me check my..fuck where is my phone? After 40 minutes of snow shoveling a mobile phone becomes a very small and silent thin. Iit could be fucking anywhere and it will hardly be found before spring. But I Neeeeeeeeeeed it. It has all the numbers of the people I need to text tomorrow and the next day and the next day…wah wah wah.
I went home and my still ever patient wife came out to help me not find it. I gave up, before Clare, and went home to get my bags and get going. Cursing myself each sludge filled step of the way. I was hoping to offer a calmer less shambolic version of myself as company before I left for tour. Oh. Well.
MTA ( NYC bus and subway) actually did a perfectly fine job of getting me to the airport on time. I checked in. They confiscated my hummus at security. Far from f’m hummus you were raised langball! I know, I know, but there are so many attacks on healthy living on tour, that I had made the mission statement to myself of bringing homemade oat bread and homemade hummus. Oh well. I instead had a shake shack burger. Sweet suffering Jaysus, I hope they always confiscate my hummus.
I skyped clare from this here non phone machine and was SHOCKED! DELIGHTED! ENCOURAGEDTIMEUSA! to hear that a little boy sledding had found my phone. And little-boy-sled’s father called the multiple missed calls number and returned said phone to said infinitely patient wife.
I don’t care about the phone of course, but i do care about the possibility of missing out on work, or being unintentionally rude to friends.
At gate B36 about 40% of the travellers are Hasidic Jews. I mention this because. I looked up from my aforementioned atheism challenging / healthy living killing burger to see a news headline scroll across the bottom of a TV screen. “Trump loses.. court challenge..Muslim ban” Wait?
All the while the Hasidic Jews were standing beneath it praying oblivious to the news above. Standing, nodding back and forth in prayer, uncannily in time with the piped shitty pop rock music ( think a way worse Weezer). I am glad I did not have video space on this here device. I am not sure i would have had the wherewithal to realise it was a moment better retold rather than recorded without permission.
Somehow in Liege, Belgium, Feb 10th
I am in an international coffee chain, let’s car it barsucks, availing of the free wifi and being mildly irritated by a bunch of well rested, well adjusted, hyper as rabbits on cocaine, teenagers. I have made it as far as Liege. My flight was four and half hours on the runway deicing and waiting for other delayed planes to depart. Not the kind of thing you want to get upset about. “Tell you what mister pilot, you get this thing up off the ground and back down and again and I will sit quietly on the runway till August if needs be.”
Have you ever been on a plane where 40% of the passengers are Hasidic Jews? I hadn’t till now. So, I got to witness and hear some intense prayers at 30,000 feet this morning. Above Ireland too. Ropes were tightened around arms, big hats were removed, tiny versions of the big hats were adorned, clothes were draped over shoulders, prayers were directed out the window. The usual no congregating allowed rule was 100% ignored and staff somehow moved trolleys of coffee up and down the aisles. It was remarkable.
I arrived into Brussels airport and got a train to Leuven to connect with a train to Liege. I had a mad couple of nights in Leuven with gang of friends from Cork about 15 years ago. That’s another day’s typing though. Liege train station is pretty special.
I have not slept enough, I really love the venue I am playing at tonight, I hope I can summon the strength to give them my best. I can go on, I will go on.