Following last night’s red-eye flight from San Francisco to New York, here I sit in JFK, awaiting a-w-a-i-t-i-n-g my connecting flight to the travel destination nightmare better known as Syracuse. I only chose this flight on jetBlue because I had a voucher from last year’s CCCC in New Orleans. On the way home a year ago I had no choice but to stay over an extra night (put up on the airline’s dime at a divey Days Inn). I also accepted a credit for the full value of that trip, good for one year. The short (and miserable) of it is that I’ve been sitting in JFK since 7 a.m. this morning, holding out for an 11 a.m. hop upstate: home again (for a few more months, anyway). Only: delayed! I’m trying not to look at the monitor over gate G9 because every time I look the staffBlues bump the boarding time ahead another 15 minutes. 12:00 p.m. 12:15 p.m. 12:30 p.m. I’m afraid that if I look again it will roll over to 12:45 p.m.
No, I can’t really complain about the free wireless in the fancy new jetBlue terminal. It’s nice, very nice. But I can say, plaintive though it it sure to sound, that these hours of waiting are intensely uncomfortable, time slowed to a creeping pace, after flying through the night for the first leg of the return trip.
I can’t remember the last time I read a paper newspaper.
Oh yeah, it was this morning. But I mean before that.
Our Lalo subscribes to the Sunday Post-Standard and has not re-routed it since we moved in last July. Every Sunday, some creature of the pre-dawn night hefts the bagged roll of paper near our front stoop. It seems such a waste for us to carry it, on just the second leg of its long trip, straight to the recycling bin. But newspapers are so–what’s the word?–slothful. So, over an everything bagel (while skipping the 10:30 UU service because Is. was wide awake from 2 a.m. until 5), I glanced the funnies. The solo game I secretly play with newspaper funnies is to see whether I can read all of them without even cracking a smile. I call the game “Stoic Is Unmoved.” If I can (which, sadly, it is quite possible to do on those rare Sundays when I glance the paper at all–ah, I already said that), I win. If I crack a smile, the newspaper wins. I take this very seriously, as it riles the hyper-competitive side of my personality. A showdown: Me versus old media.
This morning, I lost. I lost because Mother Goose and Grimm ran this. That’s right. I smiled because sometimes I feel like Grimm, and sometimes I feel like Earl. And I see in this a comment on lots of other stuff: the buried-ness of one’s head while dissertating (to the neglect of much too much), the plight of late-comers to Burke’s parlor (those who arrive after the parlor has emptied…poor Earl!), the normative temporality of formal education (in today’s market, the efficiency model must be called Toyotaist, rather than Fordist), and more.
Go on, read the comic. If you don’t smile, forgive me (also remember to score yourself a winner at “Stoic is Unmoved”).