Day two of my trip was an exercise in delirium and forcing myself to stay awake in strange new situations. I found myself staggering excitedly to the train at 3:45 in the morning, only to realize that the rocking motion of the train as it headed to the airport was lulling me towards sleep. Still, I prevailed and made my way through PDX with relative ease. With a little extra time on my hands and the realization that I’d only eaten a burrito in the twenty-four hours prior, I stopped at the Country Cat Cafe near my terminal and treated myself to a cup of coffee and a smoked salmon benedict. The food was served quickly and beautifully and it was exactly what I needed to find the energy to survive a series of flights on which my only food options would be overpriced boxes of cookies and pre-made turkey sandwiches.
After consuming slightly more food and caffeine than I should’ve after being awake for 23 hours straight, I was able to make my way onto the plane. I flew from Portland to San Francisco and was lucky enough to catch about an hour of sleep. Once I landed in San Francisco, however, I found myself wired. Even though I was remaining on the same plane for my flight from San Francisco to New York, I was either anxious or simply invigorated and could not sleep. I discovered that my flight had free WiFi once the plane was in the air and was excited to get some writing done. In retrospect, I should’ve known that enthusiastic delirium would do little for my creative impulse, but it sounded like a great idea at the time. Instead of writing, I managed to listen to a lot of music that served no purpose for my writing and did everything to comfort my buzzing head. The one song that I listened to the most on my flight was Talking Heads’ live version of “The Big Country,” a song which I’ve always associated with traveling by airplane. I found it oddly soothing despite the sense of alienation that it’s meant to convey.
I only managed to get about an hour of sleep during the entirety of my five hour flight from San Francisco to New York, but I had a great conversation with the person seated next to me, a textile artist named Ghazaleh Khalifeh who was traveling from San Francisco through to Milan for a large event of her own. We chatted about living in cities all over the world, about our anxieties about being creative types embarking on large trips in the hopes of experiencing something new in our respective communities, and we briefly spoke about electronic music. It was nice to know that I could actually discuss my interests and hobbies with the person seated next to me instead of finding myself uneasy with my neighbor. She’s actively on her way to Europe now (or perhaps has already arrived) but it was a really pleasant experience and made for a more relaxing flight. If you appreciate the image used as the header for this post, you should visit her website to check out some of her textile work.
After arriving, I found my host waiting in the airport for me to help me learn how to navigate the subway system. Staying awake on the subway was a far bigger challenge than actually getting around on the subway, but it was an exciting experience nonetheless. Despite my exhaustion, I managed to hang in long enough to get a quick bite of sushi at a place around the corner from my host’s apartment in the Ridgewood neighborhood. We visited Aruku Sushi and had a nice experience with great pricing. I don’t even remember what I ate in my delirious state, but it satisfied me thoroughly. I decided to end my night by visiting a bodega and purchasing a six-pack of Victory’s Golden Monkey, of which I only managed to consume one beer before caving under the weight of sleep. Today I’m going to explore Brooklyn, Manhattan, and might even see a concert. I have no idea what the day holds, but to say I’m excited would be an understatement.