Nutsinee was working the late shift, 4pm til midnight. I had to fly out early in the afternoon, at 1pm, so I asked her for a lift, over the other fellows who would be dutifully working hard. I still got to the airport with a lot of time to spare, so I grabbed a coffee. I had 8 hours of travelling ahead of me, which after 3 hours of time zone shifts looks like 11 hours on paper.
As ever, the plane out of Pasco was small, and United offered double snacks, as they have to go somewhere, right? Yum. After a brief flight over the Rockies, we land in Denver, the city that missed the memo that winter has passed. There was snow everywhere, and I could see the snow falling off in the distance. Weird, huh? I had an hour here, a gate to find, and a seat to get. (It wasn’t printed on the boarding pass). After grabbing my seat, I had time to grab an airport burrito. Airport burritos are simultaneously the worst food and the best food. It’s a paradox, but it’s true.
Shortly after, I was aboard the next plane, from Denver to LaGuardia. Once more, at the last minute, a man in a nice looking business suit takes the free window seat next to me. He has an interesting phone, one that I’ve never seen before, and he doesn’t switch it to aeroplane mode, even as we’re taxiing. He eventually comes off the phone and turns to me to tell me that he hates flying *commercially*. I engage him a bit. Turns out, he’s kinda loaded, and afraid of flying. There are stories to come, hold on. But for context, he wanted a drinking buddy on the flight, and if he was buying, I was his buddy!
So, this guy had been, over the last weekend, on a private island in the Bahamas for a fishing trip. On the first day, though, he stepped on a razor shell and cut his foot open. His trip was ruined, and the island didn’t have much in the way of medical supplies. He came back to Colorado to see doctors who gave him a course of industrial strength antibiotics. Now he was flying last minute to New York to talk business (he own, or manages a hotel chain), begrudgingly. So we drank a few. He asked what I did, so I explained about LIGO (#SpontaneousOutreach), and subtly mentioned that for every dollar invested in science, there’s a very steady and relatively good return. When he heard that, he got interested. “How do I invest in science?” and “What are the avenues for profit in the field?” These are things I didn’t have answers too. He wasn’t particularly scientifically minded – he believed that people had been abducted by aliens.
So after that bizarre flight, I arrive in LaGuardia at about 11.30. My uncle, who I was visiting with, cleverly ordered me an Uber to get me from the airport. However, Uber knows the location of the phone from which it was ordered, and that phone can see that Uber’s GPS location. It wasn’t on my phone. I had to wild goose chase with an Uber . Fifteen minutes later, after texts, phone calls to my uncle, and a 3-way call with the driver, I eventually find him, sitting still in traffic in the middle of the road. And presto, twenty minutes later, I had arrived at the apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was late, but in PDT, it was still only 8pm!
I stayed up a few hours with my cousin, Ben, who was finishing up his calculus homework due for the next day. We chatted about this and that, and eventually, at 2am, I retreated to bed.
Plane journey, landing etc. See notes