LETTER TWELVE (AND A HALF)

February 12, 2016
(Newark Liberty International Airport, Gate B52)

DEAR SALLY-BOY

I am sorry for breaking the order, again, but I’m bored and hungry and writing was all I could do to distract myself.

I’m writing from the waiting area at Newark Liberty International Airport, a terrible airport which I have found myself stuck in too many times in the past six months. When I was a much younger man, flying was exciting. That phase of my life has passed. Now I see it as just a hassle.

There is free coffee here! That’s something at least. What I’d really like is some breakfast. I have a horrible fear every time I fly of being late and missing my plane—and last time I flew back to Toronto I very nearly did!—so today I am here super early. I packed last night and left my house at just passed 4AM this morning.  The trek to Newark is long and dull: take 1-Train South from 225th to Penn Station (22 stops), then transfer to a train (actual real train, above ground—tremendously exciting!), take that to the airport (third station), then switch to their monorail thing, called The AirTrain, and take that to the terminal. Takes like an hour and thirty minutes.

From there it’s just baggage check and security. If it’s quiet, you can make it through both in under five minutes. If it’s busy, it can be upwards of two hours. This tremendous uncertainty, which I feel the need to call The Airport Security Uncertainty Principle (A.S.U.P.), is why I left my house at 4AM and now find myself sitting in a dull lounge area surrounded by frosted glass partitions and navy walls, and in desperate need of a breakfast sandwich. In my eagerness to get to the airport I skipped breakfast. I am a fool. Hindsight is a bitch. I will not make this mistake again.

There is a little restaurant here, in the waiting area near Gate B51. It’s called something tacky—I am honestly too lazy to walk the thirty feet to go check—“Ye Olde Pub” or something like that. It’s run, or at least sponsored, by Hendrick's Gin. Looking at it you get the sense that it’s going for a faux English pub feel. However, that feeling is impossible to ever truly achieve in an airport. It’s like trying to set up a pub in a food court. You just can’t do it. They have breakfast. A “Full English Breakfast”. Includes eggs, “Corn Husk Smoked Bacon”, fried tomatoes, and beans……….just $12. While I do love all the things listed, I do not trust a faux English pub in an American airport in New Jersey that uses paper plates (thick ones, but still), to make a meal worth $12.

When I flew home last October, Hurricane Joaquin was doing what hurricanes do and delayed my flight by several hours. I ate at Ye Olde Pub then, and while my main goal was to get drunk I do remember a vague and barely satisfying chicken sandwich. Today, I have resigned myself to patience and too many cups of coffee. I’ll get some real food in Toronto.

I nearly signed off right there, but it occurred to me that you might be curious about why I’m flying home. My grandmother is celebrating a big birthday and at very last minute the entire family decided to get together. It’s going to be quite a shock for her when I show up at her party.

I would love to grab a drink with you or some food or something while I’m in Toronto, it’s been a while since I had a good conversation with anyone, but I’m only in Toronto for a day or so, and I just don’t think I’ll have time. Yet another reason for you to come to New York.

Cheers,
Henry