February in New York city is depressing.
Everyone is in survival mode. There’s no time for pleasantries or casual sex; all of your energy must be conserved for putting one foot ahead of the other, getting to work, solemnly going to the gym/food shopping/whatever after work, and going home.
Rinse, lather, repeat.
Summer days and weeks blend together like a beautiful fruit smoothie; February is like mixing cement.
Every year around this time, New Yorkers start to openly wonder why we don’t live in a place that’s warm year-round. Everybody’s got that one buddy in LA or San Diego or Miami who keeps snapchatting them pictures of boats with the temperature pasted across the front. February blows, March doesn’t get much better… and right as things are about to hit the breaking point, we get one of those 71-degree outlier days in early April, you make out with someone way hotter than you at a rooftop bar after drinking precisely the right amount of rosé, and you fall in love with New York all over again.
The mindset of an entire city – and many others too, obviously – can be summed up with five words: “Just make it to April.”
That’s why February/March are also the best months of the year to get the hell out of Gotham and go somewhere sunny. You want to go skiing? Have fun being even colder. Me? I want sand in my grundle and a Mai Tai in my hand. I want to go where beautiful women flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I want to increase my risk of skin cancer AND the number of scantily clad women I see per hour, both by infinity percent.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to accompany my family to Hawaii, our first full-family trip in years. My brother and I went to college consecutively, meaning for the past 8 years there was always somebody pretending to have midterms to study for (when in reality we were drinking Four Loko’s and playing ping pong). Traveling is always interesting, and this trip was no different. Here’s a rough idea of how it went, along with some random thoughts along the way.
Chapter 1: Departure
– Waking up the day of a big trip is always a funny feeling. It’s almost like Christmas morning: I’m excited for what lies ahead but I also slept like shit (constantly waking up to check the time) so I’ve got that weird, semi-nauseous early morning feeling. You know, the one you have every single Monday.
– I shower and elect not to masturbate, which goes to show just how organically excited I am today.
– After hustling into the car to head to the airport, most of the excitement is gone and switches seats with dread. I do not enjoy flying; most people don’t. Even if you’re not scared of it, there’s nothing fun about being cramped into a tiny seat and forced to watch Standard Definition programming. How the hell did we watch TV before HD came out? Next time you’re in the mood for a challenge, throw on some 1980’s porn and see if you can achieve climax. After five minutes of pixelated blobs humping while wearing tennis shoes you’ll put down your penis and just go for a walk instead. No wonder kids are all fat these days – the TV is too good.
– I went through a phase for a few years where I absolutely hated flying. I’d sweat profusely during takeoff and landing, gripping the seat like it was my one true love. I’ve gotten better in recent years. I remember spending one day in college completely stoned and reading a bunch of statistics online that made me feel better. They were all about how safe flying is – stupid stats like “you’re more likely to die from the drive to the airport or a homeless guy in Miami knawing your face off” or whatever. Bullshit, but it helped.
– Upon arrival at the airport, societal norms begin to break down. Everyone is a weird mix of anxious, excited, nervous, suspicious, and a host of other emotions, so people do weird things. It’s like one big Curb Your Enthusiasm episode.
– I elect to have my first panic attack at the security checkpoint. Despite knowing without a doubt that I have nothing illegal on my person or in my luggage, going through airport security will never be easy. I’ve watched just enough episodes of “Locked Up Abroad” to ruin security checkpoints forever. As I walk past the K-9 unit, all sphincters on my body contract and I begin to perspire.
– To my horror, I realize I am not wearing socks. I care about germs less than pretty much anyone I know, but there’s something truly disgusting about the airport floor. There’s also a small part of me that believes I will one day accidentally bump into the girl of my dreams in the security line and we’ll make out passionately in the futuristic body-scanning machine, sort of like the sex scene from Avatar or something, while everyone looks on…but that’s definitely not happening if she sees my feet first.
– It’s now my turn to go through the process. While I imagine myself getting thrown into Guantanamo Bay, the boisterous airport employee beckons me to walk into the body-scanning machine. She barely pays attention to the outline of my sculpted physique while the machine scans me (offensive), instead joking loudly with the guy who is supposed to be watching the x-rays of the luggage. My mindset shifts from “I hope they don’t find my nonexistent contraband” to “What the fuck kind of security is this?” I could easily have an 8-ball shoved up my ass and the TSA would be none the wiser.
– I step away from the scanner to grab my luggage from the x-ray belt, where a 3rd employee chastises me for holding up the line. The anxiety at the end of the security checkpoint is like the subway card turnstile on steroids. It’s like an obstacle on American Ninja Warrior.
Announcer 1: “She made it through The Gauntlet, but now she’s at the final obstacle… the dreaded X-Ray Challenge! As our loyal viewers know, she will now have to put on a belt, then a pair of shoes, then put on a watch, then fill her pockets with a cell phone, a wallet, and some loose change – all while a minority yells at her and her whole family watches in horror!”
Announcer 2: “Don’t forget, folks – if she drops one nickel, she’s DISQUALIFIED!”
– I scurry out of the screening area and pause to take stock of my situation. A quick glance at my phone reveals that, predictably, we are two hours early. There was maybe a 12-month period after 9/11 where getting on a plane was an arduous, day-long process; because of this, for the rest of eternity, Dads everywhere will be saying we need to get to the airport three hours before the flight. Security will take fifteen minutes, and we will then pass the remaining time by eating Moe’s Southwest Grill and having diarrhea right before boarding.
– Now there’s a topic that deserves it’s own paragraph. Airport baños are some of the filthiest places on the planet. They smell like a dumpster and every toilet is so disgusting that even using the toilet seat cover-thing is completely out of the question. “Hey, this toilet is totally caked in urine and fecal matter – I’ll drape an extremely thin piece of paper over it, that should do the trick.” No thanks.
Your only option? Hover Poop.
– I make it out of the airport bathroom alive, knowing there’s a 20% chance I contracted a disease that will cause me to die young. I won’t know for a few years until symptoms start to show up.
– They start to call out sections of the plane to board. A soccer mom delivers an elbow to my ribcage as she hustles past me with her three kids to get in line; I wait for an apology that never comes. “A ferocious mother is kind of sexy,” I think.
– It’s our turn to board. I take a deep breath and get in line. I don’t know it yet, but our flight will end up being somewhat eventful. Tune in for Part II to hear about it.