A bleary-eyed, overnight jet traveler, I was instantly re-charged upon my early morning arrival at Kennedy. The City never sleeps.
Avoiding the Sky train maze, I jumped the shuttle bus, belted in and felt the bumpy ride of ensnaring traffic before being DROPPED at Penn Station. Imagine carting swelling luggage with wheels revolving in every direction. My wrists and arms were twisted, turned and strained as my fingers clenched the handles for dear life- it was the antithesis of what I teach about a relaxed hand position at the piano.
Meanwhile my heavy shoulder-strapped camera bag was laden with technology: camcorder, adapter, battery-charger, adapter, mini cassettes, iPhone, iPhone tripod, extension cord, etc as my bulging fanny pack, with back-ups to batteries, credit cards, comb, combination lock, cosmetics, travel-light toothpaste, tooth brush and more weighed me down.
Trudging along the retail garment district, in rush hour people traffic, I hopelessly searched for an escalator to take me down to the subway preventing a morbid tumble into the darkness to join the homeless and disenfranchised.
I’d surely be packed up and sent back to Berkeley C.O.D.
To complicate things, there was NO escalator in sight and it was high risk to bounce a ton of Samsonite down the stairs…
so I trekked by foot up to 63rd and Central Park West (over 30 blocks) to the Y gym where I’d planned my Big Apple touchdown workout!
Was this insane or what after a sleepless night on Flight 168?!
Forgot to mention lunging after my suitcase on the baggage area treadmill, spinning my wrists around the handle as I fell forward, plummeting into a procession of tagged bags.
Meanwhile a deplaned passenger behind me forewarned of her coffee puddle, trying to prevent my tumultuous backslide.
It was a near miss!
Needless to say, the march up crowded Manhattan streets was somewhat liberating though an early morning chill demanded a quickie jacket purchase since I had nothing practical packed.
Imagine the Samsonite, fanny pack, camera bag, and plastic white bag that I knotted around my keyboard belt trailing me into H and M on 34th. A bag lady in motion, I was a target for any secret shopper would would turn me into security for an imagined breach.
Breakfast on the run, was simpler, though at 7:30 a.m. a mob of seated customers forced me to the counter. Two scrambled eggs, wheat bread, and fresh squeezed O.J. and I was off and lugging!
Gym arrival was no piece of cake since my LUGGAGE was a resonating issue.
Its not fitting into the locker space, instigated an all points alarm at reception and security.
The thing had to be CHECKED in through a complicated set of computerized maneuvers: click this option, and then that, press DONE, and proceed to the next–start again, your email address defaulted…oops I didn’t get the last 3 letters of my name right. Fortunately I was rescued by a foreign student who managed to complete the transaction and print out the flimsy receipt to take to Security for safe storage. But having to stuff still another piece of paper into my fanny pack that needed to be produced for luggage retrieval was added to a crowded inventory of THINGS to keep tab of.
The workout, by comparison, was a smooth ride, though time was flying and my host friend, Laura (Oberlin alumna and former NYC roommate) was wondering what happened to me HOURS post touchdown.
With a dying iPhone battery, I trudged onto the M10 Central Park West bus like an elephant, and without a Metro card, dropped in a bunch of quarters (compliments of my stopoff at Chase Bank) making it to my destination at about noontime.
To cut this very long story short, the best part of my arrival was playing a short Schumann 4-hand piece- Am Abend (Evening) with Laura, who has a magnificent vintage Steinway B sitting in her gorgeous living room.
Our playing together seemed to erase the burdens of travel, clearing the way for the next few days of interviews and musician meetups. I think I’m over the hump.