hurricanes and snowstorms.

My last day in New Orleans, I woke up a bundle of nervous tension.  Back in New Jersey, Rich was preparing for the big birthday surprise – he and I had spoken a few times during the week as he wrapped up all the final details.  My plans had changed slightly, and I was slated to fly back in the morning, then drive to Rich’s house, get him and Lissette, and then take Sandy “out” for her birthday.  There was a show at Maxwell’s that night – I can’t remember who – but we were going to take her into Hoboken and have dinner at Maxwell’s under the guise of seeing whatever band was supposed to be playing.  And then we’d walk down to Love Sexy in the cold, February weather, where everyone else would be waiting.

My bags were already packed, and I got to the airport in plenty of time to catch my flight.  I had a connecting flight in Houston, for some reason, so I checked my bags and got on the plane, all the while thinking of the logistics of getting back to New Jersey and continuing to pull the wool over Sandy’s eyes for the rest of the day.

When I got off the plane in Houston, I raced over to the departures board so that I could find the gate where my connecting flight would be.

Delayed.

I stood there for a minute, staring at the board.  I looked out the window – the weather was very nice in New Orleans.  It was equally nice in Houston.  Skies were clear.  What could be causing the delay?

I grabbed a cup of airport coffee and a shitty, frozen bagel, thinking I can’t wait to get home to real bagels.  I sat at the airport restaurant and ate, slowly.  When I finished up, I went back and looked at the departures board again.

Still delayed.

I called home.  

“What the hell is going on?” I asked Sandy.  “My flight is delayed.  Is everything okay?”

“It’s snowing like crazy,” she said.  “They’re talking about blizzard conditions.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, trying to sound unconcerned.  “I’ll just hang out here at the airport and wait.”

I called Rich.  “What the hell am I going to do?”

“Don’t sweat it,” he said.  “I’m sure it will be fine.  You’ve got hours.”

By lunch time, I was getting pretty hungry and I still wasn’t sure what to do.  I didn’t want to stray too far from the gate, because I wanted to hear the boarding announcement.  But the flight was still showing as being delayed, and airline employees had told me that Newark Airport was closed.  So finally, I snagged some lunch.

Afterward, I called Rich again.  

“What’s the deal?” he asked.

“You tell me,” I said.  “I’m stuck in fucking Houston.”

“Well, just hang tight,” he said.  “We’ve got time.  Worse comes to worst, you can just go right to the club from the airport, and we’ll meet you there.”

Eventually, as you would expect, they cancelled the flight.  I was frantic.  I went from airline to airline, trying to find someone who could fly me into Newark, into Laguardia, into JFK.  I even asked if I could get a flight into Philadelphia, thinking I could rent a car and drive through the blizzard and get to Hoboken in time for the show.  There was nothing available.  At all.  The airports that were open didn’t have any flights that would get me back to Jersey in time for the show.

I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to miss the show, and called Rich.  “You’re going to have to do this without me.  I can’t get back.”

“Dude,” he responded, “we might not be able to do this at all.  The snow is really bad.  I don’t think Sandy is going to want to go out in this, and I don’t think that Lissette is going to let me drive my car all the way to your place and then turn around and go into Hoboken.”

I sat there in silence, staring at my phone.  

I was in Houston, at the airport.  I had nowhere to stay.  Dromedary was sponsoring a show in Hoboken that was doubling as a surprise birthday party for my pregnant wife, and she wasn’t going to be able to go to the show.  Plus, we had made arrangements to record the show, and release the recording as a live album.

This fucking snowstorm was wrecking my trip back to Jersey, my wife’s birthday party, a Dromedary show, and our next release, all at once.

I finally found a hotel to stay in, about half an hour from the Houston airport.  The next morning I hustled back to the airport and was in Newark before anyone was even awake – it wasn’t until I was almost home that it was late enough for me to call Rich and learn that the entire show had been cancelled; the snow was so bad that the club didn’t even open.  

I walked in the door that morning with nothing to give Sandy for her birthday.  Not even a card.  I had banked on the show – and ensuing live album – being the coolest birthday gift anyone could ever receive.  A Footstone Live from Sandy’s Birthday CD would have been a birthday gift that was memorialized forever; certainly better than flowers or jewelry or anything else like that.

But it didn’t happen, and with Sandy being all pregnant and hormonal, I don’t think she quite got the “thought that counts” thing, although she was a trooper and said all the right things.

And, of course, our next planned release was in the shitter.  We were going to put out Lippy eventually, and still had plans to do something with Dots Will Echo, but at that point, everything else was up in the air.

I was beginning to think that I had a black stormcloud following me around, wherever I went.

~ by Al on August 4, 2009.

One Response to “hurricanes and snowstorms.”

  1. Heh. I felt so bad for you because you had worked so hard to plan this show. At the same time, I remember being in the throws of morning sickness (which w/Ryan was evening sickness) and feeling relieved that I hadn’t been forced to try to look all happy and rock-n-roll while trying to keep my dinner down. I still think it’s one of the coolest things you ever tried to do for me.

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