Saturday, April 01, 2006


On Wednesday-the-moonday I slept in, and after a hearty breakfast at Dizzy's the Hex and I took the F-train up to the recently-refurbished MoMA for the Edvard Munch exhibit -- a colorful treat for depressives of all stripes, despite the missing Scream (I'm keen to do an updated version of the painting with the figure holding its cheeks while in garbha pindasana). Then it was down to Eddie's for the afternoon puja -- we had less chanting to do this year, and the room is pinker -- followed by another delightful Indian meal. Afterwards I picked up $1 chai at a quaint hole-in-the-wall called Lahore on the walk over to CBGB for the daytime-only sale rack. Not that impressive, esp. when you consider that owner Hilly Kristal came in at No. 10 on the New York Press's just-released list of The 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers (Brooklyn developer and Nets owner Bruce Ratner is #1). Apparently Mr. Kristal owes a homeless shelter some three months in back rent and is poised to open a joint in Las Vegas.

That evening we took the F-train to dinner with MM in Cobble Hill (Brooklyn) and checked out his place on the water by the cranes, which will soon be replaced by a park. Then back to Park Slope, where I learnt that The Man With the Telescope is not a figment of the Hex's imagination; he was right there on the corner of 9th Street and 7th Avenue, with not one but two very powerful telescopes aimed at Saturn. I couldn't see it at first, and then it appeared, looking just like the cartoon version of itself. "Are you out here because it's a new moon?" I asked. Turns out he had no idea it was a new moon. Apparently it's just another day for the rest of the world. Passersby all stopped cold when they saw the telescopes, and paused to see Saturn and comment on it. They all had that childlike look of wonder on their faces that's all so rare these days. One man had taken up residence with his beer-in-a-coffee-cup, and was holding court and making things up ("The only time you can balance an egg on its side is during the vernal equinox") and generally acting like one of the telescopes belonged to him. Quite entertaining.

The next day at yoga LL had saved me a fabulous spot third row center, and she got the double whammy adjustment in Sarvangasana from Saraswati and then Guruji, who also got me! After breakfast at the famous photog's loft (during which someone broke the cardinal rule of yoga cool and accosted poor Mike D, who was trying to read a book, with a litany of "I'm your biggest fan" BS) there was more running around; this time to see the rockstar friends who are 50 / pushing 50 and both living in Brooklyn. Apparently I had some bad organic tofu cheesecake with the latter because I became quite ill afterwords and turned around while on my way to see Swami Bua and went straight "home." At first I was just feeling weird. Then massive loose motions and the type of washing-machine activity in the stomach that hasn't been seen since Mysore. That went away sometime during the middle of the night, after innumberable trips to the WC, only to be replaced by nausea / dry heaves / headache / exhaustion. Maybe seeing Guruji et al brings out this type of, er, cleansing. I missed the last class with him. Again....

All I could think of was that I had to fly at 5 and how in the hell was I going to pack, let alone go through with the rest of it. But I knew from Mysore that they won't let you change your flight for something as trivial as food poisoning, or whatever it was. Somehow I made calls to get others to help line up subs for Saturday and Sunday; the Hex got me some ginger ale and crackers, and then went out again for some Gatorade, Excedrin Migraine and baking soda. I took a teaspoon of the latter mixed with water just before leaving. Dorian Black says it clears out the system. No kidding; I immediately threw up every liquid I'd had so far that morning -- and felt a whole lot better. For a few minutes anyway.

The ride to La Guardia was uneventful because the window was open and the Hex and I had explained to the driver, en espanol, that I had problemas en el estomago due to comiendo algo malo. He got it, and drove quite carefully.

I checked a couple of bags with the SkyCaps, who informed me that the plane was running an hour late. Something about winds at O'Hare and everything running behind. When I finally got to the gate I wobbled up to The Man and handed him my boarding pass. Sweating, I explained that I didn't know where I was sitting but that I had "some kind of food poisoning" and perhaps it would be better for everyone if I were in an aisle seat. (This "loose motions" routine did wonders when I flew from Mysore to Frankfurt in similiar straits). I guess you just can't argue with diarrhea. He gave me a seat on the aisle in the last row -- right across from the bathroom.

I thanked him and wobbled over to a seat in the waiting area. I piled up my stuff in the spot next to me, put my head on it, and drifted in and out of sleep only to awakened by an announcement that the flight would be further delayed due to "weather" between NYC and Chicago. They said they were going to board us and let us sit on the tarmac for another 1.5 hours. I had to hear that a few times before it sunk in. Once we got on the plane we learnt it would be more like 2 hours, possibly longer. But at least I was near the bathroom! And on some level there's something kind of cool about knowing that a war is being fought in your very own digestive system and that's why you're feeling so damned awful.

I kept very still, which held the nausea at bay and made the massive headache throb a bit less. I even slept a bit and ate a cracker or two. Apparently they had merged two flights into one, because many sleek first class types were stuck in steerage with the rest of us. The woman next to me was a Platinum member and very upset to be in the last row and not able to have the whole can of ginger ale to herself because "there isn't enough." Even worse, she was next to sweaty, scary me, with a very bright black-and-red bandanna covering my nose and mouth to minimize her headache-magnifying cologne and so no one could see me sleep with my mouth hanging open and drooling. I also had my hood over my head to keep warm. And the glasses. And disheveled hair. The Columbine terrorist look.

I had placed the barf bag in a strategic spot and was taking the occasional sip of ginger ale; plain water made me feel awful. The interminable flight went sort of OK until we hit turbulence right before touching down. That weird salty saline started squirting from the sides of my mouth and I reached for the sick bag and put my head into the aisle, near my left knee. More sweating. But somehow I held it in. I had to spare Platinum lady the spectacle, if nothing else.

We finally landed and went to the gate. But it wasn't over yet. After the seatbelt sign went off they made us stand in the aisle another 15 minutes while they hooked us up to the gate -- at this point I was getting ready to lose it -- and then apologized for the "short delay." Then another ten minutes of waiting while the rest of the passengers located their luggage, jockeyed for position and finally deplaned. I kicked myself for saying earlier in the day, "Well, at least I'm only flying to Chicago. It's not like that time I was so sick and had to fly from Bangalore to Frankfurt." No, that trip was just a couple of hours longer.

After a weird trancelike marathon-length walk to baggage claim I got my stuff and headed outside, where I found Dorian Black waiting for me exactly where he said he would be.

On the way home I fancied mashed potatoes -- a good sign, I think -- which we got from KFC. The couple of bites I had stayed down, as did the pain reliever I took later, and which knocked out the headache.

It was such a treat to be back in my own place, with the bedroom right across from the bathroom, and where I'm not disturbing anyone every time I used it (and where there's no line to get into Trader Joe's!). I slept like the dead. Today I got up at 7:30 and took a bath and ate some crackers and went back to sleep til noon.

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