(Sunday morning between 7:15 and 8:45.)
I’m at work, on the day I’m supposed to leave for vacation at noon to catch a 2 PM flight to Los Angeles. I walk into the office to find out that every DVD copy of the webcasts I’ve done for the last five years have been taken off the spindles I had them on, put into individual plastic cases, and stacked over Nikki’s desk. And none of them are labeled. I now have to go through every single one of them every single time I get a request to find something, and I am TOTALLY pissed off about it. Who the fuck did this? I know without asking--it’s Mark Flavin. It’s always Mark Flavin. He’s sitting next to Nikki reading The Onion online when I walk into his office, and when I see him I just roar like a bull for ten seconds, which makes Nikki jump up out of her chair like I’ve stuck a needle into her ear drum. Flavin? Flavin ignores me. “Can I please ask you people not to rearrange things that I already have arranged, please?” I say in my best imitation of my father’s passive-aggressive angry voice. “Why, what are you looking for?” says Flavin without looking up. I pull a meeting name out of my hat. “The CNBC interview right after Bear Stearns folded.” Flavin gets up, goes over to Nikki’s desk, stares at the piles and piles of DVD’s, then reaches up and pulls one out of the middle. “Here you go,” he says, and hands it to me as he walks back to his desk. Oh great. Now he knows the system and I don’t. Fucking Flavin.
I’m trying to think of something politely insulting to say to him when I get a call from Liz upstairs. “It’s almost noon. You wanted me to call you and remind you to get out of here,” she says. I look at the clock. Ten to twelve. “All right,” I say. “One drink and I’m gone.” I take my luggage upstairs, check it in by the train station, and sit down next to Liz at the bar. “So who are you seeing in LA?” she asks. “This woman I haven’t seen since college,” I tell her. “She found me on Facebook.” “Which one is this?” “Amy.” “THAT Amy?” “That Amy.” “You’re gonna need another drink,” she says, and pours me a vodka shot.
Two more drinks later and I am on the train to the plane. I’m cutting it close. I’m reading a thriller called 1903 about a guy who discovers that Henry Ford was a secret member of the Nazi party and even got a membership card signed by Hitler, a card whose number (1903) is the year of the first Model-T. It’s damn good--so good that I totally forget for a while what stop I’m supposed to be getting off, and when the train comes to a halt and I hear the conductor announce, “Langley; Langley Station,” a little bell goes off in my head (“This is your stop! Get off now!”) and I close the book, grab my suitcase, and dash off. Ten seconds later, as the train pulls away, I realize that, not only is this NOT my stop, but because it’s nowhere near the airport, I am going to have to walk to the bus stop ten country blocks away in order to hopefully catch the bus that will take me to the airport in time to catch my flight. Which is in ten minutes. “You are such an idiot,” I say to myself as I head off down the street. “You are never gonna make your flight. You need to get to a phone and cancel the ticket, so you can get a partial refund. What was it, $745? Go back to the station and get on the phone and cancel the ticket.”
I turn around. The station’s gone. It’s just trees and lawns and houses here. And the sun is so bright that everything is almost colorless. As I watch, the trees and houses get whiter and whiter, and the wind rises up, and there’s a rushing sound like every leaf on every tree in the world is getting hit by a fifty-mile-an-hour wind, and that’s when I wake up.