Swagman #1 – Leaving Home
New York City, New York, USA
“Nobody said it was easy.”
The night before Joe left for Fiji I was scheduled to play guitar at George Keeley’s Pub on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Joe rounded up his closest friends, I rounded up some of mine, and we had one large, loud, going away party for him that lasted until around 2am. Since I was the musical entertainment I was granted free drinks for the entire night, so as each member of our party departed there was a round of drinks to say goodbye until all that remained was the designated driver, the drunk Dunn brothers, and a friend who was having trouble staying awake.
We left for the short ride back to Long Island, though as it turns out it would have taken us just as long to drive to Baltimore. Immediately after crossing the bridge onto the Island we stopped for gas and the car decided to call it a night. Though it was still running, the engine sounded like it was processing ball bearings. The whole car shook. We got out and popped the hood, which turned out to be just about the only mechanical thing we knew how to do. Naturally, a woman came over and took a good long look at the engine, disconnecting and reconnecting wires, tapping on metal, giving us the play by play on what she was doing and ultimately revealing that we were, as we suspected, screwed.
This was 3am.
After a long night and a short rest, Joe (left) and George are about to leave for the airport.
To save this story from dragging on as long as that night did, I’ll just say that after the driver’s irate parents, a tow truck, and a one hour delay in a garage, Joe and I walked into our house at 5:30am. I had to take him to the airport at 9:30, so after a nap he woke me up at 9:00 and we spent the next half hour in a mad rush to get him packed, run last minute errands, and drive him to the airport for his flight to Los Angeles. I’m happy to report everything worked according to plan.
Things went a bit more smoothly for my departure. I was scheduled to leave on July 5, so I spent the 4th dividing my time between a family barbeque, laundry, and packing. Packing for a trip like this is never what you think it will be. I gathered everything I needed, folded it as tightly as possible, and stuffed it into my backpack. When I finally sealed everything up I propped the backpack up on my bed, slipped my arms through the straps and immediately upon standing up fell backwards, landing on the bed like an upside down turtle. I unpacked, tossed aside a third of the clothes, and all was well.