Yeah, so I step onto the train on Wednesday morning at the truly ungodly hour of 5:00 AM and I'm not in my seat three seconds before my iPod proceeds to a) freeze, b) go crazy, and c) die. Perfect. What better time to be without the sweet distraction of Joe's Party Mix '06 than when I've got nine hours on a crowded train ahead of me?
Ah, but before you go thinking this is going to be one of those "my travel story from hell" entries, I have to let you down gently. My New York Thanksgiving was all I was hoping for and more. And by "more" I mean "more wine." And "more walking." And "more laughing at the revulsion of having to watch Cheri Oteri than the actual Cheri Oteri has gotten, ever."
So, in an effort to convey what I've been up to while I was busy not updating this blog, I figured I'd go back to basics, seventh grade style.
WHAT I LEARNED OVER MY THANKSGIVING VACATION
By Joe Reid
1. I learned that while rail travel has become something of a forgotten mode of transportation for roughly 360 days a year, during the Thanksgiving weekend, it becomes a hotbed of undergrad travel. Consequently, such luxuries as a free seat next to you and a flexible return schedule become quaint artifacts of a bygone era. But in return, the omnipresent odor of the under-showered that generally lingers in the background on Amtrak's regular schedule is easily overpowered by the cigarettes-and-beer musk of the college student.
2. I learned that while Breathe Right strips have proven invaluable to me in my day-to-day life, they did little to prevent my clockwork-like snoring explosions that jolted me out of my tenuous napping and likely gave the girl sitting next to me some prime blogging material of her own. "OMG, this guy next to me was snoring SO LOUDLY! I swear, this is the last time I travel over Thanksgiving."
3. I learned that while the term "a case of wine" sounds like a lot to tackle, it's really just a starting course.
4. I learned that it's possible to "mis-sort" a turkey and leave your Thanksgiving meal in Memphis over the weekend. FedEx: finding new ways to fuck up your holiday since 1971! I also learned the five stages of Lost turkey Grief. Stage 1: Anger. "The fuck you say? They mis-sorted it?" Stage 2: Pragmatism. "Okay, there was a recipe, in a...magazine? About a one-hour thanksgiving dinner? Okay, all we need is boneless turkey breasts. And...what the FUCK is a 'rimmed baking pan'?" (That's a relapse into Stage 1, which is to be expected.) Stage 3: Blissful Resignation. "Whatever. Somebody's cooking chicken? Fiiiiiine by me, dude." Stage 4: Repetition and Inquisition. "Hey Joe, guess what?" "What?" "They lost! Our turkey!" Stage 5: Punch-drunk Creativity. "What about a postcard of the turkey sunning itself on a sheet of tin foil on a beach in Miami?" "Or a touristy shot atop the arch in St. Louis." "Holding the camera out on its wing and taking a shot of himself at the Grand Canyon." "Showing some thigh as it tries to hitch a ride to Portland."
5. I learned that Vince Chao is the best darts teacher ever.
6. I learned that when you think the continental breakfast runs until 10:30, that generally means that it runs until 10:00, and I'm a dumbass. Consequently, I learned the value of a vending machine Danish as morning sustenance.
7. I learned that Vince takes longer to decide on an outfit than Sarah, AB, and myself combined. And I DIG that about him.
8. I learned that there's no such thing as "filling up on the cheese plate" when the actual Thanksgiving meal includes sweet potatoes, cheese grits, and two kinds of stuffing. Two kinds!
9. I learned the sublime joy of the phrase "fix my grits!"
10. I learned that a Thanksgiving turkey is way overrated. My party feasted on a Turducken for dinner. Only without the duck layer. And without the...turkey layer. Leaving a delicious roasted chicken, which meant all the usual poultry goodness without the fun-killing tryptophan coma. Which in turn meant a few more precious hours of post-dinner drinking to be had at The Emptiest Bar in Manhattan.
11. I learned that the Couch Baron is unparalleled with a jukebox playlist. Give him five bucks, he'll get you Air Supply, the Cranberries, and a side of "Sister Christian." Which led to Erin and/or I constantly interrupting perfectly engaging conversations with the following exchange: Us: "Did you play this song?" John: "Yeah." Us: "Awesome!"
12. I learned that no one wants to watch a DVD starring Cheri Oteri. Or Molly Shannon. At all. Ever. Still. We can repeat this if necessary.
13. I learned that somewhere in the world there are incriminating photos of Erin and I, looking very scandalous indeed.
14. I learned that you walk a lot in New York. A LOT. Which is pretty great, actually, because if and when I do move there, I'm almost guaranteed to lose weight, between the walking and the stairs. Dear God, the stairs. By the end of the weekend, my body kept alternating between "rebellion" and "acclimation."
15. I learned that I have a weird-ass way of playing Leghorn (that's the game where you name movies, and then an actor in that movie, and then a movie that person was in, etc.). Reminiscent of The Great Trivial Pursuit Embargo of '03, my off-putting and savant-like ability to retain the most useless of information makes it so no one wants to play with me. Serves me right for playing Narc off of "Ray Liotta," but still. It also probably didn't help that we all discovered at the same time that I could name all the Best Picture Oscar winners, from memory, back to 1979. Sigh. Boys don't make passes at boys who wear glasses, Joe!
16. I learned that repetition only makes the following words more enjoyable: "Ahhhm Anna Beth! Ahhhm awesome! Greg Berlanti is my best friend! Everybody loves me!"
17. I learned, once again, that Bring It On and Cruel Intentions are fantastic movies and national treasures to be celebrated by our generation for years to come. Whither Eliza Dushku? Tru Calling couldn't have been that bad. Get this girl another role worthy of Missy and Faith, please and thank you.
18. I learned a lot about Celebrity. Like, a really lot. Enough to write a coming of age story about a boy who was inexperienced in the ways of party games, but through a series of misadventures involving Vince bellowing "Sea!" at sub-sonic levels or Sarah desperately trying to convince us that Molly Ringwald had a mustache, that boy becomes a man. Sarah gets the frenzied hilarity of it all a lot better than I do, but trust me. I've got hair in places I never had hair before. I speak with a voice an entire octave lower than it used to be ("SEA!" Nope, still not low enough).
19. I've learned, once again, that it's a sad thing indeed to have to leave all my lovely and wonderful friends after a fantastic four days.
20. Finally, I learned that my lovely and wonderful friends? Are just so JUVENILE!