Delaney arrives to pick me up from the airport at around 9:30 A.M. and she's apologizing. I'm emotionally shutting down in a confused mix of denial, frustration, and anger. In the back of my mind, I haven't lost hope. Most of you who know me know I'm a pretty optimistic cat that never gives up. I called up Christie Z to tell her that, regrettably, I couldn't make it. She was understanding and wondered if perhaps I could still work something out to make it to the battle. I informed her of my airport nightmare and pretty much closed the door on making it to NYC. I called my mom to let her know that I could help her move this couch. She offered to pay the $800 ticket for US Airways to get me to NYC. I couldn't take her up on the offer. That amount of money for a one way ticket cannot be justified in my mind, no matter what the occasion. So we travel home, and I try to find something to occupy my day. All the anticipation and excitement seemed to have turned into anxiety and depression. I walk through my house trying to find some semblance of a day to salvage so that I might forget about my ill fated trip and my chance to partake in this ONCE IN A LIFETIME opportunity. No chance!
My phone starts ringing. I contemplate not picking it up. It's my mom.
"Hey, where are you at?" she asks.
"I'm at home. When do you wanna go get that couch??" I ask.
"Uhhh, I found you a cheap flight on Continental. It leaves at 11:55 it's a direct flight. You'll be flying into Newark. The plane arrives at 3:55. Happy Birthday!! We're on our way to come get you now!"
OMFG!!!! NO WAY!!!
So apparently my sister had her Continental Airlines rewards card in her wallet (my Mom and my sister fly A LOT), and they called Continental directly and reserved the flight. I'm gonna make it after all. I remembered Christie Z's words. Maybe you were supposed to miss the flight for some reason. Maybe something terrible would have happened on the flight or on your way into the city.
Yeah, maybe I would've gotten mugged and the universe was trying to keep me alive so I could catch this second flight. I don't mind the plane ticket being my birthday present. I just wanted to be in New York.
So my sister comes to get me and I'm off to Louis Armstrong International Airport for the second time that morning. I arrive at the airport and I get my e-ticket at the self-check in terminal. Ok!! Now it's 11:00 by the time I get through security.
"Yeah, on time plane leaves in about an hour! I'm gonna make it!" I thought to myself. I was elated, relieved and grateful that I would be going. This emotional rollercoaster was pulling in to the stop to let me off.
I get an overpriced hamburger from the Kiosk right next to the gate. I eat quickly, still frantic an nervous from the morning's events. I had never flown into Newark, I was not really sure how I could get in to New York. I guessed that a cab would be upwards around $100,000 and I'm not terribly familiar with the transit system at the Newark airport. Whatever, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. The important thing is that I've got a boarding pass. I'm in time for my flight, and I'll be getting to NYC in time for the battle. I care about nothing else.
I call Christie Z, and update my twitter feed letting all my NYC people know that despite prior reports, I will be arriving God willing. The flight begins boarding, and of course my group is the last to board. I can't find a spot in the overhead bins for one of my carry-ons so I just hold it in my lap. I'm to the no bullshit point where there small stuff really just doesn't matter. My focus now is to land in Newark and find the quickest and cheapest avenue to get me to Santos Party House before the start of the battle.
Once I settled in and buckeled my seatbelt, I seemed to relax. The anxiety washed from my body and the calm of exhaustion took over. I fell asleep before the plane took off only to wake up for lunch service and fall back asleep.
When I arrive in Newark, I've to take the AirTram to the train station then take the train directly into Penn Station in Manhattan. I dash, trying to make up for lost time.
"Where's the AirTram??? Where's the AirTram??"
I find it after asking a Homeland Security Airport dood. I jump on the AirTram, turn my phone on and hit up my twitter. I get to the train platform and the next train will be 15 minutes. I go into the bathroom and change into my clothes I wanted to wear to the battle. I splash on a little cologne, wash up and I'm good to go!!!
Next stop, the train into Penn Station. New York City, here I come!!! Seems like I'm making pretty good time on the train. I text message my people letting them know I was coming to town, I update my twitter feed. I check my email (what did I ever do before smartphones?) even play some PacMan on my phone as I await arrival into one of the greatest cities on Earth. I'm peeping all the graffiti along the way and I'm people watching. There are these two Jersey bammas obviously en route to the Mets game. I deduced this from the fact that they were dressed head to toe in Mets attire, I could be wrong, but if the shoe fits...
I arrive at Penn station and begin to make my way to the surface. I get in the line at the cabstand, and the time is about 4:45 PST. The battle was supposed to start at 5:00, and I've absolutely got to be there for 5, when the judging starts. Being there for the battle really was enough for me. It would just be a huge blessing if I could actually take part in the judging. I know that events like this NEVER run on schedule. So I'm not worried. I jump into the cab and I text Christie Z to let her know my status. I'm not expecting her to delay the battle, I just wanted her to know I was en route. I was really looking forward to meeting, As-1, Marcus, Slyce, Fatfingaz, Sally Mclintock, Marilyn Sasha, Dj Revel, Precision, Solo, Doug Coen, Mista B, OHM, Lodus, Cj Sanchez, Baby Fatfingaz, Kool Dj Red Alert, Lord Finesse, and Dj Supreme.
I'm on my way. I'm anxious. I'm relieved. I'm thankful. I'm nervous.
I arrive at the Santos Party House. And thankfully the battle hasn't started. I check in with Christie Z, and with all of my bags in tow I settle into my role as a judge.