The New Yorxpedition: Prologue

The Cheesecake Factory is full to bursting, ravenous young diners sparking cigarettes outside or huddling into seats in the waiting area as they pore over menus and down cocktails, killing time until their hockey-puck pager starts rattling like a fault line dwelling and they get a proper table. The place was recommended to me by the late-teen cell phone jockey who set up my phone with Stateside service for the duration of my visit, but I suspect I only would have managed a few bites there if I’d arrived on an earlier bus. Maybe yesterday’s. Instead I wander the streets for a short span until the Daily Grill stretches out on the street corner, and that’s where I’m writing this while I tuck back a Dark and Stormy and wait for the chefs to throw together a chicken pot pie.
Washington State is beautiful, as far as I’ve seen from the Greyhound bus windows that have been my main viewpoint for the lion’s share of the afternoon. Halfway to Seattle, we passed through the town where my mother spend most of her youth, and she commented that the West Coast must simply be in our blood, through and through. I couldn’t disagree; between the tiny towns lining the highway after the border crossing, I was fixed upon the scenery so much I almost forgot to watch the new Sorkin film I’d made sure to download for the trip (Good, but the Social Network still reigns supreme.)
The alcohol is starting to works it’s wonderful magic now as the stresses I was feeling earlier today begin to dissipate like a morning mist getting burnt off before noon. I woke up with a belly full of fire and my heart in my throat like it was ready to stay there, an obstinate occupier, for the rest of the week. I’ve been getting better at managing my neuroses, though not enough to avoid doubling back to check to see if I’d locked the door behind me after I’d left (I had).
When they bring me the chicken pot pie I ordered, the damn thing is bigger than my face.
Welcome to America.