My day yesterday: set the alarm for 4:26am. Holy shit. Got up, stumbled around, showered, dressed – even wore a tie – and ate a banana and left for the airport. Time on the clock while in the Sumner Tunnel: 5:12am. As a sidenote, let me tell you what an absolute dream it is to drive on the central artery in downtown Boston when there is nobody on the road. It was surreal. Anyway, hop on a flight to Newark at 6:00am, just before we pull back from the gate, I hear Neil Young’s “Heart Of Gold” on the speakers. Very nice. Anyway, the flight was uneventful and we touch down in bee-yoo-tiful Newark, New Jersey around 7am.
One good thing about the Newark airport is their mini-subway system that shuttles people from terminal to terminal, including stops for rental cars, parking, etc. It’s an overground monorail and it works to perfection. So I am off to Avis. Avis has great customer service – you know why? Because I don’t have to deal with them. I get off the monorail and walk directly to parking space number 55, where there’s a big piece of paper hanging off the rear view mirror that says “Jeff Copetas.” Perfect. I’m off to the races in my rented Grand Am, with the sweet sounds of Jay Bennett & Edward Burch coming out of the CD player. Always bring CDs when you rent a car. It occurs to me as I am driving on 287 South in New Jersey that it’s 8:15am and I’ve already been awake almost four hours.
First stop, Basking Ridge, NJ. Meeting. We meet. We talk. All of us are white guys in their 30s and 40s. One year from now, it will mean nothing to anybody. Anyway, an hour later, I’m back on the road, heading into New York City. In through the Holland Tunnel and up into the glory of one the world’s finest cities. I need to drop off the rental, so I slide down a few side streets and ahead of me I see a large clearing, not sure what this is, but it’s odd – this is NYC, after all. Upon approach, I realize what I am seeing – Ground Zero. Right in front of me. I stop the car and look up to where those two towers once stood and tried to imagine, seriously imagine, those towers there, and those airplanes, and the horror. I’m standing right there, and I still cannot even imagine actually being there when it occured or that it even happened. Occasionally I still think it was simply a swift job of video editing or something and that I will wake up and hope it’s a glorious morning on September 11th, 2001 and it was all just a disgusting dream. Then we can go back to not casually looking around to see who’s on our airplane. So our friends don’t have to drive to Florida instead of fly. So we don’t have to look at just about everyone of middle eastern descent and wonder. Come to think of it, I pretty much look at everyone and wonder. Or wonder what’s inside that truck that just drove by. Or anything. Anything. My first trip to Ground Zero. Glad I went, still just cannot imagine, cannot even fathom or comprehend, how painful it must have been (and still is) for people to have witnessed it.
Anyway, I dropped off the car and went to our NYC office. An hour later, on my way to another meeting, this time on Broadway in the heart of it all. Good times, good times. And DAMN I am tired already! Meeting over, and I’ve arranged for a ride back to Newark airport at 4pm. I get in the car and the guy says “are you Jeff Copetas?” Now, let me tell you something, okay? When you get into the back of a car and someone says that to you, it feels damn cool. Like I’m something important or whatever. I know I’m not, but for a fleeting minute there, I felt like saying, “yes, yes I am. Please take me to my private jet.” Hah. Anyway, all I said was “well, yes, and you even pronounced it correctly,” and he responded by saying, “ah, that is because I am not an American, you know?” Oh god. Just what I need. I end up avoiding conversation with him by making several calls which easily could have waited until today. Blah blah blah and I land in Boston at 7:45pm after being assaulted by chatter on the airplane for 40 minutes straight. It’s the equivilant of having someone throw small pebbles at you for one hour. Back home and in the door at 9pm and in bed at 11. A 20 hour day.
The good part, I am still in the clothes I slept in, working from home today, awaiting the arrival of our new furniture. And that’s all there is………