I love Jimmy Fallon. I really do. He has a level of geeky fandom about him that imbues his work with such passion that I can’t help but love him. I’d post some examples but am at work and can’t access youtube. However, I’d encourage you to google “Jimmy Fallon History Rap” and “Jimmy Fallon Call me maybe” to see how brilliantly he utilizes his partners (they’re so much more than a backup band) The Roots to really deliver a level of musical awesomeness previously unseen on TV.

But, I digress. I love Jimmy Fallon and I was in NYC, killing time before we had to go to Newark to catch our flight home. So I went on the NBC Studio Experirence tour, which indicates in its promo material that you *may* see Jimmy’s studio. You know I love Jimmy Fallon because I took my mum on this tour and she’s never seen an NBC tv show in her whole life (I know this because she didn’t recognize the SNL studio, which really hasn’t changed since she was young enough to care about watching it). And I did this, because I was secretly hoping that I would be able to fan gush about Jimmy Fallon if I casually walked in the same hallway as he did and caught a glimpse.

My day totally went to crap because of one thing that happened on this tour. I am, like most people, a creature of habit. I have a place for just about everything, and when I vary from this routine, I lose stuff so badly that it’s only normally found when it’s time to move again. To the point, I have a specific spot for my keys. And even though I was in NYC, I had put my keys in the same spot I always do – the right pocket of my jacket.

You have to go through security on this tour, by the way. There’s a video and some dire warnings about mace and pepper spray (um… Canadian here. There will be no weapons on this tour.) and then you have to go through a metal detector and get your bag manually searched. The weird thing about this is that you can bring your jacket through the metal detector, which I haven’t seen in a long long time.

Anyway, I get up there, expecting to give over my jacket, and they say “no, empty your pockets into your bag and go through with your jacket”. There were 27 people behind me and I felt pressured so I just dumped the pockets into my bag and walked through and then BOOM, we were on an elevator and moving.

I didn’t see Jimmy Fallon, by the way, or his studio (dude… ?uestlove would have made my year. I’m not joking.). I did get to see the Dr Oz studio (Mum was appalled at how dusty the lights are) and the SNL studio (smaller than you’d think), and the Nightly News studio. It was fun and interesting and fast paced and I never redistributed the stuff from my pockets back to my pockets.

Fast forward through lunch, a mosey around Rockefeller Centre, over to Times Square, and back to Grand Central where we killed some time people watching and reading. We bopped back to Brooklyn to pick up our bags and take a cab back to Grand Central for the bus to Newark.

It was about 20 minutes from Newark to Grand Central on Thursday, by the way. Mum and I had a 7:35PM flight out last night, and we figured that it was 15 minutes from Greenpoint to Grand Central, another 30 or so on the bus, and then we’d have dinner in the airport. No worries. Plenty of time.

The taxi was late. We still got to Grand Central at 4:55PM, which means we should have gotten on a bus leaving at 5pm, except the bus driver decided to leave at 5:15, and then it took an entire hour to get from Grand Central to the Port Authority, while picking up about 35 passengers and their giant “I shopped in NYC” suitcases. It took another 40 minutes to get to Terminal B at Newark.

By this time, I’m completely apoplectic because I was in charge of this trip. I booked the flights and the apartment and planned out what we were doing, and I was the one who said we should leave at 4:30. And it’s 6:55 and our flight leaves at 7:35 and there’s no damned way they’re going to let us on an international flight only 40 minutes before takeoff and if we don’t take this flight we’re going to get stuck in Toronto overnight because we only have a 50 minute window between landing in Toronto and taking off for Ottawa and we have to clear customs.

So I’m running through my head what we’re going to do – my phone is dead, and the charger is in my suitcase. So when we miss the flight, we’ll have to dig out a charger, and I’ll have to stand next to a plug with my phone plugged in long enough for me to turn it on and activate my cell network and find a hotel and call my Dad to tell him not to pick us up at the airport. But I can do this because I’m a planner but maybe they’ll still let us on the plane because we’re really rather pathetic and obviously stressed but still very polite because we’re Canadians, right?

They let us on the plane but said that our bags may not get to Toronto on that flight so we’d be responsible for waiting for them in Toronto and did we want to get on the 8:10 instead? Hell no, I said. If there’s the slightest chance that we’re getting to Ottawa tonight, we’re doing it. By the time this conversation was done, the plane was boarding and we ran to security but TSA wouldn’t let us cut in line and then we got in different line ups and mum went through right away but I got stuck behind people who had clearly never been to an airport before so when she got through I told her to go to the gate and tell them I’m in security and will be there in TWO MINUTES.

Of course, I get the random pat down. Just of my legs (likely due to the artificial joint in my foot), which the (female) TSA rep patted down and said “Wow, you’ve got some serious strength here!”. Seriously? Let’s have a chat about how you get these legs – play squash – now move on cause MY PLANE IS BOARDING.

Grab my backpack, my shoulder bag and my jacket and run down the terminal to my flight where they’ve already called my Mum’s name and I can hear them saying as I careen around the corner “please come to the gate as you are the last two passengers to board this flight” and I yell out “I’m HERE!”. (This run proves the point that my best friend made about me totally being able to run indefinitely if something is chasing me, and is a technique I will totally be using for the triathlon next year.)

Get on the flight. Sweat. No fan. Major turbulence ahead. Put my backpack under the seat ahead of me and give mum my shoulder bag to put under her seat. Hear the cargo bay doors close and know with 100% certainty that our bags are not on the flight. But that’s okay, because getting delayed out of the Toronto Island airport is fairly frequent and I know where to stay, but now I need to make a choice between the Fairmont (close to the airport, terrible toiletries) and the Novotel (farther but great beds) and wonder if there’s even such a thing as a pay phone in the customs area of the airport which was just recently built (in the era of cell phones). At least I know where to have dinner, because I was stuck on a delay layover at a hotel where there was no restaurant and did I mention it’s now 8PM and i haven’t eaten since lunch and I am a cranky motherfucker when I don’t eat?

Land in Toronto, go to Customs and the following conversation ensues:

Officer: How are you today?
Kerry: Stressed!
Officer: Why are you stressed?
Kerry (recounts trip so far)
Officer: Where are you from?
Kerry: Ottawa
Officer: What do you do there?
Kerry: Work for the government.
Officer: Of course you do. What else is there to do in Ottawa other than work for the government or be retired?
Kerry: True.
Officer: What did you spend this money on?
Kerry: I did my dad’s Christmas shopping for him.
Officer: Seriously? You are an amazing daughter. (True. I also did it last year.)
Kerry: It’d be more amazing if my bag made it here. I really don’t want to spend overnight in the Customs hall waiting on a bag.
Officer: You never know! It might go all the way through!
Kerry: Totally not my luck today.
Officer: Carry on.

Get to the carousel. Bags are coming off. And more bags. And more bags. And if you had the last bags on they should be the first ones off, right? Mum is now turned away from the carousel because she’s so sure they’re not coming off and I catch a glimpse of burnt orange and start a happy dance. Mum and I high fived like six times before the bags got to us (it’s a skill we’re working on. Mostly it’s a high three) and we booted out to drop off our bags for the domestic flight.

I go to the wrong spot (bag dropoff, because that’s what I’m doing, right?) but they take my bag and then won’t take Mum’s because it has a strap on it (what?) and as she’s walking to the right spot I say to her “Mum, where’s my shoulder bag?”.

That’s right. My shoulder bag (technically a cross body MEC bag that I’ve had for about 12 years) that was sitting underneath her feet on the flight from Newark is still on the flight from Newark. That bag (which has my keys and pocket change and NYC subway map and oh yeah, my phone, camera, and iPod in it) is on a freaking plane. And I have 40 minutes to get on my next flight.

Porter Airlines (thank you, Porter, you’re awesome) attendant Magda (please give her a raise!) locates my bag, but it’s on the other side of Customs so she takes us back there and who lets us in but my Customs officer who greets me with “OF COURSE it’s you!” and the best mock stink eye you have every seen. I mean, I have a great stink eye, but it was nothing on this woman. I run to grab my bag, which she has to manually check while she makes fun of me (I inspire this in people because I take it well) and I drop my boarding pass and she says to me “Thank god I turned down that job in Ottawa, or I may have turned into YOU”. Harsh. Harsh. But possibly true.

Go back upstairs, make it through another round of security, grab some dinner (at 9:15PM) and slump down into a table to eat. Made it on the mostly empty plane, suffered through 40 minutes of extreme turbulence (I coped by singing the US anthem, by the way. Mum thinks I’m bat shit crazy.) and landed in Ottawa on time, with our bags. I made it home at 11:30.  

And you know what I blame this whole day on? My keys not being in my pocket. Damn you, Jimmy Fallon! Damn you! (I love you. Just not the security or the fact that I didn’t actually get to see your set. Or you. Or The Roots. Cause if they sang “In the Muuuuuuusic” to me I think I would plotz.)

Was in the office this morning at 7:30 and am mainlining diet coke to stay lively. It’s the good times.

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