Thursday, March 05, 2009

How I Survived My Four Extra Hours in JFK Airport

Every hour, all day, I phoned the airline. The automated voice told me repeatedly that my flight was leaving on time. I was skeptical -- there was snow all over the city, school was cancelled, and the news reported horror stories of hundreds of cancelled flights. But again and again the chipper voice claimed my flight was leaving on time, so I gathered by bags and my gastronomic goods and made my way to the airport.

Shortly before the flight was to begin boarding they pushed the departure time back. First it was twenty minutes, then an hour, then two hours. I stopped paying attention to the departure board. I got a JFK Special Pedicure from the quickie spa. I ate my mozzarella and roasted vegetable sandwich purchased at an Italian bakery on Clinton Street earlier in the day. I read a magazine. I tried to keep myself busy and happy. It had been a great trip, after all, and I didn't want to sour it by getting down in the dumps about seemingly inevitable delays.

But then I caved. I was tired, restless, and bored. Most of all I was ready to be home. I remembered the cookies in my bag. They were a special Momofuku Milk Bar treat. One for me on the plane, another to be shared with M. after I arrived home. There was a Compost Cookie, chewy and stuffed with chocolate and oats and walnuts. There was a Cornflake Marshmallow Cookie -- the cookie that was always sold out, day after day, till I stopped one last time before picking up my bags and heading to the airport.

I decided it wouldn't hurt to have just a bite of both. But then they were so good, I had to have another. It was an experiment -- I was trying to decide which cookie I liked better. The Compost Cookie was an early favorite, I already knew it was chewy-chocolaty-divine. But the Cornflake Marshmallow cookie turned out to also be stuffed with chocolate and was even chewier, crunchier (thanks to the bits o' cornflake) and chocolatier than the Compost Cookie. But the Compost Cookie now seemed to have pretzel bits and a hint of coffee I didn't notice before.

Back and forth, back and forth. I think this is called mindless or stress eating, the sort you're not supposed to engage in. I didn't care. I got down to the final bites, decided I liked the Marshmallow Cornflake Cookie best (for the moment) and then began to feel mildly guilty about not having any sweet treat to take home to M. But then I remembered the bag of Australian Ginger Bears in my suitcase and the steward called out and said we could board the plane. And then I gathered my bags and stopped feeling bad at all.

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