Ramblings of the Flight Back to NJ

September 24, 2009 · 5 comments

I’m only typing now because I find in soothing.  I’m sitting on the plane on the way home from San Diago (home of Ron Burgundy).  I couldn’t tell you whether the guy next to me is reading this as I’m typing it, but if he is – hi.  Maybe it would be a good idea to stop reading now, buddy.  This is really none of your business.

Anyway.  The movie The Soloist (Jaime Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.) just finished up.  I didn’t see much of it and didn’t listen to any of it.  It looked dramatic.  I don’t know that I can believe Jaime Foxx as a dramatic actor, but what the heck – I don’t feel like criticizing the poor semi-former-comic bastard.  The next movie up is a Nickelodeon flick with Eddie Murphy – hang on…Imagine That.  No thanks, I think I’ll type for a bit more and maybe take a bit more of a nap.

If the second movie just started, that means we’ve got at least another couple of hours left in this flight.  The flight out to CA was about 5.5 hours, give or take.  So without taking wind and whatnot into too much consideration, I’m going to go right ahead and assume that the flight back to NJ will be about the same length of time.  Again, which means I’ve got at least another couple of hours of sitting in seat 8C of continental flight whatever on this littleish Boeing.  At least I’m in a row seat – I had a middle seat on the way out to CA.

I’m giving some serious thought to getting out of the business I’m in.  I don’t know how serious I am about it right at this moment, but I can definitely say that there weren’t many finance industry people I truly enjoyed meeting these last two days.  Maybe it’s just my own feeling of being less-than:  I shook hands with a whole lot of hedge fund managers.  I very well may be wrong, but I’m kind of assuming they’re all some flavor of millionaire.

I could be wrong.

I finished off The Sun Also Rises on Tuesday night, so I took a cab up the nearest Barnes & Noble in Oceanside (maybe 10 minutes north of the hotel).  I still don’t have anything nice to say about Hemingway or his writing.

I don’t think I mentioned this, but my boss and most of the people with whom I associated at the conference on Tuesday were at a dinner that evening.  I wasn’t invited.  My boss received a reminder email about the dinner from the organizer – the guy who was also instrumental in organizing the conference itself, and a good friend of our firm’s – and replied that I would be accompanying him, and would it be acceptable for me to attend the dinner as well.  This dude said no.  The dinner’s really for ‘senior people’ only (sorry, I like Ted and wish he could come, but…); I was kind of pissed about that.

I help this guy out pretty regularly with many different things.  I slip him reports under the table all the time – reports that come from an expensive service that he doesn’t pay for, but our firm does.  He and I do similar research in hedge fund activism, and I’ve sent him pretty big chunks of my database, simply to help out a buddy.  I’ve never really asked anything from him – maybe called to chit chat here and there and get his opinion on something – but man!  Fuck him.  He’s totally on my Monte Cristo list now.

Fuckin creepy little slimeball.  Pick your pineapple, buddy, it’s coming.

Hell.  I guess I still am kind of pissed about the whole thing.  Oh well.  I’m in no hurry – “best eaten cold” and all that.

So part of the point of this exercise is to pass the time while I’m waiting for this plane ride to end.  Other than the movie situation as indicators, I have no real way of knowing how much longer this is going to take.  Which can be a real problem for a nicotine addict who hasn’t had a fix in several hours and probably won’t have an opportunity to smoke for at least a couple more.

The temptation is to start feeling the boundaries close in – the plane gets a little warmer, my feet a bit more sweaty and my socks more itchy, my legs start to feel like they’re cramping and need a stretch, the guy coughing next to me seems awfully close (you can stop reading ANYTIME now, buddy), and of course the thoughts come that “all I really need is a cigarette and these other issues will just go away”.  That’s the real problem with addiction.  Every other little inconvenience and discomfort is exaggerated in the first place, and then even more so by the recurring thought that “everything else will be solved as soon as I can have X” – insert whatever you like for X: porn, internet, internet porn, booze, cigarettes, heroin, gambling, a moist vagina, a decent science fiction novel.  Seriously, the list can go on ad infinitum.

The longer one is deprived of that X, the greater the perceived inconveniences and discomforts.  And the more the craving/desiring/longing for the X as panacea (cure-all).

So yeah, what I’m doing is partly a meditation practice.  I’m not exactly ignoring the thoughts of my perceived inconveniences, discomforts and X; rather, I’m remaining the silent witness to my thoughts (I am not my thoughts) and letting them pass over and through me.  Rather than fighting my desire for nicotine, I’m simply acknowledging it as a fact and not appending any additional desire to it – I’m trying to avoid that vicious circle mentioned above.


I’m guessing about an hour or so has passed since I finished that last sentence.  I was recently struck by the thought that I have no real desire to go to work tomorrow.  It’s now 10:19PM (ET) and I’m still on the plane.  Technically, we should be beginning our descent any minute now.  The stewardess just came around with coffee/tea/decaf, and I’m now drinking my second cup of coffee for this plane ride.  For whatever reason – maybe the aforementioned semi-meditative practices, I haven’t peed yet and don’t really feel the need to.

Eddie Murphy is making his dramatic entry to rescue his daughter from the stage – I really can’t recommend anything Murphy’s done recently.  Not even for a plane ride.  With no sound.  And only looking up to see brief portions.

So yeah.  The plane should be landing soon.  I’m guessing I’ll be back on terra firma around 11.  And definitely smoking a Newport by 11:30.  Probably many.

Then it’s off to find the car, drive home and go to sleep.  wtf.  Normally I get at least a couple of hours of down time between getting home and sleeping.  I imagine I’ll get to bed around 2AM.

Oh, by the way, the book I picked up at the Barnes & Noble in Oceanside is called Life of Pi.  It’s about God (with a capital G) – I think.  It’s ok so far.  Interesting enough, I suppose.  The writing is nice, the author is discussing relatively spiritual things, and it’s moving along fairly well.  I don’t think it’s phenomenal or anything, but I’m only about halfway through.

I think it will be good though.  And not just because of the awards and reviews and all that blather I’ve heard about it.  In case you hadn’t noticed, dear reader, I’m not much on allowing the opinions of others to sway my own.  In fact, I’m kind of an asshole about that:  a good review generally makes me skeptical.

I think Life of Pi will be good.  There was a good deal of set-up of the story in the beginning, prior to the main character actually getting ending up on the lifeboat with the tiger and hyena – enough of a set-up that I can almost tell you what’s going to happen through the story and how the author will discuss the events based upon the what was said in the set-up.

I’m going to guess that the tiger dispatches the hyena relatively quickly and that the tiger and the boy start off by being indifferent/tolerant of one another, and gradually become used to one another in a way that even passes for friendly.  At some point just before or just after the boy is rescued, the tiger departs without notice – maybe even mysteriously.  Tiger as stand-in for God?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  That would be pretty damned cheesy though.

That’s all I’m going to guess at.  For a book that achieved such high critical acclaim, I can’t imagine it will be that predictable.

So yeah:  I’m about halfway through the book (I’m still not sure whether to call it a ‘novel’ or not), 149/326.

I know I said I was going to pick up the Harry Potter series (at Cliopatra’s and Lauren Flax’s recommendations), but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to buy the first novel yet.  #1, because I really don’t think I should (check out this sense of entitlement) pay full price for a kids’-book that half the world has read already (hell, in my twisted mind, Rowling should send me a free copy and beg me to read the effin series); and #2, because I don’t want to carry the extra weight – too many pages that I’m not going to have time to read to be carrying to and from the airport.

WAY down the scale is #3, and that’s that I kind of don’t want to purchase a book from the ‘juvenile fiction’ section.,

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl September 24, 2009 at 06:36

Everybody’s doing it, you know: buying the juvenile fiction. It’s not Twilight, at least. You can’t even pretend that is literature.

I had a very similar work experience to your dinner thing in the last couple of days. Still letting it simmer in my brain before I write about it.

Welcome home!


Maria September 24, 2009 at 09:41

Sounds like your boss pulled the wind from your sails and made himself look good. I am sure your absence around the table was unnoticed and the drinks poured and the laughter ensued. In the future those reports will go unhanded wouldn’t you say? Confined spaces next to strangers is quite entrancing you can see all the little habits and quirks of fellow travelers it can be quite amusing. Please do not go to the tween section I have yet to succumb to that Hogwarts hogwash.


Scott September 24, 2009 at 10:15

Please don’t read Harry Potter I couldn’t stand walking around with you holding a Harry Potter book.


BRIAN September 24, 2009 at 11:06

So I guess the kiddie porn you purchased wasn’t from the juvenile section? JK I don’t read much so Harry Potter would be a definite no no for me considering its like 800 pages. I saw the movie on free cable. I wasn’t paying for it either. Can I kick that guys ass for you? Seriously what a DB. I’m surprised to hear you say that you look forward to getting back at him. I expect more from you Theodore. I’m gonna go smoke now.


Scott September 24, 2009 at 13:15

I too smoked right after I read this (warning Quixoticjedi causes cancer)


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