Sunday, September 18, 2005


40 Hours

Starting Wednesday evening, I seemed to experience about 40 straight hours of trivial indignities and petty frustrations. The lynchpin of this drama was an ill-timed trip to New York, for which I’d have to work late Wednesday, get up before dawn Thursday for more work, followed by some inconveniently scheduled meetings, then teach my class and rush straight to the airport.

I'm thinking of pitching this as a script idea called "40 Hours," a darkly-comic thriller in which the suspense is whether the succession of individually minor incidents will build, incrementally, to a combined weight that causes the protagonist to crack before his luck changes.

It all starts around Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., when I return to my law school office after a dinner break to find this hallway scene:


A colleague is cleaning her office! The red arrow shows the location of my obstructed office door. (Check out the Ravenclaw pillows in the foreground, or whatever they are.)

Wednesday night-Thursday early a.m.: Promising erotic dream ends in agonizing unfulfillment as I awaken prematurely.

7:00 a.m. Driving to work – the taunting-college-girl-tailgating incident.***

[***To be explained in later post***]

7:55 a.m. Email warning incident***

8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. I discover I’ve worn the wrong glasses – the ones whose scratch-resistant coating not only fails to resist scratches, but actually disintegrates due to contact with sweat. (Not good hockey glasses!) The mottled lenses cause every point of light to look like a painfully bright greenish candle flame.

4:50 p.m. Rush to the airport. Elderly security line guy wearing insignnia of a private security contractor (he apparently lacks the special qualities needed for employment by the TSA) yells at me because I forgot to have my drivers license in hand.

4:55 p.m. Security screening. I’m sorry, I will never acclimate to having to take off my shoes.

5:30 p.m. Airline announces what it has probably known for at least an hour – that the flight will be delayed by an hour.

5:55 p.m. My attempt to strike up flirtatious conversation with younger woman is rudely rebuffed.

6:55 p.m. I switch seats with family of four, end up sitting in front of seat-kicking tray-playing toddler.

7:00-9:00 p.m. Screaming baby flight.***

8:38 p.m. After drifting off to sleep over my book, am awakened by tapping on my knee. An importunate former law student has occupied the empty seat across the aisle to take the opportunity to chat me up!

10:00 p.m. Only available seat on airport bus is right next to toilet. Sloshing latrine water provides soundtrack for trip.

11:00 p.m. No cabs around port authority. I duck into subway, but the entrance has no fare card machine. When I make my way to fare card machine in another subway entrance, some blocks away, the machine claims inability to read any of my credit cards.

12:30 a.m. Disappointing Chinese restaurant incident.***

1:35 a.m. All night grocery is receiving deliveries. I have to squeeze aside in the tiny aisles about 10 times to let guys with handtrucks push past me.

1:45 a.m. Desk clerk at hotel says that they are out of ethernet cables. “You can try this code to get on our wireless, but that sometimes doesn’t work.” Sometimes – yeah, right.

1:50 a.m. The chocolate chip welcome cookie provided in my hotel room – which I’ve been thinking about for the past half hour – turns out to be oatmeal raisin.

1:55 a.m. Wifi in hotel room doesn’t work.

2:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Wake up before completion of erotic dream, again.

9:45 a.m. At Startbucks, where “nothing is ever free!” I get onto a wireless network. I don’t know if it’s wi-fi provided by Starbucks, or just spillover from a neighboring apartment building, but I get on free and post a blog. The 40 hours is officially over.

You are more in need of a nice, cherry lollipop than anyone I know.
In order to really be able to pitch this as a screenplay, you have to add a "search for missing spouse/parent/child/wallet/cat" as part of the plot, and include a car chase in which one or more vehicles explode or are tossed in the air, and at least one shootout (preferably at the airport security check, around the time you must remove your shoe). And you need a good role for Harrison Ford or Will Smith (or both of them), too.
In other news, if you check your spam folder in your email, I'm certain you will find some herbal "medications" that should help you with your, um, "early awakening" issues.
Feel free to come and check it out if you get time :-)
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