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Day 17 in NYC: Final thoughts, home

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Saturday, July 13. It’s funny. On Friday, I wasn’t ready for the trip to be over. Which is unusual at that stage, especially for a long trip. By the time I woke up on Saturday, I was. And when I’m ready to go, I’m ready to go and I’d rather just get moving.

I got the blog up about 8:45am and went over to The Franklin a few blocks away for breakfast again.

Inside the restaurant, table by window looking out onto the street
I sat at the same table as I did the other 2 times
French toast and sausage
French toast and sausage

I repeated the breakfast I got the prior Saturday and it was just as delicious. I was back to my room before 10am, packed and ready to go by 10:30. Not one to sit around, I arranged for a Lyft. Yes, Art, I left just after 10:30am for a 6pm flight 🙂

The ride to LaGuardia was about 45 minutes, with traffic really bad in Downton and some parts of Brooklyn. Made it through security fine and got to the lounge before Noon.

Initial corner I picked at the LaGuardia lounge
Initial corner I picked at the LaGuardia lounge

I’d originally picked this corner because of the view below, but could already feel the heat coming in through the windows. Decided I should find a cooler place since I was going to be here awhile.

View of Manhattan from that corner
View of Manhattan from that corner
The quiet area I stayed in for about 5 hours
The quiet area I stayed in for about 5 hours

It was a decent sized lounge and this was clear on the other side. Towards the end of my stay it got downright cold – I could’ve used a blanket!

The lounge WiFi had blocked WordPress, the platform I used for the blog, so I couldn’t work on this while I sat there for 5 hours, which was pretty annoying. I’ve blogged often from American Airlines lounges so not sure why the change, and of course the attendant I asked had no clue.

I still made good use of the time, getting caught up on personal emails, paying bills, etc. I also did the journaling I’d been wanting to do since the conference ended and was happy about that.

Very fluffy clouds from the plane
Flying through very fluffy clouds; looked cooler in real life 🙂

A thankfully uneventful flight to Dallas. I look these photos as we were in the final descent.

Dark clouds starting to cover the sun with some blue in the background
This looked pretty cool, too, I thought
Sun through clouds with an airplane flying beside us in the distance
This and the prior 2 shots were tall taken within a couple of minutes of each other
DFW lounge
The DFW lounge was pretty empty so it was easy to find a quiet area. It was 9pm.

I was in the DFW lounge just about an hour before I had to board my final flight. My brain was kind of fried so I just played my game on my phone and browsed Facebook and Reddit. Another uneventful flight to Sacramento and another Lyft home, arriving about Midnight. And it was great to be home. I unpacked and just sat a little to unwind before finally going to bed a little before 2am. Up at 6:30am, today should be interesting 🙂

How do I wrap up what was an incredible trip on so many different levels?

Gay and Sober Men’s Conference: already registered for next year. I was impressed with the quality of the speakers and workshops and met many great guys from all over. And marching in the Pride parade was cathartic in ways I hadn’t anticipated, and in fact have probably never experienced. I got choked up talking about it to Art just a little while ago as we got caught up after my normal Sunday 8:30am AA meeting. The conference also gave me lots of ideas about how to focus my energy going forward, which is what I was journaling about yesterday. Lots of great things came out of this conference.

I’d done a total of 3 Broadway shows in two previous trips before this one, but this time was 7 over the course of 10 days. Everything about that was spectacular.

I always enjoy exploring neighborhoods when I travel but in NYC it is special, because there are so many references to them in pop culture. It changes it when you see them or hear about them later in movies, television, etc., and you know exactly what they’re talking about. More than any other trip here, and this was my 4th one, I really got that it’s probably a much more livable place than I’d imagined prior to this trip, especially in that swath of land covered by neighborhoods that have “village” in them, which is probably why I spent so much time there.

And as always, there was the blog. While sometimes I really feel the weight of the chore that it is – 2-4 hours a day and usually the longer side of that – it’s a great labor of love and I couldn’t imagine traveling without doing it. Thank you, Melanie 🙂 It changes my experience of the trip in very meaningful ways because of how it influences how I go through my day and make a point to remember. And it becomes my souvenir, since I’m not a shopper or trinket person. And I’m my biggest fan: I re-read them often. That others enjoy them as well is just the icing on the cake, and I enjoy the interactions with you who are following along.

I received some feedback from a reader the other day that I wanted to address here, any case anyone else had similar concerns about one of my earlier entries. (I’ve already addressed it with them directly.) When talking about the show Book of Mormon, I’d written that “I tend to enjoy anything that pokes fun at religion.” I appreciated that this person was troubled by that, and realized I should have followed the instinct I had when I wrote it, thinking it might not go over well in some circles. But it’s my truth, I was in a time crunch to get the blog up (it would be devastating to miss a day – I would never catch up!) so I let it go, thinking the rest of the entry would explain the context.

So in case it concerned anyone else who read that, let me be clear I was referring to the institution of religion, not individuals who may practice any particular denomination. What might have been a simple way to fix it was to say instead: “I tend to enjoy things that poke fun at the contradictions, hypocrisy, and illogical thinking that can come from the institution of religion.” It’s only when religion does things like, for example, ignore science, that I lose my mind. Or ignore principles for political reasons. But I maintain that what Book of Mormon does so brilliantly, and why it might be my favorite show (although Defying Gravity in Wicked is life changing…) is point out those problems with religion where they exist, while absolutely respecting the people who have acquired a faith that works for them. I happen to be one of those people, I just choose to practice outside any particular religion. I used to have a button on my desk that said “my god is too big to fit inside one religion” which is very true for me. (The “Living in the Gray” side of my blog has some entries where I attempt to explain my spiritual worldview. This one is probably my favorite, providing a 100k foot view of how I got where I got.)

So apologies to anyone who was the least but troubled by any of that. I always feel privileged by those who are dedicated followers of my travel, and I know this to be true of the person who provided the feedback, and never want to say anything that feels hurtful or contradictory of my own principles. I appreciated the feedback and the opportunity to work it out, and I hope that has occurred.

Finally, I want to end with a poem that was the last display at the Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. It was fitting that I saw this on the final day of my trip, because it supported ideas that occurred during the conference and that I’ve been mulling over since. It was written an Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo in 1971 (punctuation added by me):

You who are passing by, I beg you: Do something. Learn a dance step. Something to justify your existence. Something that gives you the right to be dressed in your skin, in your body, hair. Learn to walk and to laugh. Because it would be too senseless, after all, for so many to have died while you live, doing nothing with your life.

What’s next?

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