This is an excerpt from a diary that I kept on a trip across country in 1981. It started with a FREE airplane ride from SFO to NYC. Courier companies like DHL used to pay for people to ride in coach, as long as they didn't have any luggage and could leave at any time, and DHL would use the luggage space for their shipments.
I was on my way to meet my high school friend, Teresa (aka Terri), and we were going to drive across the USA, where she was going to join our collective household in San Francisco.
AA Boarding Pass - 16 March 1981
SFO to JFK, seat 35J Smoking: Yes
Passenger name: Courier
A call first thing Monday and I was off that evening - met the DHL man at the airport, he was late 25 minutes. Sheer disbelief, especially when my ticket materialized a $700 price for which I paid nothing - and the flight was nearly empty. I watched Pvt. Benjamin, a movie with Goldie Hawn, dozed a bit, arrived NYC at 5:30am.
Terri and I went out for breakfast, did some errands, it is COLD here. 25 degrees and windy. Then we met Denise and Ed and drove to White Plains, with the crowds of green high-schoolers took the train to NYC for the St. Patrick's day parade. Watched it start from the corner of 78th and 5th with friends of Ed, who do it every year, getting drunk and rowdy and sticking out the wind and the cold. Denise is very nice, but her relationship with Ed is very weird. When they part, even for a few minutes, there is a major scene: "Do you want me to stay? I'll stay if you want me to." "No, go - oh I love you, ya ya ya ya da". Really strange. Terri said their marriage has been rocky lately but they just made up. It's like ripping flesh to get them apart. I would suffocate, but she seems to want it or need it.
Denise, Teresa and I spent most of the afternoon in Leo's, a bar down the street, drinking Irish coffee. The parade was fun, albeit cold.. I have forgotten what winter is like. I got very tired by the time we went to dinner - but didn't crash until 11pm or so, after calling Dad and Victor. Terri has a close network of friends here and it must be really difficult for her to leave. I appreciate her difficulty in deciding to leave much more now. I hope she'll be able to build a complex of friendships in San Francisco, too. We're planning to leave on Monday after we do some last minute things to close up this apartment, and we're planning to go into NY to do some things. I'm eager to get moving, and it's hard for me to be patient and let it flow. There is going to be a week in Brockport, too, which seems too much. I'm going to have to get into a rhythm that suits this part of the trip - move a little, stay and enjoy, then move again.
March 18 1981
The Left Bank Presents
Doug and the Slugs
20 E 1st St.
Mt. Vernon, NY