My New York visit is finally coming to an end and I'm about to board the plane home with mixed emotions (not least because I discovered at the last minute that due to a typo, I had been booked on tomorrow's flight instead of tonight's - so a big thank you to the people of BA Club World for sorting that out.)
I love New York and all of its idiosyncrasies and it makes it hard to leave. Especially in the summer time: the warm humid air - like hopping into a hot bath - and the repeated thermal shocks from the icy blast of air conditioning. The streets filled with light and reflections, the rhythm of traffic, the crowds that move with purpose. The mix of the old - circa 1950 - with the new. Everything in flux. All of us alone yet together.
Still, 9 days is a pretty decent amount of time and everything must come to an end. The people I work with booked me a private car to take me to the airport. My driver was Ron, an impressively very large man. 55 and an ex NYPD detective (he hinted at some dark and mysterious legal goings-on surrounding his early retirement - apparently Mayor Gulianni was involved. I figured he got shot on the job and they didn't want him to sue) it turns out Ron is a romantic soul with a life plan. 10 years ago, he bought a house in the mountains on a lake in New Hampshire and next year he and his girlfriend will be retiring there, leaving NY and their whole life behind. He wants to enjoy his old age the old fashioned way: nice and slow and peacefully. There's a man with his priorities straight. There aren't many like him about. Are you a Ron? I know I am.
I'm writing this as I sit in the sad little time warp that serves as the BA lounge at Newark Airport. Nothing wrong with it: it's air conditioned and they have free food and drink - although nothing I can eat on the Dukan diet - so I've drunk enough Diet Sprite to fill a bath tub.
They're calling my flight: time to board. So it's a New York goodbye for now.
A last gulp of Diet Sprite: here's a toast to Ron and all the kind people who made my stay such a good one.