I am on my way back to Los Angeles, on the second of two flights to get back from Johannesburg, South Africa. The first flight to New York City was 15 hours and 22 minutes. I think that beats Dubai to L.A. by a few minutes, making it the longest single flight I have ever been on. My seat, 51D, was especially brutal. The back pain I was in for the last seven hours was exceptional. On a happier note, Gene Simmons and his wife were ahead of me in the customs and immigration line at JFK a couple of hours ago.
Also, this morning, I think I pulled off one of the greatest fails of my life. I have been experiencing less-than-consistent coffee over the last week in Africa and was looking forward to an upgrade. And so I got a cup of coffee on my way back to the gate, took the smallest sip and, damn, did it taste good. My mood elevated and I had an almost Proustian opening of the mind -- I was taken back to the streets of my old neighborhood in Washington, D.C. I walked into the men's room and, as I was putting my cup of coffee on the flat surface above the urinal, my left foot started sliding out from under me. Here's what happened next:
I am now making a slow, Matrix-like clockwise turn. I feel myself going down and try to secure the cup, but drop it. My backpack, which is on my right shoulder, slides off as I watch my coffee drop in agonizing, De Palma slow motion into the urinal and explode. My left hand, now free of coffee, manages to grab the upper edge of the urinal divider, and my backpack strap lands in the crook of my right elbow with the backpack hanging about an inch off the ground. My coffee empties down the drain, triggering the flush cycle. Not a single drop hit the floor. Total time, about two seconds. There is some Caddyshack Ty Webb perfection in there somewhere.
Many hours later: back in my office in Los Angeles. That was a long day and night of travel. I am tired but feeling pretty good. I get a momentary energy surge when I get off the road -- perhaps that whole "long march to the sea" thing.
When I get back from the leg of a tour, I always go to the office first. I have done this ever since I had an office. Immediately, back up the hard drives and get a sit rep (situation report) from Heidi, the woman who runs my life. Today was a briefing of all the hoops I will be jumping through with press and studio obligations, meetings that start tomorrow morning and go until the day I leave again, about a week from now.