Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

Traveling takes the blog out of me. I am well, I am in New York, I don't have a job, I am staying with friends.

All kinds of stuff has happened that you would know about if I had blogged it, but I'm just going to catch you up on the best part.

Leins Barthe is my hero. Chances are, you don't know him. Leins is from Haiti. Leins drives a cab. Leins saved my ass.

I realized, about three hours before leaving for Auckland International Airport, that I had no place to stay in New York, no money for anything, and no phone with which to call people in the Northern Hemisphere. I would arrive in New York at 9pm on Friday with nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to call, holding two huge bags and my total personal worth of $400 cash. Unless I lined something up in three hours.

I sounded the Facebook Distress Call and, praise be, was heard. A friend who shall remain nameless set me up with his or her phone number, address and invitation to stay a spell. Two and a half hours later, I was on my way.

My air travel experience was something of a tragedy of errors, but I will skip ahead to the arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Luggage in hand, I stood before that eternal riddle which has plagued the minds of men from Socrates to Sartre to Scott: do I lug my bags on the subway to some godawful part of Brooklyn where I've never been and it's the middle of the night by now and godonlyknows how much walking I'll have to do BUT it's only $7, or do I get a cab?

So I'm in the cab telling my cabbie, one Mr. Leins Barthe, all about my life and such and how I don't have a phone yadayada and Leins offers me his for to call my anonymous generous friend, which I do, only to get a "number not available" message. Hrmm. Must have written it down wrong, I think aloud to Leins Barthe. Little did I know, it was actually the number for FORESHADOWING!!!

After circumnavigating the entire burrow of Brooklyn, Leins and I arrive at my destination. I hop out and buzz 1C. It does not buzz but my friend had told me that the buzzer did not work so I am comforted. I buzz other apartments until I get somebody and I explain that I am trying to get to 1C and their buzzer doesn't work so could you please come let me in or something. 1C, the other apartment person tells me, is vacant - the people who lived there just moved out.

That is when I become suspicious. I manage my way into the building and confront the door to 1C and give it a bit of the old knuckle. Audibly comes the scurry-shuff-shuffle of the people within. Hello? quoth I. Silence, quoth the door. It's Scott Peterson, quoth I. HubbubhubbubScottPetersonhubbub, quoth the door. Listen, I just got off a plane from New Zealand and I'm tired as shit and it's really late and I have almost no money because the fucking exchange rate fucking killed me and I have two huge bags and my cabbie is waiting outside with them and [NAME REDACTED] told me I could stay here and I literally have no place else to go because my American phone has been out of service for five months or something and this is the fucking ass-end of Brooklyn and there's no way I'm going to be able to hail another cab out here and I'm kind of freaking the fuck out because if you don't open this goddamn door I am going to be spending the night on the freezing streets, guarding my personal possessions with a nail clipper from the lusty advances of wild-eyed hobos and foaming crackheads so [NAME REDACTED], if you're in there, just open the mutherfucking door PLEASE, quoth I.

So I'm back in the cab telling Leins about the 10 minute monologue I had with the door and how the people behind it, whoever they are, refuse to acknowledge my presence. And to make a long night short, I ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room of the cabbie who picked me up from JFK, one Mr. Leins Barthe. The next day I take a shower and Leins takes me to go buy a phone and I call my friend Ross and line up space at his place and then we go back to Leins' and his daughter Lindsay makes me a papercraft flower which says "For: Scott From: Lindsay Barthe" and then Leins' cousin Reg drives me to Ross'.

God, it's good to be back.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What Have I Learned?

My southern hemispherical adventure is nearing its end and the question looms above me like ten thousand New Zealand dollars: what have I learned? Two things. One of which I will share with you now. The first lesson is: Don't start a small business two months before Global Economic Armageddon. This is just a simple matter of listening to what the damn gypsy in the Fulton St. subway station told you. If she said Rasputin's penis told her to tell you to not invest all of your personal capital in a startup, then by gosh by golly, don't do it! As for the second lesson, ask me in person and I will tell you.

See you soon. Whoever you are. And whenever soon is. And assuming I'm not blind by then.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


If I could bring back two fads, the second would be the epistolary novel. They were really big in the 18th century but I don't know what's happened to them since. I just wrote a whole bunch of quick emails and I would like to share them with you now. I'm omitting the recipients. The salient details to pick out are: John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Friday the 13th, and either 9:15 or 9:18. I was apparently a little confused.

Subject: Flight

I'm getting into JFK next Friday at 9:18pm. I have a number of bids for generously-putting-me-up, so what can you offer in the tender hugging, unsolicited smiles, and omelet skillet departments that would seal the deal? I will see you in a week my dear.


Subject: Home again, home again, jiggity jig

I'm getting into JFK at 9:15pm on the 13th. I will be staying with some friends until I something figured out. Might that something be with you? What's the latest? And how was your mom's wedding? Keep me aboob.

- Scott

Subject: Christmas is Coming Early

Ho Ho Ho, bitch! You've been a naaaaaughty girl this year, haven't you. YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID! Well, I'm just gonna have to come over there and do something about you. My flight gets into JFK Friday the 13th at 9:15pm. Meet me in Manhattan. In the alley. Behind the building. My inappropriateness and I will be waiting.

But for serious, I may not be in NY very long and I want you to visit. I don't care who you fuck. Make it happen.

And I love you.

- Scott

Subject: Get Ready

My flight gets into JFK at 9:15pm. WHUCHA GONNA DO, HUH?!

Subject: Re: Get Ready

P.S. I love you very much and want to go to dinner with you and by go to dinner I mean have you take my to dinner because I just spent the end of my money on a plane ticket and it's OK if dinner is at KFC I'll eat anything just so I can spend time with you.

Subject: I am returned

Like Jesus, I'm comin' back! My flight gets into JFK at 9:15pm on Friday the 13th. Hope your thing today goes painlessly. I'll be in touch soon.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy March

Oh yeah, and it's March. Let's celebrate! I'll get John Philip Sousa, you get the guac.


  • Went to the ocean. I am pleased to report it was wet.
  • Had a Murder Burger.
  • Watched Le Grand Bleu.
  • Am working on getting myself a job.
  • But I need to be careful that I don't end up playing Bejeweled. It can happen at any time without warning. I have to keep my eyes peeled. For any Bejeweled playing. By me.
Speaking of getting myself a job, you know those times when you realize, 5 years after the fact, that you had two thinly veiled blow job offers at Japanese language camp? Wasted educational opportunities. おっと.