Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Pins and Needles

The truth is out there. And in this case, it's waiting for me in an Express Mail package at the Jersey City post office on Washington Street.

"We have your passport," said the postal employee who called me.

She had a sealed envelope from the Passport Agency. She couldn't tell how many passports were enclosed.

My near-future is in that envelope. I cannot go to work in Kuwait without "clean" documentation. Is my regular passport in there along with a new one, or did they poke holes in my old one and call it "expired?" Or did they reject my application and just send back my current passport with its evidence of my 2001 transit of the unmentionable Jewish state?

I want to go make comic books in Kuwait. I need to. The bank balance is the lowest it's been since I was a young, foolish New Yorker with lots of student loans. And I decided to sell my condo at exactly the wrong time, when inventory is plentiful and the market has essentially collapsed (it might pick up in the spring). If Kuwait doesn’t happen… it’s time for legal proofreading. That sounds mindlessly dull. Plus I was chatting with a few ex-X-Men writers over the weekend, and they gave me some good ideas for Kuwaiti comics. It’s starting to sound like fun.

But I cannot race off to the post office. We just added un-pickable locks to our building as well as a metal bar contraption called a "jimmy bar." I won’t be offering advice to burglars again any time soon. And I need to stay home and wait for everyone else in the building to arrive since they don’t have keys.

To complicate matters, there's a New York City transit strike on. Our beloved PATH train is unaffected (living in Jersey City produces a smugness from time to time, much as owning a Mac does). But it will be a mob scene as people who don’t usually take the PATH will be using it to go from Midtown to World Trade. So the neighbors cannot tell me when they’ll get home. They’ll get out of Manhattan when they get out of Manhattan. And my passport and the mystery of my near future will have to wait down at the post office.


Anonymous said...

Oh, the drama. Make it stop you big tease.

Marie Javins said...

I got it. Two "its." Both active and current, although the new one seems flimsy compared to its triple-sized, dog-eared bigger brother.

Yippee! I get to make a living for a while.

Now I get to think about airfares.

It's about $1180 round-trip from NYC to Kuwait.

But I can fly round-trip Newark-London for $400 and then round-trip London to Kuwait for $600.

Or I can fly to London and then go to Prague on EasyJet for £17.99 one-way, then go round-trip to Dubai for $328 and then fly Air Arabia or Jazeera Air to Kuwait.

Or I can go to Frankfurt and catch Condor to Egypt, then fly to Kuwait on Air Arabia.

I suppose it's cheapest to transit I$r@e1 NYC-TLV, go by service taxi to Amman, fly Air Arabia to Kuwait but perhaps I should only consider that on the return voyage.

I just gave myself a headache.

Don Hudson said...

Hey marie! I have an idea, If you join the Marines, Uncle Sam may send you for free! Keep writing.

Anonymous said...

Marie embedded with the Marines. That leads to so many jokes...heh...heh...

Marie Javins said...

I am bleary-eyed from looking at the computer. I keep checking my ebookers.com itinerary. I must have made a mistake. How could the fare be that good?

I got the round-trip Newark to London ticket this morning. $397. That's normal, not the exciting part.

Then on and off, I wrestled the London to Kuwait booking engines all day. I finally decided that I'd fly Olympic Airways one-way from London to Kuwait for $272.50 from lastminute.com and then make my way back by discount airways. Or just get the $546 round-trip Olympic fare off of bucketshop.com.

I went back to book but checked ebookers.com one last time. It had been giving me slightly higher fares than its competitors for weeks, and they were all on things like Gulf Air and Kuwait Air, nothing I could get miles on (can't get miles on Olympic either but at least it's cheap).

Then I got my airline miracle. British Airways. £298 round-trip London to Kuwait direct. And I'll get American miles. And it's an e-ticket so there's no delivery charges.

I bought it as fast as I could, barely reading the rules.

It seems impossible. But I have read it over and over and the dates have not changed. I half expect that in the a.m., there will be an email noting a fare mistake.

I think BA must have just started a fare sale today (Thurs UK time) and I lucked out.