Leaving New York

I am at Gate D7 at La Guardia Airport. American Airlines Flight 1647 to Miami has begun preliminary boarding. I am steadying myself for takeoff.

Standing out front just a second ago looking out at the orange glow of the city on the clouds, I began to do the math. I will board at least twelve airplanes in the next 30 days. And I don’t really like to fly. But I like to go places, to be places, and come home with a fresh pair of eyes. So I’ll swallow the brief anxiety for some lasting experiences.

I’m wearing tattered jeans, a white t-shirt under blue Munsingwear polo, a tan linen sportcoat, and blue Pro Keds. My sunglasses are at the ready. See, when I was a kid, we always dressed up for the plane. It was a special occassion. And so I’ve done so today, MTV style.

I arrive Miami at 9:40, and will be promptly whisked to the American Airlines Arena where MTV is gearing up for The Biggest NIght Of The Year: The Video Music Awards. Much is riding on our success.

My primary charge, in addition to coordination and management of everything MTV News puts online, is our “Instant Fashion Profile.” In short, I have about one hour between the time two to-be-named-later “stars” finish getting dressed in their finest and arrive on the red carpet to produce an fashion spread on air and online. It’s the one assignment of the year (well, two really; we do it for the Grammys as well) that I lose the most sleep over.

I feel a little bit excited, a little bit anxious, and a whole lot tired. It’s going to be a long run here: VMAs straight into the RNC. But eight days from now, on Saturday, September 4 (my 33d birthday), I’ll board Delta Airlines for Nantucket, MA, where I’ll sit idly for a full six days doing nothing on the beach. Well, almost nothing: I have a triathlon on Sunday. And I have to study for my PADI scuba certification. Other than that — oh, and surfing lessons — it’ll be all chill all the time.

Meanwhile, though, it’s last call for Flight 1647. Be well. Meet you when I get there…

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