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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Pink is the New Black (and always was)

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Twenty Four Hours in Dallas

My 24 hours in Dallas (well, 24 hrs and 15 minutes, to be perfectly precise), began with a hiccup. A figurative one; we’re not talking a physical phenomenon of regurgitated air occurring the moment of touchdown in Texas. Just a figurative hiccup, a trivial mishap of sorts that disrupted my arrival in a rather unromantic way. Everything had been running smoothly until Hour One on the soil of the Lone Star State: my flight was on schedule and lasted only 4 hours—a breeze after that 15 hour trip to Dubai last week!— and I even managed to sleep during its course, as I had made sure to wear a cozy cotton sweat suit that allowed for the contorted air-plane seat positions necessary to comfortable rest. I felt this was quite clever of me... if also perhaps a teeny bit unbecoming? (compelling my dad to ask me on my way out of the house “what on earth are you wearing?”— and believe me, if my crocs-and-socks-flaunting father disapproves, it’s gotta be pretty bad)! But regardless of whether I looked like an amorphous grey blob or not (hint: I did), the outfit would be witnessed solely by my fellow passengers aboard American Airlines flight 275, so I didn’t really pay it any mind. My nice clothes, after all, were stashed in the hot-pink carry on roller I got in third grade which is now missing a wheel and nearly qualifies as vintage. (Unfortunately, they made me check this bonafide antique when I boarded, but even so, the flight went well).

Then I landed— in a thunderstorm, typical weather for Dallas at this time of year, I hear— and upon disembarking, encountered that figurative hiccup I mentioned: my gem of a carry-on hadn’t made the journey. Now, I don’t generally take hiccups very well, especially when they require me to venture into new places without my trusty hot pink gear by my side, and as I watched all my fellow passengers sleepily totter out of the baggage claims hall with their new (and predominantly black) suitcases safely in tow, I felt increasingly envious of their happy unity, and couldn’t ward off a minor conniption. The luggage belt slowed to a stop, leaving the hall suddenly silent, and I threw myself at the unsuspecting security guard behind a desk in the corner. The poor guy didn’t know what was coming at him when I crumpled on his cold marble counter in tears and blubbering something about hot pink… one-legged… vintage… and did I mention hot pink? It was HOT PINK, goddamnit, how could they miss it?! But, the saint, he was very patient with me, and eventually established that my crippled bag was still sitting in a loading wagon at Newark Liberty International. And me here in Dallas with only my dying phone, passport—thank god I took it out of my suitcase at the last minute!— and the clothes on my back. Here I have to give out a mental groan at the memory of that realization: the clothes on my back! That…unique (to put it nicely; “mashed potato” if we’re being completely frank) ensemble suitable only for a cramped, dimly-lit airplane seat and not a professional appearance on set for my shoot with [precautiously unnamed] the next day (a team I had not previously met, by the way…what a promising first impression I’d make, eh?)

At any rate, Saint Security Guard eventually succeeded in setting my nerves to right (as well as filing a missing-baggage statement and tracking account and all that other necessary stuff), and I climbed into a taxi and set out for my hotel. 

After this first hour, however, of my twenty four in Dallas, things quickly started looking up: my hotel was lovely, the waiter in the nearly-deserted (it was 11pm) restaurant overlooking the golf course offered to add goat cheese to the salad I ordered—and take it from a foodie: goat cheese makes everything about thirty times better— and the concierge let me charge my phone in the staff room while I ate. So many of the people I met there were nice, and a few were weird (an older guy at the restaurant asked if he could give me a massage…) but at the end of the day that’s what keeps travel interesting: the diversities and idiosyncrasies of human nature that become so marked and apparent, both in yourself and others, when you’re removed from your daily routine and familiar home setting.

Though initially upset at finding myself possession-less for this trip, I soon saw I’d be fine without my suitcase (and ended up rather enjoying not having to keep track of material objects as I moved about), and the kind team at work the next day was easily forgiving of my showing up unprofessionally swathed in a sweat-suit. 

During my short and preoccupied 24 hours and 15 minutes in Dallas, I saw hardly any of the place, bound as I was to the cycle of taxi, hotel, photo studio, and airport, and for all I knew I could have spent that day in Rome, Rio, Paris (bless her), or some obscure town in Greenland. I learned little of the place I visited on this particular trip (aside from the pretty bland observation that Texan landscape is…flat). I did, however, learn a useful lesson about travel, and this was that it’s always not wise (though often tempting) to sacrifice presentability entirely to comfort, for no matter how organized you may be or how well you may have planned, you never know what the day has in store for you.

And with that I’ll leave you to chuckle over the image of me bawling over misplaced carry ons at Dallas-Fort-Worth…someone I know has an old suitcase to unpack!