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The Maze of Exit Ramps

Pulling in to the basin of JFK, we all sat up straight and cut the chit-chat and daydreaming. A bendy concrete maze lays ahead of us. We missed our morning ritual, but the fear hit us like a 200 milligram straight shot of caffeine. The three foot thick slabs, the weight of June heat, and the slick green signs littered with shapes and words in all tongues - these forces came together and sung a mystical yet raunchy energy vortex into existence, the kind you only find in the Tri-State area. It scrambles GPS signals and leaves drivers butt-naked, relying on Mapquest print-outs stuffed in glove compartments, or even worse, their primal instincts, which always grind down to whines and grunts and finger points that wiggle in the sun.

One wrong turn here and it's game over. Point blank, the dream's dead. If not California sunlight on park benches, then we're stuck in New York stench, looped back and piped in to our blue-light existence, where the edges between days melt together and the feeds never end (the feeds never end!). It was time to focus. It was time to tune our senses.

"You got this, Pearl?" With a straight face and the thickest New York accent you've ever heard, she confirmed. There's not a corner of a borough she hasn't seen.

So much of our mental bandwidth was tied up in squinting and sense-making, that none of us even registered the mysterious object that buzzed right past our windshield. It looked like a bird, but more like a plane without wings, made entirely of glass and graphite. Was it sleep deprivation? Centripetal force? The Holy other? Regardless, extra-terrestrial life, and even the idea of Contact itself, was insignificant compared to the miracle that we actually made it to the airport with a fighting chance.

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