Terrence left his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, and landed in New York City just before 9 p.m. Forty-five minutes later, he couldn't seem to find his way out of the airport.
"You told me to catch the M-60 bus to Broadway and 116th and catch the uptown 1 train, right?" Terrence asked when he called me. I replied that I had and asked him where he was.
"I'm at a different terminal than usual," he said, "I can't find the M-60 and some guy just told me he'd never heard of it."
"He doesn't know what he's talking about," I replied. "Find someone who works there and ask them to help you."
Terrence called me back 3-4 times. Each time we were both baffled.
"Just go where we were last time," I had irritatedly directed him. On his fifth or sixth call, I answered and - without so much as a greeting - he asked, "What airport did I fly into last time I was here?"
"Oh no ..." I replied.
"What airport did I fly into last time?" he asked again.
"La Guardia," I said. I heard him sigh. And then: "I'm at JFK."
What are the chances that you would give someone directions to your apartment from La Guardia airport - while assuming they're flying into La Guardia again - when they're actually flying into JFK for the first time? Well, if you're idiots like us, the chances of a blunder to this degree of dumbness are pretty good.
But after circling several terminals at the airport a couple of times, finally realizing that you have to catch the Airtrain to the blue subway line, and while sitting on the A train to Manhattan, what are the odds that an old high school friend that you haven't seen in over five years will step onto the exact subway car in which you are currently sitting?
I'd bet those odds are slim to none. But tonight, in a city of 8 million people with 26 subway lines, 490 stations, 660 miles of track and about 6,400 subway cars, Terrence caught a flight from Atlanta, wandered lost in JFK until he realized that I had erroneously assumed he was at La Guardia, and ended up in the same subway car as an old classmate he hadn't seen since he graduated from high school in Atlanta over half a decade ago.