Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Home Away from Home

Now that I'm based in Newark, NJ, I needed a place to stay. Most airline pilots that "commute" have crash pads. Usually, they're apartments or houses that have a bunch of bunk beds and 8-14 guys staying over at any one time. Usually, there are only a couple guys at a time but occasionally there can be more. It's a lot like a college dorm, furniture that doesn't match, bunk beds all over the place, random food in the fridge, and one T.V. for everyone to share.

I found my crash pad through a friend of mine. It sounded great, a 10 minute walk from the employee parking lot, no "hot bunks" meaning you have your own bed, and a reasonable $210 per month. But, did I mention it's in Newark, NJ?

For those of you who haven't been to Newark, it's not the prettiest place in the world. There are a lot of warehouses, shipping docks, and railroad yards. I've heard the walk between the employee parking lot and my crash pad isn't the "safest" but I thought, it's only 10 minutes, how bad can it be?

When I flew in tonight, I found the keys to my new "home away from home" along with a not-so detailed map. I found my way out of the parking lot and felt like a farm kid lost in the big city. I can't imagine I looked like a "local". While everyone else was wearing Carharts and stocking caps, I was wearing an airline uniform and had my suitcase dragging behind me.

After I made my way past the shipping dock, under the train tracks, and through a dark alley, I finally found my way to my crash pad. It's a nice duplex and we have the bottom half of the house. I arrived to find nobody else here and got settled in. I packed some sheets with me which I put on my bunk. I get the top bunk because I'm the junior guy in the crash pad, it's kind of like being in college again.

There are four other beds in my room, hopefully none of those guys show up tonight because I have to get up at 0400 tomorrow morning! Another new experience with a new airline! Tomorrow my schedule shows one flight to Los Angeles, CA and a long layover! Should be fun!

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