Saturday, April 07, 2007

what life in the city is really like

You decide to run a "quick" errand up to 42nd to do a favor for someone, which you do. On your way back, as you pass through Grand Central (the hub of this literary masterpiece), you notice that the only thing that keeps you from your usual stop for coffee at Zarro's is the fact that you feel more inclined to visit the men's room. Way more inclined.

So you pass Zarro's and walk to the other end of the place and see a line about 50 deep for the men's room. The day before Easter should realize that it's a big travel day.

You really have to take a leak, but you console yourself with the thought that "it's a short train ride home." GCT is absolutely packed with clueless tourists, which you have to wade through to get to the subway. A quick ride home.

On the platform, you're dimly aware that yellow caution tape is obstructing the express side of the platform. No worries, you think, you'll just grab the local. What'a few more stops? The un-blockaded part of the platform is jammed with...clueless tourists.

The train arrives and when it gets to 14th you realize you'd better switch to the R or else you'll have to walk from City Hall. Why do that when, with just short walk through the station and wee bit of a wait for the R, you can be dropped off a block from home?

You wade through an ocean of clueless tourists and the usual really aggressive [insert nationality here] kids at 14th and make your way to the R platform. To kill time, you look at the service map to see which other train makes the same stops. W, so you have R and W, like your father's initials. Cool.

A train comes and you get on. You have your iPod turned up so loud that everyone else can hear "Angel de Amor" by Mana with you. You're glad to share the music, 'cause it's such a cool song. A little while later, you're awakened from your reverie by daylight, which you should NOT be seeing on this train. You realize you're on your way to Brooklyn because, oh, you got on the wrong train. Not the R or the W, like your dad's initials, but the N. You're aware that you really have to go to bathroom.

You resign yourself to the fact that you've made an absentminded blunder, and begin to formulate the blog post. You rationalize that the view from the Manhattan Bridge is really cool and if you had been paying attention at the station, you wouldn't get to see it. So it's not a total loss.

You also realize that you're sitting beneath what has become your favorite poem, "Wilderness," printed on a placard in the car. It's by Lorene Niedecker, who, if she hadn't passed away 37 years ago, you'd probably want to marry. Instead you think, "does she have a granddaughter?" You realize that, at least someone, at some point in history, would have really loved you. That's similar to your best thoughts when your neighbor wins the lottery. You think, "hey, it's possible!"

Halfway to Bay Ridge, the train stops and you walk up and over to the other side. There you can catch the R train. Naturally, you arrive on the platform in time to see the letter "R" on the last car speeding away from you. The R's usually don't run like clockwork. You figure, "another 15 minutes." Thank God the battery in your iPod hasn't quit yet.

Oh, you don't bother to leave the train station to find a men's room because finding a public restroom in New York is a bit like finding good food on the interstate. It's a dice-roll at best. Plus, why blow another two bucks? It's only a short ride home.

You double check the service map. You see the flyer offering a reward for clues in a gruesome murder, which you really wish you hadn't read, because it makes you think depressing thoughts about human nature and you wish the world was a better place and what kind of person could do something so awful and you wonder if he was inspired by "Silence of the Lambs" and you wish people wouldn't make movies like that. Two songs later, the R shows up. You're on the home stretch.

It's so cold, and you're exhausted, but one hour and eleven minutes after you realized you really had to go to the bathroom, you arrive at yours.


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