I've been traveling since October 11. Today is what, November something? The magic of travel time is in effect, when you pack so much into every day that a week seems like a month. I'm somewhere in the middle of this country right now (which I'm rediscovering is quite enormous) but this post will recap the visit to the area I like to think of as civilization.
On the 11th I flew into Newark airport. On spying a Brooklyn Brewery logo on a bar, I wanted to start running like George Bailey at the end of It's a Wonderful Life: "Hello Newark Airport! Hey ohhh all you Italian-Americans!" [kisses one
] The feeling reappeared the next day, as I went to pick up the bf in Williamsjerk (he'd taken a car from the airport): "Merry Christmas, Hacidic Jews! Happy Halloween, hipsters on old-time roller skates!"
Then it was time to rush up to the Berkshires for the bf's dad's wedding, the purpose for our trip. Southerners like to think Baton Rouge has bad traffic. Baton Rouge hasn't even seen
traffic. We were hopelessly stuck for hours, surrounded by people escaping NYC for a weekend of fall foliage, and it felt like, Welcome back to the Northeast. But the setting for the wedding was just gorgeous.
The bf's dad (above) is a reader and now patron of this blog, because he upgraded his camera and gave me his previous high quality cam. Here's the first photo I took with it, from my favorite part of their house.
After just over 24 hours back North, the bf got on a plane back to Baton Rouge, unable to spare any more time out of the studio. I spent the next few days with my family. I also found a pair of ugly Prada flats for TWO DOLLARS at a thrift store. I had to buy them, because as my pal Julie
pointed out, ugly Prada= still Prada. I have learned to like them.
I then departed for glamorous New York City in my bus Wolfgang, and we all know how that turned out (see last post). So it was a bittersweet return, having to settle the affairs of the dear departed (aka sell the dear departed) while there. After the van broke down, Karin
put me up for a night in Jerse, then I took the train in retracing my old commute from my first city job ten years ago. Back then, the commute slowly ate away at my soul, but now I'd love to be only a train ride away from the city.
Not having my car while in the city really threw a wrench in the works, because I didn't have a home base, so I had to lug my bags around. I could stow some stuff at Therese's
workplace in SoHo, but still had to schlep my heavy old laptop. But as the bf was jealously aware, pain in the ass time in the city= still time in the city.
Here's a shoe-repair guy I liked. I didn't get a good photo, but he was wearing a paper hat that said GOLGOL BORDELLO. I tried asking him if he was into that band but he didn't seem to know they were a band.
While loitering with my laptop at Union Square, I was reminded of all the damn weirdos you see in New York on a daily basis. One guy, with no introduction, started in to me about Ben Affleck, Ben's brother, Anthony Hopkins, and Denzel Washington. I think he stakes out the morning shows to get their autographs. When I apparently didn’t show enough interest, he said,
“Take care babe. Lookin' good, you got a computer machine out there.”
Then he walked off and settled down again about 8 benches away.
Later he puttered by again, going "Cleveland mob wowowow."
The next guy was wearing a crown with big crepe paper flower on it and had a dead animal fur around his neck, the kind with the face and paws included. He plunked down next to me and thankfully honed in on the gal on his other side:
"I am messed. Up. I lost all my youth. The city is trying to tear me apart." He went on about losing his teeth, being hauled into the police station, and how he tries to sleep all the time to escape reality, so that his dreams were his reality. He was even drawing stares from New Yorkers, and the guy sitting across from us gave him the thumbs up.
For its next act, Union Square presented a gothic cross-dresser in a pink flouncy skirt, walking down the park path like it was a runway, looking like the cat that ate the canary. This was much to the delight of the men across the way: "Yo! Grab the rail and bend over! I gotta condom!" And, "Halloween ain't here yet."
And in a cafe, I was reminded what a pain New Yorkers can be:
"What's the difference between the rolls in the front and the rolls in the back?"
"They're the same."
"Well they look different."
"They're the same."
"Let me have one from the front then."
I stayed with different friends on each of three nights, and on Friday, the last night in the city, friend and commenter julepandme and I met up with a few fellow blogging nerds for drinks, such as Jew
, and I also finally met Internet friend/ BaRou expat Amy
Jew and I found some ridiculous fun when we went to get her a sandwich. Or should I say, SANDWICHE, because that's what the sign said.
You might notice that it also says BEYERAGES, BEGEL, and HAMBERGER. We certainly noticed, and I think everyone else in there noticed how much we were laughing. Jew insisted on saying sandwiche, pronouncing the e, about ten times while ordering, thus ensuring it would include all manner of bodily fluids from whoever prepared it.
As you can see, this section (which includes EGGS W. BACON POTATOES) is called MILK.
Then this clown came in and started hassling the woman, trying to order crack.
So of course he sits with us. I think we invited him.
Note his creepy facial hair and bloodshot eyes. As I took this pic, he was muttering "five bucks" over and over, but I was not having it. Nice try, clown.
By the time we got back to the others and they all descended on the sandwiche plus body fluids, Jew had streams of makeup down her face from laughing so hard, and prob also from posing with the clown. I returned early Saturday to New Jersey for the sad task of cleaning out ten years of camping supplies and general car crap out of Wolfgang: the final goodbye. I'm surprised to say I held it together and didn't cry until driving away in the 16-year-old dorkmobile my parents gave me. (Dorky vehicle= still a vehicle.)But all I had to do was remember the night before to cheer myself up.
Then Karin and hit a church sale and observed nature at the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, which was practically in my back yard when I was growing up.
The Great Swamp is one big reason Jersey's bad rap as a factory wasteland is undeserved.
That night, we went to carve pumpkins at the beautiful new home of some other Jersey friends. Mine's the owl on the right. FYI, It has pumpkin-scrap ear tufts.
We talked and laughed late into the night. The following day, other good Jersey friends held a gathering in my honor with tons of food and drink like this delicious homemade vegan cake.
I get a little choked up thinking about leaving my awesome friends again. And speaking of a little choked up, I sold Wolfgang. A gal bought it for her epileptic son, who's about to turn 16 but can't get his license yet until they figure out the proper dose of meds. Meanwhile, his mom got him the bus he's always wanted so he can work on it until he gets his licence. He's going to be thrilled. The story couldn't be much better unless it also somehow involved saving kittens. The buyer and her partner came to the gathering and we were both so pleased with the deal that we hugged. It's amazing how it all worked out the night before I left for this road trip that I'm now on.
I've packed in enough concentrated friend time to sustain me until the next trip, and while in the Northeast decided I have to return at least every other month. I already know when the next two visits will be. And now Leah and I are laughing our asses off across America. Stay tuned for the recap.
Labels: creepos, GIRL STUFF, nyc tomfoolery, the jerse, travels, what a hippy