Jen told me she’s read the previous blog post “like, eight times already” and would I please post something new?, so I am. I will tell you about how I had the world’s most horrific day on Tuesday.
“Little did I know” it would be so dramatic.*
I went to New York to finalize the bridesmaid dresses. I got in, and hopped on the shuttle that takes you horizontaly across 42nd Street (right in the middle of the rectangle shaped island) from the east side of Grand Central Terminal (where my train came in) to the west side; Times Square.
Then I hopped on a train to take me downtown… and I got on the wrong train. No problem. I had tons of extra time, but I called Rob so he could check a map and give me a direction to walk in. No answer. I walked around for a bit and then hopped into a cute little cafe where a girl with a pierced nose and blonde dreadlocks kindly pointed me towards Broadway. I thanked her and rushed over the few blocks to Broadway, but it said “West Broadway”. No matter; I figured it would turn into Broadway proper sooner or later, but I called Rob again just to be sure. Still no answer. (Later, I would find out that he was sitting in his office all day working from home with his cell phone right in front of him, and didn’t get reception at all.)
On West Broadway, I checked the numbers on the store fronts to determine which direction I should walk. Up W. Broadway I went.
I had a few hundred numbers to go to get to 547 and time was dwindeling, so I hurried a bit, but took comfort in the fact that I was going in the right direction. Suddenly, around #510, I glanced up at a street sign and froze in horror. I have no idea how it happened, but I was no longer on Broadway, West Broadway, or anything remotely similar!
I looked at my watch; six minutes late already. Not so tragic if you’re just a few doors down, but I was on the wrong street, and had no clue where I was!
I phoned Rob, over and over and over, quite upset at this point and finally just left a tearful message on his voicemail saying I was lost and why the hell did he not answer his fucking cell phone? because didn’t he know I was in the city? and could he please call me please because I was very late and very upset.
“Dude, Broadway is this way, c’mon.” A guy, ten feet away from me, said this to his friend. It was like in those old stories where the weary traveler has all but given up hope and then there’s a ray of light and the angels lead them to their destination. (My life is boring. I NEED to make things a bigger deal than they are sometimes, I think.) I followed them, and lo and behold, they lead me the few blocks over to Broadway! (I still have no idea how I got off it in the first place.)
This time, I was a hundred doors up, around the mid sixes, so I had to rush down, and the scenery got more and more familiar until, at last, I arrived at my destination sweaty, tear-streaked, rumpled, muss-haired, and half an hour late.
I did what I needed to do, and then hopped right back on the subway to go home. I bought my ticket and found a seat, praying that no one would sit next to me. I had hoped I would be heading home early enough to avoid rush hour commuters packing the train; I hate crowed travel, and even more, I hate sharing train seats with strangers, particularly men. Of course, even though I was on the relativly early 3:33 express, the train filled to bursting anyway and a man sat down next to me.
Usually, I sit and immediately stick my ticket in the seat, then keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get lost and I don’t have to do a rushed search for it with the train guy standing over me, waiting. I actually don’t even like to talk to them at all, I just pass over my ticket and ignore them, and everyone else. I am anti-social commuter.
I took my ticket out of my seat when the guy sat down next to me, so it wouldn’t poke him in the back, and stuck it in my magazine. Twenty minutes later, the Train Guy came around.
The male Seat Invader next to me handed over his, and I scrounged around for mine, unable to find it. I flipped through the magazine I just knew it was in three or four times, but no taco. Invader pointed out to the Train Guy that I did actually have a ticket and had it stuck in the seat a moment before.
“Never stick your ticket in the seat!” Train Guy exclaimed, much louder than necessary, and everyone stared. “It will disappear faster than anything!”
I mumbled something about where I’d like to stick my ticket.
I felt like he must have thought I was trying to sneak a ride; that I, Amber Santos, was a train ride theif! Which I’m not, of course, so in addition to trying to look for my ticket quickly, I was attempted to look “not guilty”, which made me more flustered, and probably more guilty looking, too. He certainly looked at me like I was trying to get away with something.
“I’ll come back.” he said dryly. He moved on, asking my more responsible trainmates for their tickets, and they all produced them with considerably less drama.
I emptied my bag into the three inches of personal space I had left. As I was going through everything I had, a second wave of panic added itself to my first, but it took me a full ten seconds to figure out why: I didn’t have my iPod.
There was no doubt in my mind that I had taken it with me; I was listening to it on the (more spacious) train ride in.
My phone rang. It was Rob. “Honey, are you ok?” he asked. “I just got your message now!”
The conclusion is: I found my ticket; it was in the magazine I was reading, “right where you left it” the Train Guy said smugly. Ass. The store called and said they had my iPod and would hold it for me, and Seat Invader moved when the train cleared up a bit after a few stops.
It was one of the worst trips to New York I’ve ever had. But in the end, not so bad, right? because “all’s well that ends well”. That’s what they say, anyhow.
So, Jen, there is your story.
*Go see Stranger Than Fiction. It’s fantastic.