Sunday, October 14, 2007

my tale of tumultuous travel

Let me preface this entry with this: if you do nothing else while reading the following entry, just laugh. I am not looking for pity, or sorrow. The following sequence of events were just so absurd that all you can do is laugh. Now READ ON!!

My plan for this past weekend was to return to Philly to see my friends and celebrate R’s 4th birthday. I hadn’t seen my friends or the L’s since July.

As I began making plans and arrangements to meet up with my friends, I soon discovered that this past weekend was Fall Break, meaning that most of them were not around. In fact, most of them came to NYC for a visit. Oh well, I though. I’ll just come home Saturday night (late) and meet up with them. Nothing in the Big Apple ever really starts before 10:30 p.m. anyway!

Back to the drama…

Friday: I suck it up and pay the money to take Amtrak. Yes, I could have taken NJ TRANSIT and then transferred to SEPTA but I had a good book that I wanted to read and plus I love the luxury of having a bathroom (in case I need it!)

2:12 p.m.- I depart NY PENN Station with my warm up of Dunkin Donuts coffee (oh, I hadn’t had a nice warm cup of CAFFEINATED coffee in at least 2 weeks!)

3:30 p.m.- Arrive at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia; I call the L’s to see what they are doing. R & J are napping so I figured I’d just take the R3 out to the suburbs.
I quickly make my way to the local trains and see the ONLY sign for the R3- West Trenton. Sweet! It leaves at 3:50. Bummer! Look at the line to use a credit card to buy the ticket. Whatever, I’ll take cash from the ATM and buy the ticket on board. OUCH! A $2.50 surcharge. Oh well, at least I will be on the train in a few minutes.

- I hop on the train and sit down. The conductor comes over and asks me, “where to?” “S*More,” I say. “Umm, Ma’am (ugh, I HATE that term) you are heading the wrong direction.” “Great. I guess I’ll just get off and go back????”
I get off at the next stop and then wait for the next train heading in the other direction.

- I get on the correct train and we pull away toward my destination.

- The train stops at Clifton. And by stop I mean, STOPS, as in not going anywhere. After 10 minutes they make an announcement that there was a car accident on the tracks and that there was damage, but that the engineers were looking into it and that we would be on our way in 30-60 minutes. I called the L’s, just to check in, and we agreed to stay in communication.

- conductor announces that it will be 2 hours (approximately) before we move. By this point the caffeine (which I am no longer accustomed to) is working on my kidneys and I have to pee, SO BADLY! I hear some woman on the train say that we are right off of Baltimore Pike. I think, “Hey, I know where I am. I’ll just walk to the L’s. I can get there just as fast as if I have to sit and wait here for the train to move.”
*side note- I have a large suitcase on wheels, I shopping bag full of presents, am wearing a dress, and a new pair of shoes. However, I must put in a plug for these shoes. They are the GEOX ones…the new line of Cole Haan with Nike Technology! AMAZINGLY comfortable.

- I am off the train and walking. I continue to walk for about 4 miles and I finally arrive at the L’s. Thank god for my IPOD and the GEOX shoes, otherwise the trip would have been a lot less tolerable.

6:38- I arrive at the L’s and am greatly warmly by T &O and also get a huge smile and hug from J. Many of R’s friends and parents are there. It’s lovely to see everyone; however, I am ever so content to just sit in the chair and veg out.

The party winds down and I get to have some play time with the boys. R and J were both fascinated with the balloons, but were getting a little rambunctious with them. Thus, I tied up the strings. However, I told R that if we leave them in the exact same place, that when we come down in the morning the balloons will be “down” because they loose air and begin to sink.

Flash forward to Saturday morning.

- I awake, after having slept like a rock, and hear a loud, “bah bom, bom, bom, bom.” I hear R saying, “Look Nurse Miss Kelly. They are down. They are down. Look! Look!.” Before I opened the door, I was thinking, “What is down? Your pants? ( No, I’m not a pervert! But R is enjoying the new freedom of being potty trained!). Alas, I opened the door and see R shaking the ballons. Oh, silly me! Of course that’s ‘what’s down’…the balloons…just like I promised the night before.

We spent a lovely day at the soccer fields, the local Presbyterian Church’s fall fair, pplayin in the yard, and making some meals for the week.. I ended up getting in touch with my friends who informed me that they had a reservation for 9pm at a restaurant in Murray Hill. Excellent! I though. I booked the Amtrak train for 7:10 and knew that I would be back in plenty of time to meet up with them. However, because I needed to take the R3 back to 30th Street and it only runs on the 31’s, I left S*More at 5:31…figuring that I could maybe get on an earlier Amtrak train.
Thankfully the R3 ride was quick and uneventful. I got the 30th Street and walked up to the Amtrak ticket window. There was no line…WOW! I walked right up and found out that for $15 (more)I could get on the 6:11train to NYC. Again, I suck it up and pay the money. I board the train and settle down into my seat.

- the train comes to a screeching halt and all the lights go out and so does the air-conditioning.
The entire train just sits there, wondering WHAT is going on.

- the conductor finally arrives in our car and says that the train has broken down and that we have lost al power. He said that the engineer was trying to work on the problem, but that they weren’t sure if they could fix it.

- We get another announcement that there was a train leaving 30th Street in 20 minutes that would arrive and transfer to (oh yeah, that was my orginal-$15 less- train reservation).

7:45- the train finally arrives (so much for 20 minutes) and we begin to transfer. Oh no wait, we attempted to transfer except that we were mid track and the trains didn’t actually line up, so we had to pass out luggage across then jump making sure not to touch both trains at the same time. **side note- I am a young, fit, 20 something year old who had trouble with this, never mind the overweight and elderly people who were also aboard.**

- We finally leave Philadelphia. However, there are now 2 trains worth of people on 1 train that was a car shorter than usual and also didn’t have a refreshment car. People were grouchy! I could have gone for a beer, but I was happy to just have a seat. However, I cannot forget to mention the detail that I got stuck sitting next to “the farter”. I’m sorry, I know that isn’t politically correct, but this person was finishing off a bean burrito when they sat down next to me and let’s just say that it kicked into gear about 10 minutes into the trip. Thank god my job as a nurse has pretty much made my immune to HORRIFIC smells.

- Arrive at NY Penn Station. Make a beeline for the subway.

- Speed through the gates to take the E-train. Only to see the sign that says, “Oct. 13-14th NO E TRAIN SERVICE FROM THIS STATION”
SHIT!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, so I now I walk back outside the turn style (1 wasted Metrocard trip) and talk to the man at the ticket counter. I tell him that I need to get on the 6 train uptown. He looks at me like I have 10 heads. He then tells me to take the next train from this location to 42nd street, then take the F train to times square, then get on the E train uptown from there to 51st street and then transfer to the 6 train.
Oh well, I refused to shell out $25 to take a cab (plus I had no cash left) so I asked the man, “well how do I get back though the gate?” TO which he replied, “Swipe your card again.” UGHHHH, I couldn’t even get a free walk back through the gate.

10:30- I am on the F-train.

- I am at 42nd street and walk fro what seems like miles underground to transfer to the times square shuttle.

10:38- I get on the shuttle and ask the man next to me if I am headed the right way. “No English” is his reply. Great,! Congratulations! Welcome to America!!
I have a bad feeling in my stomach so I get off. No one seems to know if I am headed the right way, so I walk up the steps to ask the people at the service window. But wait! There are no service people and I am now outside, standing in Bryant Park (42nd and 6th).
(Excuse my French here, but WHAT THE FU*K?!?!?!?!) I am so pissed. I say, “That’s it! I’m walking home!” For the record, I lives 35 blocks and 5 avenues from there.)
I whip out my phone and call my mom….I just needed someone to listen to me vent. And vent I did. I had my mother in stitches laughing with the series of transportation terror that occurred in the previous 24 hours. However, I made excellent time (and got in a mini workout for the day….okay with me, seeing as I didn’t get to run in the morning).
I ended up missing dinner with my friends but I guess ot worked out because I sort of forgot about the fact that I still needed to change and drop off my luggage.

So that is my tale of tumultuous travel.


FYI- I did have a lovely 24 hours in Philly with the L’s and enjoyed catching up with my friends today.


O said...

OH. NO. That's just about every bad train travel thing ever in ONE trip!

Maybe this means that future trips will be drama free?!?!?!

Unreal. Thank God you are a light packer. And the boys were so thrilled to have you here, and J was including you in our "God blesses" again tonight.

Next time we'll come see you! But thanks again; it was so great to see you again, and the apple cake was the perfect compliment to dessert tonight. And I hope you caught up with your friends somewhere along the line....

Anjali said...

Oh, my. I am exhausted just reading it! Sorry it was so bad - and although it was quick different, it reminds me of traffic in Atlanta!