As life calms down I get more time to write down my recent travels. New York was the most recent adventure. I went for the Swamp in the City Cajun Music Festival. Now, something you may not know about me is I’m a walker. I have always preferred walking instead of any other form of transportation. I would like to say it is for health reasons but that isn’t true. First, I am a terrible driver - not dangerous just not talented. I drive very slow and safe to the disdain of everyone around me. Second, my natural sense of direction only exists when I am moving slowly and on foot. In a car I am so focused on the road I forgot to keep track of where I am going. Third, I get so easily distracted and in my own thoughts that public transportation can be a dangerous place for me.
This recent trip did not cure me of my traveling issues. I did everything I was supposed too. I looked up the trains and subways ahead of time. I knew which ones I needed to get on and even mapped out which stops I should be seeing so that I would know when I had started my usual path into the wrong direction. Airport train to Newark to the New York train was a shining success. I got this. Public Transportation was about to be my bitch. Slight hiccup getting to the New York train but a Help Booth and asking for specific directions saved the day. Off I go to New York’s Penn Station. Once there I re-adjust to the insane amount of people whizzing by and got my bearings.
There it is - the subway. I look at the map, double checking my instructions. I went to the machine and got my handy dandy Metro Card. I got this! Brooklyn here I come. I knew that the numbers should be descending as we started on our journey. I started out strong paying attention to the next stop. No number streets yet but I got this. Then it happened. A very large man boards in a very tight, pale blue uniform - he had a little hat with it and everything. I try not to stare but he sits next to me and proceeds to instantly fall asleep and snore loudly. Now, I am hyper aware that I do not want his heavy looking head coming my direction. Also, how could he just sleep? Will he know when to get off? If he does, how will he know? I must know these things! As he sleeps I am now starting to notice all the people around me. So many different people and 90% of them on their phones. I was thankful when the loud teenagers boarded. It was nice to hear some human voices bouncing around this metal tube.
Just like that we stop and the large man jumps up, fully awake, and gets off. Graceful as all get out. How the hell does he do that? It was like a magic trick only city folk know. To replace him is a group of people I recognized instantly. These are Southerners and not just any southerners but Alabamans. The fishing shirts and Reel Life t-shirts were an instant give away. I prayed, “Please don’t start talking loud.” I knew this was a wasted prayer. Southerners usually cannot help it, we are a loud bunch. I am as guilty as anybody else. What was interesting is how others reacted. I kind of bowed over and pulled my hat over my eyes. The New Yorkers slowly looked away from their phones at these strange, loud, creatures. In their world the drag queen sitting next to the hooker who are both visiting with the older Jewish man, was normal. This loud t-shirt and jean short clad crew was strange and foreign.
Finally, I snap out of my thoughts when the train just stops moving and it’s me and a homeless man. I know what this means. I have done this enough to recognize the signs of “the end of the line”. The conductor comes in, “Ma’am, this is the end of the line.”
“Yeah I got that, I am supposed to be on my way to Brooklyn.”
“You do know that when the numbers go up you are going the wrong way?”
Yeah, asshat I know. I can do basic math, unfortunately what I can’t do is stop myself from thinking tangents - Is what I wanted to say.
Instead I very kindly begged him to help me. He did not do with joy but he did it.
Now on the right train, I text Roger, informing him of my directional mistake. He, of courses, jokingly texts me back, “Good luck and don’t end up in Coney Island.” Hilarious. like I am going to end up miles and miles away in the wrong direction again.
Soooo, once I got off the subway in Coney Island it became very apparent where my skills do not lie. If they are going to make one of these damn trains an express and not stop at any spots in between there should be a big sign. Not just a little damn “X” which means nothing to a random lost Cajun lady. So, four hours later I made it to Brooklyn. I proceeded to walk more than 42 miles the next three days. Only my feet can be trusted. if I kept taking trains I would probably starting a new life in Jersey now.