Saturday, April 25, 2009

Kimberly's Excellent Adventure or Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Great news! I made it to Boston yesterday!

So the story:

Got up at 4:30 a.m. to get on a 6:30 flight to NYC. Got to airport, no problem, through security, no problem.... then to the gate. "Ladies and Gentlemen, for those on flight 4356 to New York's La Guardia, I've received a call from Crew scheduling -- the crew is delayed and will be here, but I don't know when. I'll keep you updated."

I know that this crew overnights in Des Moines. So either one of them awoke ill....very bad because they'd have to fly someone in to replace them, or one of them overslept the alarm.

After 30 minutes, the crew arrives.

Turns out the flight attendant overslept.

"Ok," I thought, "I still have probably enough time to make the cab to Penn Station for my noon train... IF there isn't too much traffic in NYC and IF we don't have to circle LGA, as is often the case."

"And there's always another Acela express train at 1:03."

Fly to LGA, no circling, great! My plane ended up being 45 minutes later than the scheduled arrival time. It's about 11:00 now. Train leaves for Boston at noon. I might make it. Maybe. If traffic isn't too bad. I hope. Maybe.

Land, go to cabs. Get into cab. Feeling physically ok.

Cab takes off from curb. No, LURCHES from curb, then SLAMS on breaks, skids.... cab honks, swerves, stops, lurches to a start, stops, lurches, swerves left and right... ALL THE WAY TO PENN STATION . ..about 45 minutes in heavy traffic.

I have to open the window. I don't get car sick. I almost got car sick.

I've ridden in cabs all over the world. I know cabbies tend to drive very aggressively.. but this was more than I'd ever experienced. I thought of asking him to drive more slowly because I wasn't feeling well, but frankly, I was a little afraid if this man. I didn't want to antagonize him.

I'm looking at the clock... it's 11:44 and we pull up in front of Penn Station. *exhale* I pay the cabbie the $35 for the honor of almost being killed on the streets of NYC, and RUN into the station. I've never been there, have no clue where I'm going or how large this place is.

And I want an iced latte. ;-)

I quickly discard the latte idea... now that I was actually there, I didn't want to risk missing my train to Boston and having to wait another hour, especially still feeling a little woozy from Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

I run, my eyes searching up and around for clues to the Amtrak train departure tracks... oh, and I still have to find these "Amtrak Kiosks" where I have to scan the bar code off a piece of paper -- this will then spit out my actual ticket. Why Amtrak can't let you print your ticket when you buy it online, like the airlines do, I have no idea, but whatever.

Finally I see the "Amtrak" signs. I run. I run carefully, swerving this and that way to avoid knocking people over. I'm thinking "Damn! I hope I make it" alternating with "If I don't, though, this is a cool place, and I bet I can get decent food and a latte here."

I see a kiosk near the "Acela train waiting" area. I scan my bar code. It's 11:52. Success! Machine belches out my ticket!

Grab ticket, run over to Man at Desk. Ask Man where I board train. Man points "over there, see that long line of people going down that escalator?" Yes, I see them. "Get in that line."

I do. It's a long line. I'm SURE I could make it to that Dunkin Donuts for an iced latte, but I'd rather have a Starbucks one. I don't see a Starbucks though. Hmmmm. Get out of line? Hmmmm. Nah, don't want to miss train. But 3 hour 30 minute train would be more pleasant if begun with iced latte.... much more pleasant.

Nah, don't risk it.

Board train. Very few seats left. No windows. None. There goes my idea of sleeping. I can't sleep unless I lean against the window. Oh well.

Find seat next to nice friendly young man reading a Big Classic Novel. He seems like a good choice, I will at least have quiet. He seems shy. I am right, he smiles but says nothing the whole way to New Haven, where he disembarks.

The trip goes quickly, I read a book and listen to music. I stare out the window at the Northeast coast, one of the first nice days, families on the beach, old seaside towns, former whaling villages. I adore the Atlantic Ocean and its history.

Arrive at South Station in Boston. Beautiful GORGEOUS spring day, warm, slight breeze. I am overjoyed to see the city I love so much in Spring Bloom yet again.

Only one more mode of transport left to my home on the North Shore. The C & J bus.

I have no idea where to get it here. I ask at info counter, they point: I run!

My eyes dart around South Station as I run... is there a Starbucks here? Nope. Damn. lol

It's 4:47 now anyway, the bus leaves at 5:00. It's Friday evening so it may already be full. I abandon thoughts of anything but finding my bus. I get to the ticket counter and am sold a ticket, good sign. I get the 4th to the last seat!! YAY!! Woo hooo!!

I stumble on to the bus, get the last of three seats in the last row in the back and am thrilled to have it. I get a window this time, so there is leaning! There is dozing!

An hour later, standing at the bus depot, I see my partner's car pull into view. *sigh* He steps out, smiling at me. My heart swells up as I smile back. When did he get more attractive? Has he always been this gorgeous?

We embrace and I am suddenly home again, a different --- but similar home to the one created by the embraces of my son and I. My two homes, the arms of my son and the arms of my partner.

And that was Kimberly's Excellent Adventure, Friday April 24, 2009.

The End.