Oh my. So I’ve spent the trip down creeping on Craigslist and planning exciting outings with Daniel Mulé upon my arrival in New York – which is getting pushed back by the minute because our conductor (or, as I like to think of him, the PTSDriver) took a “shortcut” and is now well on his way to possible vehicular manslaughter at every corner. Some notable outbursts include:
- The time he rolled through the crosswalk like a ton of bricks while running a red light. A pedestrian attempted to exercise her right of way. He screeched past her with the observation “You must have an ass made of rubber!”
- We attempt to make a left turn from the center lane. A car in the left lane gets visibly irate.
PTSDriver: Too bad; I get to go first. I’m bigger!
Female passenger in front of bus (clearly tipsy and therefore unheeding of our danger): Yes you are!
PTSDriver: That’s what she said.
For distraction from his raginess, I can always indulge myself in my seatmate. When I sat down next to him, he was already half asleep, and I congratulated myself on having picked someone who would be quiet and unassuming (after my trip to Vermont, when I found myself trapped next to an old lady who went on for an hour and a half about how horrible George Bush was and how Barack was going to save the whales and change the world, I have given up on bus chatting).
Unfortunately, he got a phone call two hours into the trip, and this was when the quality of my life went quickly downhill. He is a redheaded Canadian dentistry student at Harvard who is clearly as fascinated with his own life as I am disinterested to hear about Canadian dentristry boards and undergraduates and facial surgery – in detail – the horror! Sadly, his fascination with the world seems to extend to me as well, as he is avidly reading everything on my computer screen over my shoulder between bouts of eating unfortunately pungent food and surreptitiously picking his nose.
(Do you really believe that no one notices these things? I would appreciate a public service announcement pointing out that the nose, floating orphaned as it is in the middle of the face, is not a place you end up in by accident. You book the flight, pack your carryon, and, either furtively or brazenly, end up in your nose.)
In between my dreams of a private car service to deliver me from the more irritating pieces of public transportation, I am looking out on the streets of New York and daring to hope that maybe this time will be different. Maybe I won’t end up rage filled, cold and sorrowful just like every other time I’ve visited (even that time I came in August! I was all geared up to brave the legendary, un-air-conditioned heat of Manhattan in the summertime, and then it was raining and 50 degrees for the entire week. My summer dresses and flip flops were only not laughable because I was so determined to conjure up sunshine with the power of positive thinking, but all that hope I poured into the city eventually crystallized into the fundamental elements of the diamond nugget of hate for New York that I’ve nurtured ever since). Maybe I will meet up with Daniel, and we will have a lovely cup of something warm, and the city will reveal its inner loveliness to me after all.