New York City Boy

This was the original plan: drive down to Connecticut on Sunday, take the train into the City Sunday night in order to have all day Monday before having to get into line for The Daily Show, after the show and dinner take the train back to Connecticut and leave early Tuesday morning to get back here before I had to be at work Tuesday afternoon.

That more or less happened. Except for the driving down part. For those of you not paying attention to the news or what’s been going on outside your windows, Sunday was when we got that big huge snow storm, which, actually, wasn’t really that bad here in Maine. Still, it was nothing to be driven in. So we didn’t drive down, we took the train instead.

The train from Portland to Boston was interesting, since it was the only way to get out of the city that day. There were kids going back to school after their weekend at home, everyone from Portland going to the Celtics game that night, and everyone else who just needed to get out of the city. An interesting mix, you might imagine.

Exemplary of this mix were the two guys who, when asked if they minded where they were sitting, because there was a group of four who wanted to be able to sit together, responded, ‘Yup. Wanna be close to the beer and close to the bathroom.’ (You’ll have to apply what you imagine the Maine accent to be yourself.) They did move in the end though.

I mostly escaped by listening to music and trying to read the paper but the woman in front of us just didn’t have an indoor voice that worked so it was difficult to drown out her exclamations of ‘It looks like a blizzard out there!’ and her various complaints to her husband that the headphone splitter that they had bought for their laptop sucked.

There was nothing open in Boston of course because of the storm and the train ride to New York was relatively uneventful in comparison to all of the colourful characters on the Portland-to-Boston train. The weird thing about it was the fact that both trains were essentially on time. Amtrak is never on time. Ever. Perfect weather? 30 minutes late. Blizzard? 5 minutes late.

What was most amusing about New York was the fact that people just weren’t quite sure to do with all this snow. The City got over 2 feet. The boy’s friend that we stayed with pointed out that every time there’s a big storm, they show people on the news buying shovels. As if they didn’t already own one. What about all the times there’ve been big storms before? Apparently they just abandon the shovels in snow banks or something. ‘It’ll never snow again! I don’t need this!’ Sure enough, we did see a few shovels abandoned on the sidewalks of New York as we walked around.

It was Monday. Nothing exciting was open. We walked around and shopped instead. We had to be in line for the Daily Show mid-afternoon so we couldn’t really get too ambitious. I was over-tired since I opened on Sunday and then didn’t manage to nap on the train, so I was a bit of a zombie all day. Dinner after the show was yummy and I got to see a friend from university whom I haven’t seen since she graduated the year before me.

Tuesday, as I predicted, was the longest day ever. I managed to sleep a little bit on the drive back to Maine but was still tired when I got to work just on time at 2. It was decently busy but I figured that it would quiet down for the last hour, it being Valentine’s Day and all. And it sort of did until we got a rush for the last half hour and then hadn’t been able to lock the doors and people just kept coming in. It actually wasn’t so bad and we were able to get people out and lock up by quarter past 8 and then to get out of there by 9.30. It was just that neither I nor the person I was closing with particularly wanted to be there any longer than absolutely necessary.

In the end, it was a good trip. Fun but far too short. Incidentally, it wasn’t the shortest trip I’ve ever taken to New York. In fact, three of the now five times that I’ve been to New York have been day trips from Massachusetts. Those ones were way, way too short. They were also when I was a kid and found the City to be very overwhelming. Now, I feel like I have a better handle on the City and don’t find it so overwhelming…except for Times Square. That still freaks me out a bit.

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