The Epic Trek.

Oh hey everyone, did y’all notice that storm that blew through here? Sandy, I think they called it? Wasn’t that just a blasty-blast? I am considering moving to the Australian outback and living in a hole in the ground where it is nice and dry and never rains. They do that in the Outback, you know. When I was in high school I saw “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and there’s a mining town where it’s really warm and people pop up like moles at night from their cool subterranean dwellings to drink beer and loiter. I bet they don’t wake up in the morning to branches everywhere and bleeping disconnected phones and news footage of an entire roller coaster sitting in the ocean.

So here’s my saga: I was sitting in bed eating (because what else are you going to do right after a hurricane that is also a tornado/flash flood/biblical plague?) on Tuesday evening when I got a text from my boss. “How R U”, it said. I, unwisely, said I was fine and I had electricity and internet and phones. He said, “Please contact M. and find out if you can help on this pitch” so I texted my co-worker M. and D. got involved and then all of a sudden C. and B. were contacting me asking me if I could help with this pitch, but I didn’t have a laptop so all my files and fonts were at work. We all agreed that it was a dick move that the potential client wouldn’t change their meeting from Friday to a later date because, you know, the East Coast is so very damp right now, but they wouldn’t and people were flipping out. It became abundantly clear that I needed to go into work on Wednesday, where we had electricity and phones but no internet. There were no trains, no subways, tree branches everywhere, wires down, bridges closed, etc. I called my co-worker Nessa who lives in Queens and asked if I could stay with her, and then I called my dad and had him drive me to Queens. Nessa was thoroughly delightful and showed rom-coms to me. I saw “How To Lose A Man In 10 Days” and I’m ashamed to say that I liked it. Who knew Kate Hudson was funny? Anyway, I asked how we would get into the city and she said, “Oh, we can walk over the Queensboro Bridge. It’ll only take 45 minutes.” I found out later that this was a LIE.

We woke up at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday and started walking with the rest of Astoria and Long Island City. It looked like a mass exodus from an abandoned nuclear wasteland to the one town with a functioning Wal-Mart that has three cans of beans still untainted by radiation.

We walked and walked and finally got to the Queenboro Bridge which was awash with a-hole bicyclists. Yes, I understand that you cycle to work every day, Mr. Bike-Man, but there’s a ton more people on your bike path today, so you think you could stop fring-fringing and yelling at everyone and just walk your bike across the bridge like a civilized member of society? Maybe?

At one point an ancient crusty man who looked like a sailor from a crab boat hollered in Nessa’s ear, “ON YOUR RRRRRIGHT!!!” in a thick Scottish accent and Nessa just snapped. “I WILL PUSH YOU OFF YOUR BIKE, SIR.” Once we got to the Manhattan side and sauntered down Park Avenue we saw a Rottweiler dressed as a skunk (it was Halloween, remember) take a giant mushy dump in front of an apartment building and the owner, a tall slim blonde woman on her phone, made absolutely no attempt to pick it up which caused the doorman in front of the building to chastise her and she ignored him because poop-scooping was beneath her, the entitled snotbag. The whole interaction reminded me how much I hate everyone (except for the skunk-weiler, he seemed to be free of fault). Finally, after walking for 5.3 miles, we got to work and about twenty minutes after I got there I got a phone call that the meeting had been postponed for two weeks. All this for nothing. I grumpily pottered around on my computer organizing files and whatnot, and about three hours later Nessa and I decided, ah, the hell with it, let’s go home. Maybe we can get on a bus. And then we saw the lines for the buses.

Yeah, no bus for us. Since the sun was getting low in the sky and it was chilly and windy, and because I figured I would be walking for another hour-and-a-half, I put on my extremely warm and extremely stupid-looking American Eagle bonnet with knitted horns on it that I kept at my office to startle interns.

As Nessa and I were trudging over to the East Side we tried to cab it for a little while, but that didn’t go too great. Our driver tried to rip us off twice and we were getting car-sick from the stop and go and stop and go and rinse and repeat. So we walked onward. And encountered The Barrier.

I think it’s there to keep bicyclists and walkers from wandering right out into the street. We had a choice: we could walk aaaaaaaaall the way down the block, around The Barrier and aaaaaaaaaall the way back, or we could just climb over this thing like everyone else. I was all for the walking option, but Nessa is sporty and had no problem hopping over this. So I decided to make a go of it. And a horrible-looking go it was. I am many things, but athletic is not one of them. I get winded taking the elevator. In between laughing at me, Nessa took pictures.

Nessa promised that we could have these really good milkshakes at a local joint as soon as we got to Astoria. I felt bad for that bartender. We dragged our sorry tired selves into this nice establishment and the bartender asked us what we want, assuming that we were adults and would want adult beverages. Nope. Milkshakes. Strawberry for me, Salted Caramel for Nessa. Make ’em snappy. Did I mention that at this point I’m still wearing my Hagrid-Hat and Nessa is wearing cat ears and a sombrero on her backpack for no reason whatsoever? And we’re drinking milkshakes at a bar? We are very cool. And I didn’t even feel guilty about this tasty treat since I had walked over ten miles that day. Woo, my thighs were tight for the rest of the evening. Every time I got up off the couch to go to the bathroom, I creaked like a haunted attic.

The next day some of the subways were running, so we took the subway in and sang a big chunk of the time. Harmonizing stuff. I considered putting out my hat to collect change. When we got to work we had email and internet so work actually got done and Metro-North was partially running, so I thanked Nessa for putting me up for two days (thank you, Nessa) and walked to Grand Central to catch a train back to White Plains. It’s still electricity-starved in New York. On 37th and 6th, when I looked left I saw this:

But when I looked right, I saw THIS:

Dark. Dark and terrifying.

Anyway, for me it’s all over now, everything’s back to normal-ish and I feel extremely lucky to have had no permanent damage to myself and my possessions and my loved ones. I got off easy on this one.

Two unrelated photos: Astoria is predominantly Greek? Don’t believe me? This picture really captures the Greekiness, I think.

And while sitting on the couch in the evenings I got to pet Gizzy, my second favorite cat in the whole world. She’s extremely fine-boned but she has a big udder hangin’ from her midsection, so she looks like an elongated beanbag. She’s a love-monster and she lets me pick her up and rub on her udder. Great cat.

4 Responses to “The Epic Trek.”

  1. snorth says:

    Speeb’s been calling the storm aftermath “Beyond Thunderdome” and he refuses to live in a place like that. It’s kinda hard though, since we’re still here. And it’s still Beyond Thunderdome.
    btw- is Poseidon punching that ship and then threatening it with a trident?

  2. Rothbeastie says:

    I just went to the gas station and lost count of the cars after 24 because the road curves. Apparently you have to wait hours and hours for gas. I’m staying in until this BS ebbs a bit.
    Yeah, Poseidon is pummeling the ship. Come drink and eat here, where you can feel the wrath of ancient gods on your sea-faring vessel!

  3. Gemma says:

    Glad you both are OK! Hang in there! (you’re welcome to escape South…)

  4. Rothbeastie says:

    Thank you for the offer! I think I’m alright. Glad you guys didn’t get slammed down there (for a change, Florida is usually hit hard).

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