Saturday, needed to get up early and I did. No bagels this morning, had to hustle and look presentable for my Aunt Betty’s funeral. I hustled around the apartment running into Bill who was up and about so he can get to his acting classes. I only had coffee after shaving and showering and then I was hitting the rainy streets of Hoboken, specifically Park Avenue. Not many people out at 8:00 on a Saturday morning and I enjoyed the walk while listening to Bob Dylan’s Love and Theft.
Caught the Light Rail at Ninth Street and was soon in Union City, 48th Street and Bergenline Avenue. Asked a Transit Police Officer if the 159 bus stops here at the Light Rain station or on the street, he had no idea. And he works there, as a police officer. I took a chance and waited on the street. The bus showed up as expected and got on sitting in the back listening to Dylan. The bus snaked up Bergenline towards Fort Lee. As the bus moved through Fairview I noticed at least a hundred day laborers standing on street corners waiting for a chance to work. I never really saw that before I must say. I hoped someone would be able to give them a decent job and a good wage.
The bus continued on past many day laborers eventually making it to Fort Lee. As I discussed with my brother Brian I’d call him when I got off the bus since he’d be in the area. I got off the bus and called him. He asked where I was and told him Main Street and Center Avenue. You couldn’t get more center of town than that. I asked Brian where he was, and he was home. He overslept. It was fine by me. I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I was standing in the middle of two bagel stores and a bakery café. It was more than fine. “Take your time”.
I knew the area and went to the bagel shop I had been to before and got an egg sandwich which I proceed to eat and read the New Yorker with a large coffee. After that I walked out into the Fort Lee street watching various people run in and out of the various eateries. As I stood on the corner waiting for Brian, a yellow cab from New York comes and pulls up in front of me. The driver rolls down the window and asks, “Hey Mister! Isn’t it the rule that in a cab going through the toll the toll has to be paid for by the passenger?” “Well, yeah.” The passenger rolls down his window and says, “But we didn’t go through any toll!” I tell him that it’s the passenger that has to pay for the cab to get back to the city. That’s just how it is.
The cab drove off about a hundred feet away and I paid it no mind. About 10 minutes later, it backs up with the passenger asking if I knew where a pay phone was. I didn’t, I wasn’t from around this area. He kept arguing with the cabbie and finally paid him. When he got out he asked if he could use my cell phone. I asked him the number and he told me, I dialed and handed him the phone. From what I overheard, he was supposed to be in Jersey City. He got off the phone and asked how he could get to Jersey City. I suggested walking to the next block, that is going south and look for a bus stop. He couldn’t deal with it and decided to call for another cab. Brian pulled up and I got in.
It was an easy ride to Mount Vernon where we picked up our Uncle Joseph at his nursing home. Joseph suffers from diabetes, is blind and has had a leg amputated. It was not as bad as I had pictured in my mind as usual. He’s still his irascible self, talking about Jews and spics. He’s definitely old school. That’s how he was brought up and that is how he lived. If he didn’t like someone who was Jewish or Spanish that would make that person a dirt spic or a dirty Jew. I’m not making apologies, for I’m sure at some point he talked badly about dirty fags. That’s just a fact of his life. He’s the last of the Mohicans.
We hooked up with cousin Neil and his girlfriend Linda, and Uncle Joseph’s son Joey showed up as well. Joey was scheduled to go to a wedding on Block Island, but his wife Polly’s father passed away on Thursday night. Joey calls his father, King. I don’t know if it’s a term of endearment or mockery. Aunt Betty’s relatives were there, I forgot that I met a few of them in the nineties when Betty’s husband, my Uncle Harry passed away. It was a short service in the cemetery under skies that threatened to open.
After that we wheeled Uncle Joseph to the car and we all headed to a diner in Yonkers for a quick lunch. Uncle Joseph is also deaf in one ear so there was some raised voices at the table, though none were raised in anger. Joey picked up the tab and we agreed to pay the tip. We parted in the parking lot, with Neil inviting Bill and I to Thanksgiving dinner this year and I swore that we would make it. Neil is such a good guy, he hasn’t had an easy life but he persevered and is doing well, how could I say no?
Brian and I drove back to Hoboken through scenic routes that I hadn’t been through in quite a number of years. It was a nice quiet ride and I gave him a hug and a kiss when he dropped me off. I called Brian a few hours later to ask him the name of Uncle Joseph’s building because I was ordering a CD for him to make up for his favorite opera overtures disc that was badly scratched. Everyone had gotten home safe and sound.
I had difficulty connecting with Juan but eventually got through and carried on with our plan to go to Jersey City Gay Pride. We made it and took the Light Rail to Exchange Place where Juan started recognizing various men he’s met before in one way or another. I won’t get into detail to preserve Juan’s, ahem, integrity. We had a great time though drinking beers and I smoked a cigar which kept the twinks at bay. The Pride festival was winding down after being there for two hours so Juan and I continued back to Hoboken and bought some more beer and groceries.
Bill stayed home and was working on my computer trying to get it up to speed for his wireless network. A simple upgrade that wasn’t going so well. Bill was confident he would fix it and I placed my confidence in Bill. Juan and I sat on the couch and watched the Rent DVD which Bill had purchased a few months ago. There was some sniffling during the film and Juan, Bill and I would occasionally join in with the singing. No day but today. Juan kept moaning about not wanting to leave for school on Sunday, but it was true, he had to go back to school.
When he left there were tears in his eyes as well as mine. He’s a good kid and we wish him well. Hope he got home ok, he has some packing to do. I know he’ll fall back into his academic routine sure enough. He’s a smarty. And a dear friend. BFF!
later that day…
zoom zoom zoom
POST SCRIPT: written Sunday 8.27.06
Spent all day indoors, dreary rainy day. Nothing to write about really, but keep in mind the posting for yesterday, started yesterday afternoon, finished this morning is over 1200 words, so that more than covers the daily word tally of at least 500. If you don’t like it, write your own blog.
and good luck to Juan!