Well so far today has been a pain in the ass and not of my own doing. Someone tells me the other day in an email, of a friend of theirs who is having an art exhibit in Brooklyn. Sounds good. They say they want to go with their wife and that we have to act fast.
The only 2 days they’re available to go is today, Saturday or next weekend. I reply via email that today would be good for me, next weekend not good since I am booked to work with Lois and Rand. Do I hear anything from this someone?
No. So I go about my life.
It’s a beautiful day and I’m thinking that today would be a good day to do my ride to the George Washington Bridge and down through Manhattan, stopping in Central Park for a spell then heading down to the World Trade Center and catching the Path back to Jersey City then riding back into Hoboken.
I’ve done it the past few years, it’s an invigorating, meditative ride. Clears out the cobwebs, gets me into something that resembles physical fitness. So I fart around this morning waiting for the clouds to break.
Finally blue skies appear and I start getting psyched for the ride. No one else to join me, but that’s fine. I find riding with someone is nice, but ultimately it’s just you and the bike that matters.
I start thinking of what to bring, which route to take when the phone rings. It’s Mr. Unknown aka someone, that comes up on the cell phone. He says so I’ll pick you up today. I’m taken aback.
I hadn’t heard anything regarding this since my email and forgot all about it. I didn’t commit to anything either. I explain that to him and I get an apology for his mis-communication.
In my mind I’m thinking mis-communication is when you say the wrong thing, or tell the wrong person. This was no communication.
I feel the rope of guilt around my ankles as I’m about to be tripped by it. I give in to this plan and decide to forgo my bike ride. I really don’t want to but there is this loyalty I feel.
He senses this on the other end of the line and wonders why I’m getting upset. I explain why but it has no effect as far as I can tell. I ask how we are getting to Brooklyn and he gets a bit indignant saying ‘I’m picking you up aren’t I?’
Now this guy usually tries to get out of driving into the city any chance he can get. Let’s take the bus/ferry/Path train which is fine when it’s a novelty coming in from the suburbs, but when you use those methods of transportation as often as I do, there is no novelty and you sometimes see it as the pain in the ass it can be.
Like the other day, I was going into the city with Bill and when we went to the Path train we find the trains weren’t running due to a signal failure, so we wait on a very long line for buses to head into the city in the rain.
No novelty there, just a big pain in the ass.
So knowing this I felt I had to ask how we were getting to Brooklyn. Then I ask what time we are going. It was 11:45 and he says 1:30-2:00. Realistically that means 2:30-3:00. At that time I had hoped to be over the George Washington Bridge and enjoying a quick rest by the Hudson River.
Now I’ll be waiting for my ride to Williamsburg, which is not how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon.
That was written about 7 hours ago in 20 minutes. Here’s what happened next. I head downstairs and my cell phone rings. It’s the someones wife telling me they had to turn back and get the directions which were left at home.
It is starting to look like the departure time I predicted was correct. 2:30 seems more likely. I decide to sit on the stoop and enjoy a cigar as they make their way towards Hoboken.
My neighbor Chris sees me and starts telling me about the cat problem in the backyard. The cat problem is his doing since he feeds and looks after so many strays, the cats use the entire backyard as a litter box.
I can’t smell it up here on the 5th floor but they can smell it on the third floor. He tells me of his rescue of a cat that was in a humane trap for 2 days, ready to have a litter of kittens and how he had to go to Newark to prevent it from being euthanized.
It’s a story and a half and he rambles on and I sit there puffing on a cigar waiting for the someone and his wife to show up. Eventually Chris heads inside with 5 large bags of kitty litter, I keep puffing and someone and his wife pull up.
The wife was driving, but she gets out and lets someone do the driving instead. Someone isn’t talking to me so I talk to the wife, asking about the kids and whats what.
Someone had the plan to take the Lincoln Tunnel and then the West Side Highway to get to Brooklyn. I’m just the passenger so I play along, watching bicycle riders on the bike path that I really wanted to be on today.
We approach downtown past the World Trade Center site when someone goes into the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. thinking it’s the tunnel that goes under the Battery and winds up on the FDR Drive.
I tell him we’re heading into Brooklyn but he doesn’t believe me, not even when we approach the toll to get out of the tunnel. He’s too busy trying to find the Brooklyn Bridge to show his wife. The Brooklyn Bridge is out of sight behind us.
I suggest getting off this highway heading in the opposite direction and head into the traffic in the direction we should be going. No he doesn’t think there is a spot to turn since he used to drive a taxi 25 years ago.
Anything I suggested he wouldn’t listen to no matter how correct I was. It was frustrating and occasionally voices were raised but thanks to his wife things had calmed down a bit. He kept saying that I was angry with him and I said no, I wasn’t angry, just annoyed.
Finally after driving around most of South Brooklyn, we were headed in the right direction. I came up with the idea of crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge, catching the FDR Drive north and getting on the Williamsburg Bridge as planned.
Plus I really needed to pee and begged him to stop if he saw a McDonald’s or Starbucks. Of course where we were on the Lower East Side there were no Starbucks to be found and the one McDonald’s that we did pass, he did not stop at.
By the time we were back in Brooklyn my back teeth were floating. Enough was enough and I insisted he stop and I got out and walked over to a Puerto Rican luncheonette, bought a Diet Pepsi and lost a few pounds in their facility.
Got back in the car and we drove again. I had a suggestion to head north and eventually make a left, someone decides a right turn will do just fine and we start heading towards the Marcy Projects.
Notorious for bad things happening, close to East New York which resembles Dodge City sometimes.
By deductive reasoning I start to direct someone in the right direction. Eventually we find the art gallery, missing the artist they had come to see by mere minutes. It was an OK exhibition.
Perhaps if I was in a better mood I would have enjoyed it, perhaps I would have even enjoyed being in Brooklyn, but not today. Some progress was made in the relations in the car but once we started moving again it went out the window.
An impetuous driver he is, easily stressed and ready to complain about everyone else.
Suggesting that someone get a bicycle and ride around sometime as a way of exercise was squashed when someone revealed that he doesn’t want to look like a dork wearing a bicycle helmet.
I used the ‘would you rather be a good looking corpse without a helmet or someone who looks dorky and alive wearing a helmet?’ argument which went nowhere. Eventually I got to Hoboken angry more with myself for allowing to be guilt tripped into this ill fated excursion.
I said goodbye to someone and hugged his wife telling her I loved her and wishing her good luck. I don’t plan on anymore excursions with this someone any time soon. No fucking way.
I should have stuck to my guns and said no, that I was going bike riding. I would have felt a whole lot better about most everything, now I’m just even more frustrated and bothered by how this gorgeous day turned out.