Tag Archives: NJ Transit

I Saw the Light- Johnny Cash

It’s a Friday from what I gathered. Bill is driving to Atlantic City so that is a sure sign that the weekend is here. It’s been an interesting day overall. I had a dream that my front teeth were knocked out which was distressing enough to wake me up and check to see if my teeth were still in place. They were and it was a relief. I slept later than usual, I kept hitting the snooze button and each time the radio came on, it was the DJ and I did not want to hear her, I’d rather it were music.

I got out of bed, had some coffee after a shower and headed out. I stopped by Mona’s and dropped off Bill’s shirts and then headed to the supermarket. I saw the mighty Isis, it had been a while and the last time I saw her she was in a parade celebrating the Hoboken High School football team winning the state championship. She was good and seemed happy. It was good to see her and I was soon on the way home with assorted foodstuffs. I did get Bill his almonds but I forgot to buy coffee which I will have to get tomorrow. I think I have enough for one more day.

I saw Shlomo, he seemed alright a little more feeble than usual but he seemed to recover from his diabetic incident with nary a scratch. I also headed to the Guitar Bar where Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro was busy with a guitar sale and students going in and out. Jim gave me part of a package that was sent to Guitar Bar from an Ian Hunter/Mott the Hoople fan that I friended on Facebook, nice food and snacks. I picked up some photos at CVS and ran an errand for Jim, a trip to the post office. It was a decent day out, felt warm at 39 degrees which is an improvement over the past few days.

I headed into the city and did some running around there too. I ran into my friend Jessie who was glad to see me and just Bill by thismuch. He was off to Wally World and I was off to Hoboken, two ships passing in the afternoon. I got in the queue at the bus terminal and when I got to the gate I saw the bus was jam packed and decided to wait for the next bus. NJ Transit seems to have recovered from Hurricane Sandy, at least with the #126 bus to and from Hoboken.

I certainly did not think I would be waiting for 50 minutes though. I was now first in line and had no idea how long the line stretched and I was not about to give up my spot to find out. Everyone on their devices and people were looking at me trying to gauge my reaction to see if a bus was coming. Eventually they gave up. 50 minutes in a dispatcher shows up to tell us the wait would be 90 minutes. That was when I raised my voice.

I told the dispatcher that some of us had been waiting for nearly an hour and now he was telling us it would be another 90 minutes? He didn’t seem to know how long we had been waiting and walked off, coming back a few minutes later and used his position to commandeer another bus to take us to Hoboken.

It was odd, yesterday while at the cigar shop I saw a few 126 buses going by from Manhattan one after another. Today there wasn’t even one. My NJ Transit bad luck still carries forth and I do regret not thanking the dispassionate dispatcher as I got on the bus but I was tired and in no mood and I really had to pee.

and now they're getting ready for Valentine's day

and now they’re getting ready for Valentine’s day

Only The Stones Remain

I Don’t Care Raheem DeVaughn

Well thanks to some melatonin I was able to get a good night’s sleep. It hasn’t been happening so much lately so anticipating a crazy day at the cigar shack, I decided to get a good night’s rest. I thought Bill had a good night’s sleep as well but I think he might have been over tired to do so.

I woke up early enough, three hours before I actually had to head in today. I was able to take my time and get things done, coffee, cereal and a shower. Good to do such things at my leisure. A walk to the bus stop, ominous clouds approaching from the west.

I waited for my bus, enjoying a cigar, telling a woman with a baby that the 89 bus was approaching and if that was the bus she wanted I would flag it down for her. I then helped her on the bus and waited for my own.

I did see the clod who is fond of throwing garbage into the bushes rather than the garbage can 10 feet away. He avoided me as I avoided him. I did see him throw the cellophane wrapper from a pack of Marlboro Lights in the middle of the street as he jaywalked, but felt he was too far away to do anything about it.

The ride into the city was eventful. My usual bus driver, my #2 favorite is on vacation this week so I had someone from the legion of substitute drivers. He was doing alright, picking up passengers but going rather slowly.

As we approached the tunnel, there was not much traffic and he opted to go through a different lane than most buses do. He rolled on through at an easy pace when all of a sudden there was a crash and a dragging sound.

Apparently, one of the toll booth attendants decided to open her door at the same time as the bus was passing and had her door torn off and the glass shattered. We stopped, the driver got out to see if everything was alright. We weren’t going anywhere it seemed since he now had to fill out an accident report.

Luckily another bus pulled up alongside and offered to take all of us onto his bus. It was crowded but we eventually made it to the bus terminal with no problem. I texted Calvin to let him know I might be late and received no response, but that may be from having a crappy phone on my end.

I was wary on Calvin’s behavior today since the computer crashed yesterday but he was actually alright, not too pissy. It was a relief. I worked with Jerry Vale all day, Calvin going to another organ donor meeting, trying to line up a Korg.

How that worked out I don’t know but here I am and everything seemed to be alright. Just a little over an hour to go before I am able to go home and that is something I am definitely looking forward to.

RIP Yellow Birdie

I Confess #1

It’s all about Hurricane Irene today. Hoboken’s mayor, Dawn Zimmer recommended that if you can leave the city, then you should. Bill and I aren’t planning on doing that. We really don’t have anywhere to go anyhow.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has announced their plan to shut down the transit system at noon on Saturday, NJ Transit is doing the same, buses will stop at 6:00PM, trains & Path will be shut down at noon as well.

A few customers at the cigar shack felt that the whole hurricane thing was merely hype. I felt that ever since Katrina, almost 6 years to the week- big cities certainly don’t want to be caught short.

I got to the cigar shack, early again and about a half hour after that the New York Times reported the MTA plans. I explained to Calvin who seemed relatively nonplussed. After phoning the headquarters of cigar shack he announced that the shack would be closed for the weekend.

That was cleared with the landlord of course. The landlord of the cigar shack is a major player in the shady & expensive real estate game in Manhattan. After the phone call I went to lunch, enjoyed a nice cigar and read a poorly written book about the making of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy.

I can tell it’s poorly written from the first page which listed John Lennon’s birthday as October 8. Any Beatle fan will tell you that John was born on the 9th. Besides the glaring errors I was entertained somewhat. It’s a good beach read and works just as well on a bench near Central Park.

The week started with an earthquake and is ending with a hurricane. When I came back from lunch, it was Thomas’ turn to go to lunch. Everything seemed OK, but when Thomas came back from lunch Calvin started to nitpick on a few things. Looking at August 22 in the book, he noticed that I did not write the sales total.

It’s not that big a deal but to Calvin it was a slippery slope. Normally I would have corrected it the next day but Thomas closed the shop the next night and it was missing. It could easily be found with a simple check on the computer.

It was odd though since Calvin noticed those mistakes but it did not seem like Calvin paid any attention at all to Bradley’s constant fuck ups. Perhaps Calvin is appreciating the guy who’s face turned beet red when it was found out that Marcus was leaving and Calvin assuming the role of manager.

I didn’t see Bradley’s face when that was announced in May but Calvin sure did and talked to me about it afterwards. Red faces are easily forgotten in Calvin’s world and I listened to him as he slurred his words.

So Thomas and I were on the shit list for the night. I spoke to Calvin afterwards and asked him if he was alright and he just started going off on Thomas to me. I was about to text Thomas to look busy but there was no need. Thomas walked into Calvin’s line of sight and immediately put him to work doing menial tasks fora few minutes.

I myself was busy with customers at the time, racking up sale after sale, eventually surpassing both Thomas and Calvin’s numbers combined. I was happy with those numbers and was tempted to do a line with a regular customer who was discreetly sniffing powders in the man cave. I was invited to but decided against it since I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. Just another under performing day I guess.

Now I am home, happy to be here. Two days off, one day on and now two days off again. Bill’s play was scheduled to close on Sunday, but all weekend shows for the Fringe Festival have been canceled. Should be an interesting weekend for most people.

I Apologize

So tired. It’s been a long day. Almost an entire 10 hours on my feet. It started out slowly this morning no jobs to send out resumes to. Rainier Castillo at Office Team never responds to my emails. Nothing much happening with postings online.

Joe Padilla, a customer at the cigar shack told me in November that his company bought Robert Half which owns Office Team and that he could help me get a job through him. And also Rainier Castillo was fired.

It turns out Rainier Castillo was not fired and Joe Padilla fabricated his story for some reason. I should have known better. I heard that Joe Padilla was a former coke dealer and I suppose I should have known that coke dealers, whether active or retired really can’t be trusted.

I got myself together this morning after breakfast and coffee and a lack of job postings and headed out for the bus. No usual phone call to Bill, things are a bit frosty lately between us for the past 24 hours. He’s not home right now and I have no idea where he is. And I am fine not knowing.

I am enjoying this time alone after dealing with customers all day. Don’t really feel like talking anyhow. Writing of course is something I also don’t feel like doing, but here I am, doing just that. An uneventful bus ride on a bus with a bicycle rack in front of the bus.

I had seen them in San Francisco years ago and thought it was good and so far I’ve seen a few buses from NJ Transit with them. The other day when I had to take the Path train since the buses weren’t running I saw one of those buses at the Hoboken terminal.

Bill insisted that those buses are not permitted to drive into the Port Authority bus terminal with the bicycle racks in the front of the bus but here I was again, riding one of those buses into the bus terminal.

I made it to the cigar shop at the usual time, early and saw Calvin behind the counter. It was first his first day back from a few days off. Marcus was floating around somewhere as was Thomas the new guy they are hiring.

Marcus left as did Thomas, leaving me & Calvin to run the shop. I took a Xanax at noon. Just didn’t want to deal with any nerves or jitters and felt it would smooth out the day. I was told that my sales for February were outstanding, both Marcus and Calvin were impressed.

Also had to sign a memo with a warning in the details about my taking for granted that I would always be closing the store on weekends. Apparently it wasn’t the drunken mistake made when someone was drinking and putting assigned hours in the wrong cell on the Excel spreadsheet.

Once again I did not get much of a chance to have lunch. Interruptions and stuck inside the cigar shop for basically 10 hours kept me on the sales floor. Marcus returned to teach his sommelier class and Calvin left at his appointed hour.

No one came into the cigar shop for about 90 minutes, then my friend my friend Bruce showed up a few minutes before closing, as did someone else who was buying cigars for a golf outing. Bruce’s timing was off. I really didn’t have time to chat and wanted to get the hell out of there.

It’s my Friday since I actually have off 2 days in a row. I’m too tired to be excited about it. I hopped on a train to the bus terminal and made it to the gate when I looked over at the next gate and there was Hyman Gross.

I decided not to get on the bus that was loading and walked over to Hyman and waited for his bus with him. I wasn’t too communicative.

He was asking about Octavia, a bus driver friend of Hyman’s and Bill. She’s the one who mentioned that Hyman’s absence in December might have been the result of Hyman attempting to take his own life, saying that it wasn’t the first time he tried it.

I think Octavia thrives on drama, both her own and other people like Hyman. I got off at Hyman’s stop a few seconds after he got off, not wanting him to fall and to make sure he got to his building alright. I walked him to his building and ran up the stairs to get his mail.

Then after saying good night to Hyman walked home to Park Avenue, feeling quite light headed for some reason. And now I am home, and quite happy to be home alone.

I think I’ve exhausted the Frank Sinatra song list and now I am using songs done by Elvis Presley. I don’t anyone has noticed or will notice.

I’ll Never Smile Again

No three day weekend here. For some it was President’s Day weekend and today being a Monday made for a federal holiday. Oh how I remember those 3 day weekends. It isn’t easy trying to avoid looking at the past but sometimes it pops up and I have to wonder where did I go wrong?

Well its official, Putnam Lovell is no more, they’ve been sold off by Jeffries, the company that snapped up a few former employees and friends, especially dear Brenda, such a sweetie and a dedicated worker. She sent me an email and I called her a few days later and left a voice mail but I haven’t heard from her since.

Also thought about Wolff Olins. How I despised that place and now I look back and think it wasn’t so bad. I’m sure things might be different if I did not find the memo describing my job as needing 2 people to do it. They knew it and had no problem running me into the ground.

I was so cut off from most everyone that I had no real connection to anyone. And the ones I was connected to had left soon after I did.

Yesterday I worked at the cigar shack and the Bradley was in good form. He didn’t pick up the fact that I quoted him almost word for word before I left on Saturday, asking him if he was mad at me, as if that would be the reason that he wasn’t talking to me.

Yesterday he talked and was relatively amusing. Today I woke up to find that it had snowed overnight. That didn’t make me very happy, in fact I said ‘Fuck’. It would have been nice to be off today but that’s not how it works. I got out of bed and released some water and then decided to go back to bed with the TV on, so I would drift off too far.

Then I got out of bed a little before 9:00, one less thing I had to do was done. Made coffee, poured cereal and showered. I was dressed and out on the street after 10:00, walking up to the bus stop to catch the 10:30 bus. It did not arrive.

I called Bill and he checked the schedule, everything should have been running on time. I used the ‘My Bus’ program on my cellphone and that told me there would be a bus at 10:50. At 11:00 I headed to the Path train.

The train was crowded with other bus riders, all unhappy from having to go to work on a federal holiday as well as having to stand for the ride into the city. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t take the Path train. I like to sit as I commute.

I could have caught the B or D train when I was finally in the city but opted for the N or the R train. I’m more comfortable with those trains, even though that drops me off about 2 blocks from the cigar shack, where the B or D train would drop me off right outside the shack.

I called Bill once I was headed to the shack and he couldn’t understand why I would take the N or the R. I was frustrated, he was confused and it started to get heated. It cooled off considerably once I called him back a few minutes later.

Overall I was a half hour late, me ‘Mister I Hate Being Late’. The day went well, the Bradley was OK to work with, actually funny again. Of course that could all change tomorrow, which isn’t here yet.

I did meet Larry Gatlin today. He’s a country singer from the Gatlin Brothers and I also met Jane Wenner, former wife of Jann Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone. Both of them were quite nice.

It wasn’t so bad a day.

Here Today

Well it’s been a very good day. I hope it’s been a very good day for you as well. Woke up to find Bill traversed around Hoboken getting bagels and some brownies and also the newspaper. A lovely way to start off a Thanksgiving day.

I puttered around the apartment, having a few hours to get ready to go. Bill and I were going to Pine Bush NY to his cousin Hiram and Hiram’s wife Chris’ house. We went up there last year and had a good time and we were both looking forward to a similar time today.

I shaved and got myself ready, deciding to wear a suit and tie since I haven’t had many opportunities to get dressed up. Soon enough it was time to go. I hoped that we would see Julio and Alexander while walking through Church Square Park since Julio phoned from there a little bit earlier, but he had a full schedule, having to go to the market and then to North Bergen to pick up his mother for a dinner in Hoboken.

Bill, the master planner had it all figured out, having bought tickets yesterday enabled an easy walk to the train station. Bill was worried it would be like it was last year when we left from Grand Central Station.

That was a hassle since there were a ton of people leaving the city and getting to Grand Central was a pain in the ass since I needed to cross the street during the big Thanksgiving parade and the only way to do that was to use my Metro Card and go through the turnstile, walk past the subway booth and then climb the stairs out not using the subway at all.

No it wasn’t going to be like that since we were avoiding the city altogether. It turned out to be a beautiful day after all, enough so that we dilly dallied a bit.

As expected the train station wasn’t crowded at all and we found some good seats, Bill getting the window. About 2 hours later we got off the train in Middletown, which is the stop before Otisville where Pedro & Connie live.

We were picked up and on our way past horse farms and cows grazing in Pastures. We weren’t in Hoboken anymore. Bill’s cousin Hiram was outside holding court and I hung outside for a while taking in the scenery of the mountains in the background.

I remarked that it was a beautiful sight and another guest said it was broken. I asked him what he meant and he quoted from the book of Romans, some nonsense about how the Garden of Eden would be restored once Jesus would come back from wherever it was he’s been hiding for 2000 years.

I pegged him as someone to avoid and avoid him I did. Obviously someone who wears his religion on his sleeve and probably a supported of the recent Manhattan Doctrine, where christianists have vowed to disobey the law where it involves the rights and protections of LGBT people, relating to a higher power, somewhere in a cloud or orbiting the earth in a satellite.

So this guy while he turned out to be OK I was wary being around him. Dinner was wonderful, Chris really outdid herself on the turkey and all the side dishes and pies. A really nice time. Time flew by, we had to catch a 6:00 train so all in all we were there about four hours.

It was a close call, if we missed that train which ran express we would have to wait until 9:00 to catch the next train and that wasn’t express. Hiram’s son in law Aarick (pronounced Eric) got to the station where the train was about to leave.

A long nap for Bill and a 5 minute nap for me after reading the October 25 issue of the New Yorker. I am so behind on the New Yorker. Bill and I enjoyed some cigars, walking through the mostly deserted streets of Hoboken.

Now we sit, eating brownies and watching the Paul McCartney Live at Citi Field special on the telly. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving like we did, luv.

11.26.09 Thanksgiving 002

11.26.09 Thanksgiving 004

11.26.09 Thanksgiving 009

The 'broken' landscape...idiot.

The 'broken' landscape...idiot.

11.26.09 Thanksgiving 012

'Ahh I have family in Cornwall...'

'Ahh I have family in Cornwall...'

I’m Telling You Now

Well today has been an off day. Started out that way, me being out of step with just about everyone. Nothing bad mind you. Just unable to get it together throughout the day. It started off with Love Me Do by the Beatles on the radio. Not a bad track to wake up to.

I puttered around, showered. Not enough milk for cereal but enough for coffee so I went out caffeinated but still fasting. Not too much of a problem, there’s plenty of places to get some food in Manhattan and I do know some cheap spots.

Made it to the office, nothing going on. I just keep rearranging the deck chairs. Right now, I’m pretty beat. Had some bourbon and a cigar with Steve a former co-worker. It was good seeing him.

Last week we basically had the cigar lounge to ourselves, this week it was crowded with men in suits smoking cigars. I of course was not suited, it being a Friday I went casual. Strangely enough after dressing casual or even more laid back than that, I can’t do casual anymore.

It’s more like sloppy than anything. I prefer the suit and tie. We finished the bourbon in Steve’s flask around the same time we finished our cigars. We plan to meet every Friday for cigars and booze. I walked back to the office, feeling good but still out of step.

A nap would reset my body clock but I couldn’t do that until I got home. I left the office around 3:30, caught the bus and did some food shopping at the supermarket. I was planning on going out to McSwells to see Jeff from Empire Coffee with his band, The Poconos and also see Roda but the way I’m feeling now, the way I’ve been feeling all day and the fact that it’s very cold out, makes me want to just stay at home.

Plus there is Chaz’ party tomorrow and that’s supposed to be in the middle of a snow storm. Hearing about the snow storm approaching made me think of 2 snow storms. One was back in 1970’s. It snowed enough that my father didn’t go to work and I had no school.

I mainly recall the 2 of us walking to the A&P which was usually a 20 minute walk but the snow made it an hour long jaunt.

The other time was in 2000 when Bill and I started going out. I was working at Farfetched and living in Weehawken. It was snowing quite heavily and enough so that NJ Transit ceased operations on everything.

Bill had told me about NJ Transit shutting down, but I wasn’t so sure. We had just started going out you see, and I didn’t know how in tune he was with bus schedules and information.

I was in the city and needed to get home somehow. No one was shopping so I got the go ahead to close the store and go home. I wound up taking the train to Herald Square and catching the Path train to Hoboken.

From there I walked up the middle of Washington Street since there wasn’t any traffic at 2:00 in the afternoon. I couldn’t see past a block ahead and anyway I was walking directly into the storm and my glasses had caked with snow and ice. All I could do was look at my feet as I trudged through the snow, telling people waiting for the bus that there was no bus service at all.

It took me about 2.5 hours to get from the Path train to Jane Street. By the time I got home I was plenty tired. Now I’m just tired and there’s no snow.

Who knows? Maybe I’ll make it up there after all. Maybe I won’t. I did give Jeff the heads up yesterday, letting him know that my afternoon would consist of scotch and cigars and he said he understood. Plus I’m generally reluctant to see friends in bands play. If they suck you have to lie and I find it hard to lie about music.

And I Was a Boy From School

Well it’s Easter and it’s also my niece Meghan’s birthday which to me is more important than mythology. Meghan has also been named Teacher of the Year for Garfield High School which is quite an accomplishment. No bonus, no special parking space, but still a nice citation all around I think. It was a nice day out there in the suburbs and I was glad I could make it since last night I had my doubts. It seems after heading off the bed around midnight last night, awfully tired I came down with a chill. Not a good chill at that, mind you. Just suddenly cold, shivering.

I went into my bedroom intending to dive under the comforter, but I neglected to turn on the heater. So I turned on the heater then stumbled into the kitchen and stood next to the heater I had just turned off yet still warm. I also took my temperature and the thermometer read 98.5. After a few minutes I decided to go back to the bedroom and though still a bit cool in there I went to bed, fully dressed which wasn’t the first time I had done that, but perhaps the first time I had done that sober. As the night wore on and my body temperature became normal I was able to shed the clothes and sleep as normally as I could.

I awoke at 9:00 to the sound of my cellphone ringing. It was Julio who was headed out to get bagels. That was a nice switch and soon he was knocking on my door with bagels and the newspapers. He did have a good laugh as I opened the door in my underwear and I was glad to be able to make him laugh despite my of shortcomings as it were. After a nice breakfast and the reading of the news I checked the schedules and planned my trip out to Garfield. I was on a train at 2:25 after being gouged by the Natural Plus flowers across from Hoboken City Hall. Usually a bouquet of flowers is about $8.00 or $9.00 but today they were $12.99 and up. Whereas I balked a few years ago at this floral skulduggery, this year I kept my mouth shut and paid the price.

On the train it was fairly empty, me and a few people including three people who I was reminded of the characters in Y Tu Mama, Tambien. Just 2 guys and a slight older woman out for a bike ride, leaving Hoboken and going to Garfield. We didn’t chat but were courteous to each other, they allowed me off the train before disembarking avec bicycles. My niece Corinne picked me and and soon we were at the Garfield house. Frank was watching TV, Elaine puttering about the kitchen cooking up ziti and a nice leg of lamb with string beans and baked potatoes. Soon Meghan and Rob joined us and we sat for a very nice meal.

Frank was ok talking wise, mentioning that sometimes he goes off on tangents which we both used to do but where we used to be able to get back to the original point, sometimes he has great difficulty doing so. I asked him that if I see him going off like that would he want me to rein him in and he said he would appreciate it if I did. I’m sure it’s going to go well, since I’ve been doing it for most of my life. After dialing a call to Annemarie in California, the Hillsdale contingent of the family arrived for some cake for Meghan’s birthday. Got a ride home from Corinne and Elaine and now I’m here watching a Hot Chip dvd with Juan who is up for Easter to see his family, headed back down to college later. And that’s the name of that tune.


Alex P. Kitten

Where’s my CAKE???