Wednesday, December 28, 2005

It's Okay! I'm From Brooklyn!

The word of the day today is "pain", but we'll get to that in a moment. This morning I woke up in Brooklyn and took the subway to work for the first time since last Monday, December 19th.

This is a story about Cupcake's adventures with Amtrak, but unlike this story about Amtrak Adventures, this story takes place before I ever made it onto the train. You see, yesterday I had a ticket for the 12:42pm train from Kingston to Penn Station. I was a little late packing and we had to switch cars with Sweetie, so my dad dropped me off at the station at about 12:32. I went inside to pick up my one-way ticket from the automated machine and I noticed that the ticket window was closed. Now, southbound trains leave from Track 1 which is across from the station side. To get there, there is an overpass you have to get over. I went out on the tracks, and my train was already there! I went to the overpass and took the elevator up. These are the slowest goddamn elevators in the history of the world. I got out, ran across the overpass and hit the button for the down elevator. It was taking too long, so I dediced to run down the stairs with my huge overpacked suitcase. When I was about three steps from the bottom, the train pulled away. "No! Noooooo!" I yelled. Some profanity may have been let loose as well. People on the platform who had just put their loved ones on a train looked at me passingly and went on their way. So I headed back across the overpass and into the station. I told the ticket agent I had just missed the train, so he issued me a new ticket for the 2:42pm train.

I called my Dad, who must have been full of Christmas spirit, because he offered to come pick me up. He was on his way to have lunch with my Godfather's daughter and he brought me along. She asked, "How do two adults miss a train?" and my father and I began pointing fingers at each other. Anyway, it was a quick lunch because we wanted to get back to the train station with plenty of time. Of course, we left late and got stuck behind a school bus and such. We were approaching the station at 2:32pm. Oh no, not again.

I said to my father, instead of pulling into the station, drive into the lumber yard that abuts the tracks on the opposite side. Then I can be at Track 1 and not have to deal with the overpass. We pulled into the lumberyard, and drove around back no problem. I hopped out and grabbed my luggage. The problem was, there was a fence around the tracks and the one gate that opened onto the platform was padlocked, presumably for security reasons. Oh hell no, I am not missing this train. So I approached the fence. There were about 10 people waiting around in that area. I started rattling the gate, hoping the lock would give. People began looking at me, I think someone asked "What are you going to do?". A cute guy was watching me. Addressing him I asked, "Excuse me? I'm going to climb over the fence."

"Want a hand?" he asked.

"Yeah, that would be great." I handed my ginormous suitcase over to him and then my shoulder bag. I took off the coat, and now came the moment of truth. For those of you who don't know me, I am 4'11'' on a good day. A four and a half foot fence presents a major challenge to me. This is not a chainlink fence we're talking about here, more like an wrought iron fence, with spikes on top. Also, I have no physical strength at all. However, I am incredibly stubborn and stupid. I was wearing jeans, a sweater and black leather high heeled boots.

I said to Cute Guy, "I'm sorry, but I just missed the 12:42 train and I will not miss this train." I stepped on the bottom of the fence and swung my leg over. I was now impaling my crotch on the spikes. The problem was, I couldn't see any way to get over. I made a couple of attempts. Everyone was staring at me. "Oh Good," I told Cute Guy. "I'm so glad the whole train is watching. "

"Here, lean on me," said CuteGuy. I would like to point out that all the women were staring at me but the guys were quite helpful. I couldn't really see how leaning on CuteGuy was going to help me, and, hell, he was cute and I was embarassed. "Don't swing your leg over, put your foot up on the top of the fence," coached Cute Guy. Of course, the high heel of my boot got stuck and I almost fell face first onto the pavement. I was still on the wrong side of the fence and the loudspeakers started announcing, "Train approaching! Please stand behind the yellow line. Train approaching!" I was looking around for the station master, I was scared he would yell at me and have me arrested, but also hoping he could unlock the gate. I asked CuteGuy again, "What do I do??"

"I don't know, but I suggess you start climbing."

Another guy got involved. "Here, come over here, you can stand on this pipe." I ran down to where he was standing. "I don't want to break anything," I said, looking skeptically around. (Cupcake is not a small girl). "Don't worry about that, worry about not hurting yourself," said nice guy #2. There was a basket that raises and lowers wheelchairs on the other side of the fence. "Do you think I can land in that basket?" I asked.

"Just be careful!" Nice Guy #2 was urging me to go slow, but I was ready to be on the other side of the fence. I climbed up on a pipe, held onto the pillar on got back on the fence. Then I somehow landed in the handicapped basket and slipped under the bar to get out.

There may have been applause when I made my triumphant descent. "It's okay!" I announced. "I'm from Brooklyn. I just survived a transit strike and I am not missing this train." I thanked the guys who helped me and told the people who clapped and spotted me, "You guys are the best train ever." I turned to my father's car, which was still sitting there. "My father must be so proud!" I yelled then waved to him and blew him a kiss. "Your father was there the whole time and he didn't get out and help you?" asked a woman.

Once I got on the train, it was apparent I had really banged myself up and that my thighs and ass would soon be covered in bruises. I hurt already. I was on the train 10 minutes when I got a call from my Dad. I answered the phone and all I heard was his laughing. "Did you get over the fence? Could you get over the fence? Jesus God. Another great idea you had." My father then told me that he wanted to drive away, because he didn't want anyone to know we were related, but he was laughing too hard to drive. "I bet that looked pretty bad," I said.

"You should have seen the view from the back! Jesus Christ, that was a view that only a parent could love." Then he asked me if anything embarassed me anymore. I said, "I was embarassed for the first 30 seconds, but once I committed to going over the fence, it all fell away." My father and I were laughing hysterically and he told me that watching me trying to climb that fence was "one for the ages."

When the train was about 10 minutes outside of Penn, Garrett called me. "Who would have thought it Nancy?"

"Who would have thought what, G?"

"Who would have thought that out of the three of us, SmartyPants would be the first to get engaged?"

"What??!!" I yelled.

"Didn't you read your email this morning?"

"No, I didn't get to check it this morning."

"Nancy, this whole Internet thing only works if you check it!"

"Well, we knew it wasn't going to be me."

"Okay, let me rephrase that. Who would have thought that SmartyPants would get engaged before me?!?"

Yep, SmartyPants, one of my best friends announced her engagement to her boyfriend. I'm warning you all right now, expect me to just start spontaneously crying from now through ... okay, just expect me to cry a lot. These tears should be interpreted as tears of happiness. SmartyPants, if you're reading this, Congratulations! I can't wait to see you in January!


Cupcake said...

It's been almost two days and the bruises I have all up the backs of my legs are spectacular. Don't worry- it only hurts to sit. I look like I've been worked over with a sack of oranges a la Anjelica Huston in The Grifters

Muk said...

You are completely insane. Great post.