Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Okay, I'll be brief. I know this isn't the worst thing that has ever happened to New York, but I thought for those of you living in other parts of the country it might be interesting to see how one copes when all of the public transportation just shuts down.

My normal morning commute takes about 40 minutes door to door. I walk two blocks to the subway station and take the Q Train. If I've got plenty of time, I take the Q to Canal Street, and pick up the 6 up town. If I'm running late I take the Q to Union Square, take the 4/5 to Grand Central then take the 6 one stop.

7:00am Woke up and turned on NPR. When I heard there was a strike, I sent a text message to my boss "Strike! Will try to get a ride in a gypsy cab." Went back to bed hoping that boss would call and say, don't bother coming in.

7:24am Realize Boss has no plans to let me off the hook and that the strike will last at least 2 days. Call the Boss and ask if there is anyway I can stay in the apartment in Midtown we have for the visiting credit analysts; G3 left yesterday because she was terrified in the event of a strike she couldn't get home for Christmas. The Boss says it will be no problem. I tell him I'm anxious about being able to get to Penn Station on Friday so I can go home to RI. He advises that I bring everything I need for Christmas, and make plans to ride home with my brother again. MetroNorth leaves out of Grand Central and it will be an easier walk if the strike is still going on.

7:30am Shit. Begin running around trying to pack as if I won't be back in my apartment until after Christmas. I also know that if I'm dragging a huge suitcase, my chance of being picked up as a hitchhiker is much less. I decide to go with my carry-on. Fortunately, I don't have any presents to bring home; I had them all shipped directly to RI. Trying to pack enough clothes for seven days fills the suitcase. I hope I'm getting socks and underwear this year! There is no room for me to bring any presents home- my suitcase is full.

8:00am I baked all these Christmas cookies last night to bring home and to bring into the office. No room now. I shove them in the freezer along with the cupcakes I baked for Stacey. Sorry Stacey! I try to prepare for leaving my apartment empty for a week. I clean the toilet and take out the trash. I don't have time to do the dishes from baking last night, which are covered with sprinkle sugar. So I spray the perimeter of the kitchen with Raid and hope no roaches sneak in.

8:45am Dressed in jeans and sneakers, I leave my apartment with no plan. It is 22 degrees outside and freezing cold. I plan to just walk to a bus stop and wait for someone to stop; all cars going into Manhattan must have at least four people in them, so carpoolers are trying to fill their vehicles. After one minute, I realized I'm at a bus stop designated for Goldman Sachs employees. I walk to another bus stop- no one is stopping. One creepy looking guy going to the UES slows down, he has no interest in taking me to midtown and I have no interest in jumping in the car with him. I call MuppetLover and EmilyM since they have internet access to see if they can give me any helpful updates. The nearest carpooling center is about 16 blocks away from where I am.

There are tons of people walking, just walking, and I join them. I can't tell if we're going to the Atlantic Center or to the Manhattan bridge. I'm nearly hit by a car, but a woman yells, "Look out!" to me. At the Atlantic Center there is a Long Island Railroad station. There is a line out of the station wrapped halfway around the block. There is do direct train into Manhattan, you have to go to Jamacia then go to Penn Station. That would put me on the West Side, not really where I want to be. The rumour is that the line at Jamacia Station is seven blocks long.

9:50am After getting the run around from some cops who keep directing me "around the corner" to pick up a car, I ignore them. A car slows down, "Going to the city?" yells a woman. I say yes and ask them to open the trunk for my suitcase. The back seat is filled with large Carribean women so I sit up front next to the driver. He's going as far as Canal St., so I need a plan for the rest of the way. The traffic is really mild, once I get in the car. I called the boss, "I just got picked up by a car. He's going as far as Canal Street."

"You're hitchhiking to the office?"

"Well, yeah."

"I wish I could see the video footage of that."

10:10am I get dropped off at Broadway and Canal. The driver doesn't ask for any money, but I slip him a few bucks. The Boss told me if I can get a cab, I can expense it. I start trying to hail one. I meet a guy named Avi also going to Midtown and we convince a driver to take us. The driver is going up Park Avenue. Since drivers today are allowed to pick up multiple fares, there is no meter. Prices are charged by zone and he cannot give out a receipt. Several passengers in the car are balking at the high rates. I'm just so damn happy I don't have to walk the rest of the way in the cold, I don't care. I get dropped on Park Avenue two blocks from my office and arrive at 10:30am. I head straight for the coffee maker.


Tiffany said...

4 people for a carpool?!?! OMG - that's crazy! I'm glad you made it in to work okay.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you got to work ok Nance. Merry Christmas and wish your family the best from me.


VBeta said...

ack, i'm sorry for you guys up there. My friend madamebovary is having similar troubles. But one question: I was surprised by the fact that cleaning the toilet was something that had to be done before leaving for a week. I have never done this. I would, however, use that time to wash the dishes. Is there something I don't know about toilets being left for a week unattended?

Cupcake said...

Beta, no need to add this step to your disaster preparedness plan yet. I happen to have a particularly scary toilet. Black slime seeps into the bowl from the tank. We think this was because my apartment was vacant for a while before I moved in; apparently, toilets need to be used regularly, if the water stands for too long scary things happen.

Also, and this is true, my toilet frequently sponaneously gurlges and bubbles. It's like there's a Ninja Turtle in there trying to escape. I live in fear that one day I will die in a Sewer gas explosion.

Cleaning the toilet frequently and thoroughly is the one concession I make to the porcelin gods.