(I didn’t get you anything.)
Anyway, fuck, I have neglected my New York City redux visit badly here, haven’t I? I suppose I didn’t do anything exciting in and of itself, though. Besides, you know… be in New York City.
So I stayed in a couple of hostels, recharging my inner introvert, at the Q4 Hotel in Queens and the Jazz on the Park hostel on the Upper West Side. Hostels definitely aren’t for everyone, but Jesus Christ, y’all, <$40 for a clean, sleep-able if not necessarily comfortable bed in New York is hard to argue with.
And I realized I have now stayed in hostels in three boroughs, including the sketchy place in Brooklyn, and at my friend’s in the Bronx. I should have really have made it to Staten Island so I’d’ve visited all five boroughs (while listening to the Beastie Boys, naturally), preferably via the Staten Island Ferry (while reading Howl) to both add another mode of transit I’ve taken and also up my game pretending to be a pretentious New Yorker.
And I’ve also now biked over (in order) the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge! I realize this is relevant to nothing, but I think it’s kind of cool.
Sunday (or whatever) was spent in a thrilling morning at a Queens laundromat, trying to surreptitiously remove my (only) bra to dump it in the washer. Like I’m sure that’s so low on the list of weird things seen at a New York laundromat as to not even register, but still. Not one of my classier moments.
Then again, my current default state is on a bicycle, wearing a dirty backpack with a pair of shoes tied to the straps, so I’m not sure if I’m actually capable of classy moments these days.
Monday, randomly, a really old friend (as in, I’m fairly certain that in my childhood bedroom there is an original copy of The Legend of Zelda cartridge for NES with his name written on it in Sharpie) was in town for something at NYU (I love those random intersections in improbable locations — Shit, hey, you’re in New York? I’m in New York too! How long?), so we met up for drinks at some bar called Lura, and shot the shit for a few hours catching up. (10:00pm: “Hey, late night happy hour, nice — oh, wait, 2-4am… don’t think we’re gonna make it that long, ha-ha.” –> 1:45am: “Shit.”) So that was neat.
After crawling out of bed through a blessedly mild hangover Tuesday I finally headed back up to my friend’s place in the Bronx. Sadly I did not taken almost any pictures on the way up, which was dumb, because holy fuck the Harlem River Drive is as fucking gorgeous in mid-October as you’d imagine.
Scooter was not at all happy to see me, obviously.
As an aside, y’all, there simply are not many nicer ways to wake up than with a Golden Retriever snuggled under your arm and a purring kitty in the room.
Especially such a nice, normal kitty as Kaylee:
Tuesday night I went to meet my friend for Thai food at Joya in Brooklyn. I’m not entirely sure if it was worth the like four fucking hours on the subway between Brooklyn and the Bronx, but it was fucking delicious, so it might have been. Except then I spent the next several hours with this song stuck in my head —
Thank you, Lord, for sending me the fucking F train.
Aaaaaand then Wednesday I met up (finally) with another of my Team Inevitable Innuendo teammates from GISHWHES! She’s responsible for my inclusion on the team (and as such sort of responsible for me doing GISHWHES at all; I was on the fence about registering at all, since I was gonna do it as a solo randomer), and therefore I think it is entirely fair to say that on her shoulders lies the blame for the fact that I now have a tattoo of Pope Francis on my leg that I got for fourteen (former) total strangers on the Internet.
I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse that I’m an atheist.
We ate a long lunch at Tiny’s in Riverdale, and there was food, lots of laughter, and of course, cats.
Twenty pounds of Boomer and little Castiel-kitty.
As another aside, when I was debating doing GISHWHES this year, I kinda rolled my eyes at all the testimonials all, like, “Doing Gish totally changed my life!” And while it didn’t rekindle some overflowing sense of childlike wonder at the world, it did change my perspective in an abstract way somewhat. My participation was limited this year (for one, most of my team was in NYC or Seattle, and I was in Milwaukee, and for two during GISHweek I was still working full-time, desperately trying to dismantle and clean my apartment, and get ready for this fucking trip, which commenced one week from GISH’s end date), but it’s hard to take some things (like yourself) so seriously after you have voluntarily put a picture of yourself, in a bathroom-built ballgown, on the Internet:
But in a less abstract way, I’d’ve had a much different experience here in NYC without my GISH friends (I include my teammate-host’s fiancee and his housemate under that umbrella). Having a place to stay obviously made it more feasible to spend more time here, but aside from that, I can get addicted to isolation, and I can’t deny there’s some romance in just slipping alone around New York City, staying in anonymous hostels with people I’ll never see again. And just being around, like, a dog who was excited to see me again, and trading stories over lunch, and catching up on TV shows in the evening and 3am insomnia conversation with a real live person, instead of with friends thousands of miles away while sitting in a dirty hostel basement — living the life that I’ve lived for the past two months, it helped remind me that I am in fact, maybe, sort of a real person.
So. New York. Yesterday I finally hopped on the bus and crept away from NY in the cold grey one. Well, technically I hopped on my bike, then the NY subway, then the Bolt Bus, then the DC subway, then my feet because fuck hills in the face, and now I am in Alexandria.
With — you guessed it — more cats.
Someday when I’m old, someone’s going to ask me about this trip, and I’m just going to pause thoughtfully and be like, “Well, I met some nice pets.”
Tomorrow circa 10am, Jack — my fellow vagabonding friend — is going to pick me up, and we are going to embark on 800 miles of Interstate 95 South over the weekend. Having grown up in Florida and gone to college in DC, I have done this drive probably over 30 times. It lost its novelty after about two states. But — aside from the fact that it will be great to see Jack, as we haven’t hung out besides occasionally crossing paths in a Daytona Beach bar in probably 15 years — it will also be interesting to trade back and forth about our adventures, both the already-happened over the past few months and the possibilities of the next few months. It seems a fitting homecoming to Daytona, even if I don’t plan to stay there.
It also would appear that two and a half month’s of exposure to 2389224792 miles of germs, sleeping in the same room as probably 50+ people from all over the world, has finally caught up to me, and I am slightly sick.
I haven’t told Jack this yet. I hope he doesn’t read this before we leave, and doesn’t notice my runny nose and scratchy cough until we’re far enough in the journey that he can’t tell me to fuck off. Sorry, dude.
I actually started writing this post because I was thinking about how he and I both ended up in New York, of all places, to decompress. But I got distracted, and this got waaay longer than I expected, so I shall save that for another day.
I hope you all enjoy the cats.