Mohammed: *leans over to me* This one, she's a little...
Me: *cracks up* Yeah, I'm sorry. Full fare for all the bullshit.
The following things helped me survive this trip:
>Coffee. In gallons. From every available source.
>O&A. Drew, I owe you my life, or rather, Barbie owes you hers. The only thing that kept me from killing someone Saturday night was the mental sound clip of Opie losing his shit on Stalker Patti. SHUUUUUUUUUUT UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP. I am going to have O&A quotes all over the place now. They were all I listened to on the bus.
>T. You are sane. This is amazingly good. Thank you thank you thank you thank you I can't even say how much I owe you for actually having that crap reception, half in tears conversation with me Sunday "morning." My first meeting with you deserves more coherency than this report. I'm sorry.
>Getting compared to the Crane College Choir.
So. The post I left the other night about not getting ahold of anyone about the trip had me worried, but the funniest thing happened on the bus even before we left. I'm talking a little with the girl I'm sitting next to and the student head of the trip is walking up and down the aisle asking if anyone's missing. The girl sitting behind us says no, but does Bobby know the girl she's staying with, Sara mylastname? I turn around and it's my temporary housemate. Yay, wonderful, we chat a little about each other and where we're staying--turns out she hadn't had any luck getting ahold of the woman we were staying with so neither of us knew what was going on--and then the bus ride started, she fell asleep, I laughed till I cried at "Razor Rollerboard Scooter" featuring Jim Breuer, all was well. In fact, things didn't really get bad until Saturday night. The housemate, by the way, will be known for the duration of these trip reports as Barbie. She has an LJ, so I'm going to try to protect her, even though all I really want to do is punch her right in the head.
Anyway. We spent the first part of Saturday in midtown with onlyonechoice, who is delightful and seriously saved me from losing my mind this weekend. T, you rock. But, in any case. Due to the fact that we ended up on a later train than originally planned, we were pretty late getting into the city to meet T. I called her, she knew about this, all should have been well. We get off the train in Grand Central and Barbie asks where we're meeting T. I know she has a bad ankle so I told her, and Barbie, we'd walk to Penn Station to meet her. Upon hearing where Penn Station was, Barbie loses her shit. T, I didn't tell you this when I called because she was with me, but she was bitching up a storm and I wanted to kill her. She was already on my hit list because she did an incredibly stupid thing on Friday which I'll post about tomorrow because that story deserves less venom and more wit than I have right now, but suffice it to say, this whole bitching thing did not go over well. Especially considering that Penn is not that far from GC. It's like, eleven short blocks and I think four long? I don't even know, but I've walked it before and it's not far and I was willing to do it and fuck Barbie, but I ended up, as we turned down... I think she insisted we turn at 32nd or something, but I ended up calling T and asking her to meet us between, which she graciously, graciously did. Yay, T's there, hugs were had and a brief discussion was made of food. Barbie'd said on Friday that she wanted New York style pizza, so we set off.
We ended up, however, at Sbarro's, because Barbie didn't want to walk--I was getting vibes, and the bitching from earlier reminded me--and I was hoping T'd be able to save her ankle a little. It's not New York style, I know it's not, but I sort of mostly didn't care. We eat, the meal is fairly uneventful--T catches me up on WX stuff, we chat, etc.--and we set off, chatting as we walk about fandom stuff, since this is inevitably where gametalk seems to lead. In any case, since no one has any particular plans aside from T who has this insane notion of buying me DVDs in the Virgin megastore (I now own Gossip thanks to her *mwah* and I bought BDS for myself. One step closer to watching it!) we decide to start with the Toys R' Us store. I'm a big toy store fan but I couldn't remember where FAO was, so this worked.
We wandered a little, looked at stuffed animals, the Build-A-Bear knockoff section, things like that but the main attraction was the Ferris Wheel. I have a picture from the Ferris Wheel which I will scan in later, also courtesy of T. It's the three of us, but it may be cropped in the final scan.
GAH, I want to do justice to all of this, but I'm literally getting nauseous from exhaustion, so list for now:
We go to the Virgin Megastore and spend waaaaaaaaay too long standing around while Barbie hunts for Happy Gilmore.
We part from T and Barbie and I go back to Chinatown, where she willfully repeats the stupid thing done on Friday and shops even more, ending up with bags and bags of crap.
We try to take the subway from Canal St. to Pacific Ave. in Brooklyn, but the lines are all fucked up and I get to spend like, an hour listening to Barbie bitch about literally every aspect of the subway ride, including the bird crap on the outside of the subway cars, the state of the stations, our fellow passengers and the fact that she has to climb stairs to get out of the station. Woe.
We find my father and attempt to find the really good little restaurant we went to Thursday night. I get turned around and we don't find it. Barbie is astonishingly unhelpful even though she was with me when we found it last time. We end up eating at the cafe in the theater we were performing in. My father buys dinner. He is a saint.
Performance is amazing, despite two thirds of the choir dozing through the third movement. It's a freaking lullabye. Forget it.
We go back into the city. Here's where shit gets interesting, OK. Now, I've been listening to Barbie talk to some guys on the bus (school-provided bus full of choir members since it's free and guaranteed not to require three transfers >_<) on the way back in. They're all going out tonight. I can see she really, really, really wants to go out and get wasted with them. I'd've let her if there was any way I could, but it's hardly in my power to hook her up with a fake ID and let her loose in the Big Apple. Instead, I inform her that I'm in the mood for ice cream and she's suddenly wanting real food so we go for a wander after reaching GC and checking on train times--ever hour on the 20 till 1:20. Following her "feelings" about which streets to turn down--which were almost infallibly wrong--we do eventually end up in Times Square. It's roughly eleven o'clock at this point, I'd say. She wants something chainy, but the first place we go into has just been taken over by a whole crew in the hip-hop sense of the word and she decides it's too crowded, so we head up to another Friday's. America's Biggest TGIFriday's, so says the window.
We go in, we sit, we eat. The service is slowish but it's OK because there is an absolutely painful date going on next to us which we're laughing about--the guy was a total tool, then he hit on the waitress; we really didn't expect his date to come back from the bathroom when she went--and the waiter seems really eager to do well and new and stuff, so we let it slide. Until it's getting to be 1 o'clock. It was 1:10 when we finally left the restaurant. You can probably see where this is going now, but wait, there's more.
We go down into the 49th Street subway station. Our MetroCards had run out on our last trip out to Brooklyn, so we needed new ones. At this time of night, the machines don't take cards, and neither of us has enough cash. There was this wonderful moment that I'll treasure forever:
Me: *poking at hearing/vision impaired MetroCard machine since it's not yet actively displaying "cash only"*
Barbie: *comes over* They're only taking cash and I don't have any. We should ask if they'll take cards at the window *stares*
Barbie: We should do something *stares*
Me: *sighs since the machine has just informed me it too is cash only* OK, let me ask.
Sho nuff, the woman at the window says she's only taking cash too, and Barbie refuses to pay a three dollar ATM surcharge to get cash for a two dollar MetroCard--among the only sensible statements she made that night--so we're walking back to GC. It's now 1:25 and I know not only are we fucked, we're fucked MIGHTILY, because not only have we missed the last train, but GC closes at 1:30. It's 1:30 when we get there. We walk in, see cops with dogs and security workers. Cue two seperate yet equally important reactions:
Barbie: *wibble* So now what're we gonna do?
Me: *remembering "we" in the subway station**TWANG as something inside me snaps*
We walk around to the 42nd and Park side of the station where the taxi stand is because Barbie feels safer there. I haven't the foggiest why, since she was afraid of the cabbies. If I had to take a stab, I'd say it was because Banana Republic's right there and she was comforted by the presence of familiar retail. The instant we were out of the station, however, she got on her cellphone to her boyfriend back here in Buffalo. He was stoned out of his mind. Please keep in mind that, throughout the entire duration of the following until otherwise stated, she remained on the phone with him. The entire freaking time.
So. We're trying to make a plan. Trains are out and Barbie's big idea is, "Isn't there like, a central depot or something we can go to to check for something else?" Somehow, the fact that Grand Central Station isn't named as such for its physical grandeur must have escaped her, but I say yes, perhaps we could see about something from Penn Station. I inform her, however, that if she wants to go to Penn Station, we're walking.
Barbie: Where's Penn Station?
Me: *boggles* It's where we were walking to meet T this morning...
Barbie: O.O That's too faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar! *whines to boyfriend*
Me: *weeps inwardly for the future of America*
She's trying to get her boyfriend to look up trains/buses/Conestogas out of Penn Station online somewhere while I'm facing facts. Our options are: get a hotel in midtown, pay a cab to drive us back to Croton (33+ miles from the city, fifty minutes on the express train from Grand Central and last stop on the Hudson line before Poughkipsee) or stay in Manhattan till GC opens again. If I'd been alone, or with just about anyone else, I'd've pushed for the last one. Shit, it was only four hours, it wasn't that cold... would've been fine by me. Since I'm not, though, I answer one of the cabbies and attempt to negotiate a ride back to Croton. He, however, has no idea where I want to go. He's got an atlas of the boroughs and is showing me street names in the Bronx. I'm telling him no and can't seem to get him to understand that we're talking, like, out past Ossining. Far. It was a language barrier I think more than anything, but even so, given the limited status of his atlas, I wouldn't have trusted him to take us out there. So I give up on him and go check on Barbie, who is dancing that xenophobic dance of, "OMG there's someone with brown skin near me!" when a cabbie approaches her to see if she needs a lift. I guide her closer to Banana Republic and present her with her options. She doesn't like any of them and is sure that Ken (not his real name, but appropriate) will come through with something. In the meantime, we're approached by another cabbie.
Mohammed: You need a taxi? (By the way, that's his real name, or the one off his license, at least)
Me: *feeling shrewd after dealing with the other guy* Yeah, but I need to know you know how to get there.
Mohammed: Where you going?
Me: Ossining *thinking he might not know Croton*
Mohammed: *looks surprised--two young women need to go to Sing Sing at 2 AM?* I know how to get there.
Me: *phew* Actually, past Ossining... Croton.
Mohammed: Oh, yes... you need train station there, by 9?
Me: *considers hugging a NYC cabbie* No, but if you can get us there, I can give you the address. How much?
So, turns out it's $200. We chat a bit after Barbie O.O's again over the price--she blew every last fucking cent she had in Chinatown earlier and is completely tapped, but I knew that already and am ready to just pay and go--and get down to $150. Barbie, however, is still, still negotiating with Ken about something else. Mind you, I hear at this point from her mouth, "OK baby, so you're home now?" WTF where was he before? Oh lord, he hasn't even started looking. So I ask Mohammed, who assures me there is nothing leaving Penn either. I've had it and our cabbie tells me he's just turned down a guaranteed $200 fare to try to help us out. At this point, I want to just go the hell back to Croton, so I start toward the cab.
Barbie: What're you doing!? *turns phone aside* You're LEAVING me!?!?!?111
Me: No, I'm going to Croton. Come on.
Mohammed: *watches all this*
Now, Barbie's got two bags from Chinatown, her concert shoes, her Coach purse (story forthcoming) and her cell phone out, which means she has no free hands. I, on the other hand, have both hands free by virtue of just having my messenger bag. Guess whose door our cabbie opens?
Mohammed: *leans over to me* This one, she's a little...
Me: *cracks up* Yeah, I'm sorry. Full fare for all the bullshit.
I'd like to state at this point that if anyone wants to leave a comment regarding how much I paid, don't. It's not like I can get any of it back at this point, and it was worth it to shut her up and get back to the house. Now, moving on.
He takes me to a bank, I pull the cash and we're off. Barbie is still on her phone complaining about how she's not comfortable with any of this. I'm thinking, YOU GODDAMN USELESS TWAT BITCH PIECE OF SHIT WHORE CUNT DOUCHEBAG. Nevermind the fact that I'm fucking paying which means I'm in charge and that she's been, all night, about as helpful as a goddamn stomach cramp. Suddenly she's not comfortable. Well, fucking tough. You, Barbie, haven't been in the city since you were ten. You're fucking afraid of any and all non-white people, alleys, subway people regardless of color, homeless people also regardless of color, taxis, public restrooms and just about everything else that makes New York New York. However, you are entitled to your opinion of the current situation, and if you'd like, we can dump you here on the side of 87 and you can figure out your own damn way home while simultaneously avoiding all of those above irrational fears. BITCH.
Eventually, she does hang up her cell phone since Ken's attempts are useless now that we're in the cab and he can't give her a fifth and a bowl to calm her down, so she decides to save her minutes. And begins to pout. I am, meantime, enjoying the view--half moon over the skyline, reflected on the Hudson, changing to trees as we get out of the city. It's nice. I am also not at all speaking to Barbie. She, however, insists on conversing with me.
Barbie: *whispers* Are you cold?
I was glad to be cold. It was keeping me awake which was important since I knew he'd need directions once we hit Croton. Plus, she was uncomfortable, which was just... gravy. Still, five minutes later.
Me: *We're paying him a $200 fare--you tell me* Nope, go for it.
So she does, and he does, and now we have this.
Barbie: *whispers* I'm so tired.
Me: *looks over* So go to sleep.
Barbie: I'm all freaked out, though.
Me: e.e I've slept in cabs before, from JFK to midtown. You're safe, trust me. Go to sleep.
Which she did. Thank whoever. Curled up on the seat and just drifted off. Damn good thing, too, because we got to Croton and I had to start helping him, but there were a whole lot of dark stretches of road with nothing on them which I know would've freaked her out. We finally make it into Croton-on-Hudson, the technical town/village/thing we were staying in. I ask him to slow down so I can check street signs against the tiny piece of map MapQuest provided me with regarding the distance from our host's house to the train station, since naturally Mohammed didn't come in on 9. His idea of slowing down to check meant, apparently, slamming on the brakes at each sign so I could read them. I'd've resented it since he woke Barbie up, but on the other hand between the fact that it was after three and I'd been up since eight and my eyesight is just poor normally when I'm not exhausted, I couldn't read anything, really, so in the end I appreciated it more than resented it. We were, however, finding nothing and I could tell he was starting to get worried about getting out of the town without getting lost.
At that moment, though, we crossed paths with a local taxi. Wonderful! Mohammed stops the car and gets out to ask directions. Barbie's awake and has been, ostensibly, checking street signs for me. Now, however, she's back in her normal, helpful mode. We have seen exactly four streets in Croton. We are not currently on any of those four streets. She, however, looks out the windshield, sees a large white building and blinking yellow light and says:
Barbie: I feel like if we just went up there that'd be it.
OH MY FUCKING LORD. I wanted to strangle her. I could absolutely not fucking fathom that she was once again relying on her feelings. SEEING AS THEY'D DONE US SO MUCH GOOD SO FAR.
So. Mohammed comes back, tells us the other cabbie will take us to Morningside Drive and he does so and our night ends. I ended up tipping Mohammed $20, bringing the grand total for the trip, plus "fare" and tip to the other driver, to $226. Cash. All paid by me. Supposedly she's going to pay me back. I have no idea how since I'm not in choir anymore. I honestly only sort of care. I'm basically just pissed because that really means there's no way I can go to Don Henley and Stevie Nicks if they make a local stop.
I got inside, called T just to literally hear the voice of someone sane (Erin, I damn near called you) then curled up in bed and listened to "Anthony recounts his wedding" till I was laughing again.