The 6AM bus came at 6:23…
The new SIM10 stopped twenty-something times before it even caught a glimpse of the Verrazano bridge.
Once we began our slow merge onto the top level, a pitchy lady screamed from outside the bus. Before I could attempt to make out what she was saying through the muffled traffic, the bus driver yelled back, “I’m sick!” And sniffled for the 100th time. The mumbling of words happened again and he grunted “We’re at capacity!” He continued to make his way over to the left lane.
I didn’t hear the driver speak again for the rest of the trip.
My legs and hands shook the entire morning. The AC was on full blast and I wished I hadn’t worn a skirt. I glanced upward and saw the vent. I had no idea the AC was controllable. I’m so not a bus person. I shut the vents and continued my stare out past the traffic-lined bridge.
Now let’s fast-forward past the BQE and tunnel, the bus sure did–Gotta love the HOV lane.
Finally, The City.
Traveling from my town to the Manhattan sure does put a whole new perspective on things.
Everything that was happening around me was so much faster than on TV. Manhattan is actually really pretty, and quite relaxing to be honest. Relaxing in an exhilarating way, not like chamomile tea and a bubble bath.
My building’s lobby had a check-in counter and rows and rows of elevator banks. My floor was high enough to see over most of the other buildings in the Manhattan cluster.
My office/cubicle was perfectly sized to stand in the middle, spread my arms out to each side and still have about foot and a half between my beige-polished-fingernails and the short walls.
My lunch hour was spent walking around trying to figure out where the hell I was exactly. I grabbed a fruit cup at Duane Reade and circled my building a few times.
The courtyard was filled with city-regulars eating lunch and lounging on bright colored lawn chairs. While the city-workers enjoyed their food, there were oversized board games and other random toys scattered around:
Connect Four that has to be played while standing up, Jenga that requires two hands for each move to be made, a Chess board on the floor with pieces bigger than most 2-year-olds, Mancala boards on some of the patio tables, Corn-Hole off to the side, and a bunch of bright hula hoops hanging from a fence.
I sat watching the vivid scene. It felt like I was in the middle of a circus I didn’t buy a ticket for.
The sun was out but partially hidden behind sharp breezes.
A man stood in the middle of the “game zone” with his hands up, chanting jumbled words to the crowd. I figured he was the game trainer.
Yes, there is someone there who trains people on every single game imaginable. I even saw a poster for juggling lessons–more details in a future post.
Just as I considered signing up, a cop and security guard rushed the babbling man off the lot and I realized he wasn’t the ring leader after all.
I grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and thought it would be best to travel back up to the 29th floor.
The rest of the afternoon was spent understanding the layout and where everything was, figuring out what office supplies I needed to doll-up my empty cubicle, and deciding the best way to get my butt back to Staten Island.
I found the SIM10 and had to wait on a line. I cursed. Not at the ten other people before me, not at the fact that the bus wasn’t there, but at my shoes for not cooperating with the brisk walk to the bus stop.
I will be that girl wearing a suit with sneakers.
I chose the first seat my feet allowed me to reach. I turned on my headphones, closed my eyes and let the soothing sounds of my new podcast take over.
We made it back to my side of the water quicker than I had thought.
I couldn’t help but really analyze my borough. Staten Island hadn’t seemed this strange to me before.
I immediately remembered the Women’s Studies class I took in college where we discussed the way Staten Island was portrayed in comparison to Manhattan in Working Girl. Whenever the camera focused on parts of Staten Island, it was always dark, gloomy and quiet. Once Tess haded toward Manhattan on the Ferry, the music changed to a bright tune, she was smiling and the lights were enticing.
I saw my town like my professor did and the only way to describe the feeling I felt would be to imagine playing with an accordion.
Picture someone pulling the edges of Manhattan apart and stretching it to its absolute limit–the overlapped buildings all spaced-out, and the crowded streets now have miles and miles between people.
Then, like an accordion, someone pushes the edges back together and the force creates the buildings to compress and reach higher and higher. The people are thrown back, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and the noise grows louder.
That was what it was like traveling between my tiny island and the Big City!
Stay tuned for more SamWriteNow & the City