Monday, October 8, 2012

Escape From New York

This weekend I went with three of the funniest people I know to New York City. It was fantabulous. We saw the sights, window shopped, and stepped on fake mustaches.

Yes. An actual fake mustache. It stuck so well to the shoe that we wondered how in the world it ever fell off of someone's face. There is a very disappointed upper lip somewhere in Manhattan. 

But as you know, all good things must come to an end. We hailed a taxi, rode back to our hotel, un-checked  our bags, got back in the taxi and asked to be taken to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. And that is where things started to go downhill. 

What Could Possibly Go Wrong (a statement, not a question): 

1. A Columbus Day Parade breaks out going down 5th Avenue. The Avenue that separates you from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

2. Your cabby dumps you out as close as he can, but you're still a few blocks away with minimal baggage to haul. 

3. It's raining. (Yay!) 

4. You have to wait in the rain with your bags to cross the parade. (Wave at the grumpy tourists, kids!) 

5. You walk to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

6. You walk to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

7. Still walking to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

8. Where the heck is the Port Authority Bus Terminal? Your friend stops to ask a random stranger. While she's getting an answer, a bus moves and you spot the Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

I think it's important to stop this particular list here and begin a new one called:
 "Reasons Why I Hate The Port Authority Bus Terminal and Am Pretty Sure It Was Designed By Hitler"

1. The doors barely open. They weigh 1,000lbs. They open just enough to wedge yourself in. Don't even bother trying to hold it open for the guy behind you, you'll get a hernia.

2. It's run by phantom employees. You walk inside and see a sign that says "Information" with an arrow pointing to the right. So you turn right. You find nothing. No kiosk, no information booth, no map that says YOU ARE HERE. You can't find anyone to ask. You expect to at least see a sign saying "HA HA, Just Kidding! No Information Here! Keep Looking!" There is no one around but the voice on the loud speaker that announces things quickly in a muffled voice with an accent. It would be impossible for anyone on this planet to know what they are saying.  

3. You give up finding information and try to find a rest room.  The sign that would normally say "You Are Here" lists restrooms but doesn't tell you where you are so you can't find them anyhow. You're doomed to wander. Eventually you blunder upon a restroom on your own.

4. There is no master list centrally located to tell you what buses go to which gates. This is not a user friendly terminal. You try to figure out what gate you are to go to in order to catch your bus. But ha ha! You can't because there are no real life employees ANYWHERE to ask. (They're all out watching the Columbus Day Parade apparently.) You walk from area to area reading the bus schedules, trying in vain to find the one you need. There is no where to tell you where to go. There is no one to ask. 

5. This place gives you false hope of escaping. You think you've found it. You check your watch and see that the bus (which leaves every half hour) is due to leave in three minutes. You race up the stairs, screaming at your companions to RUN RUN!! One of your companions is in line trading in her winning lotto ticket. You decide to cut and run. Whoever is not on the bus is going to have to take the next one. You've been wondering around in this purgatory for 45 minutes and you're really really sick of it. Plus you're pregnant and haven't eaten since 8:30am and it is 1:40pm. Sweaty and flustered you arrive at the gate. Whew! Close one! Then you look through the glass window and see the bus you wanted to be on pulling away from the other side of the terminal. CURSE YOU, VILE PORT AUTHORITY BUS TERMINAL!!! 

6. Here at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, you are helped and supported solely by non-employees/fellow travelers.  A bystander sees that you are in need of a Xanax and consoles you with the fact that the gate you are at will indeed take you where you want to go. More waiting. As you loudly lament your dissatisfaction about the whole situation, a new guy shows up behind you and asks if you remembered to get a ticket.  

7. A TICKET??!!! #$@!%&!!!  After the nuclear mushroom cloud dissipates from the area where you are standing, he tells you that you have to go back downstairs to get a ticket from a ticket dispenser thingy. In an act of desperation, two of you stand guard over the luggage while the other two go scampering after tickets. Count down to lift off is 9 minutes. This truly is purgatory as Webster defines it: A place to do temporary punishment or suffering. It feels more permanent than temporary and I'm definitely suffering. 

8. Time is weird in purgatory. When you want it to go fast, it goes slow, and when you need it to go slow, it speeds up. Four minutes pass, then five. Your red, angry, frustrated eyes keep watching the clock.Your companions come through and show up with four tickets. They are to the correct destination. You are pretty sure you are still standing at the correct place but you're not 100% because the tickets don't even tell you what gate you should be at - there is no way to crack this gate code. The bus comes and you get on. And it is the correct bus. 

13. But the bus ride lasts over an hour. 

I hate the Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

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