Thursday, December 22, 2005

Transit Strike Day Two

Wednesday Morning, second day of the transit strikes. Once again, I set off wearing warm clothes and trotted down 11th Avenue. I left bit later than usual cos I was 1)sore and 2) tired - I paged my superiors notifying them that I'd be half an hour late.

As I approached the MTA bus depot in the upper 30s, I spotted a crowd of strikers - a good couple dozen union members or so. They were marching around in a circle, few carrying signs and some chanting something. Few policemen were standing nearby on hand to assist if a grouchy pedestrian came by and try to start something stupid. Half of my face was concealed from the cold so it passed somewhat as a grimace when I tried to make eye contact and a slight smile to assure them that they're not hated on my book. Most of them refused to look at me, staring straight ahead, marching away pretending I did not exist. Two caught my eye and smiled at me in thanks. I think.

When I hit 33rd street, I was starting to enjoy the lovely morning walk.. It didn't seem so bad. The soreness in my legs eased up some now that I was "exercising". A minivan pulled up beside me and I glanced at it hopefully, a cute driver. No. It was a suburban soccer mom. "Do you need a ride? Where are you going?" she beckoned for me to hop in. Why not? Maybe we'll become lifelong friends.

Once I got in, I wasn't sure if she was one of those chatty drivers (the Irish cab drivers - boy do they chat! Especially if their ears prick up at the slightest American accent) so I used my speech therapy trained voice and told her that I am hard of hearing. She seemed to take it okay and relaxed some more around me. She didn't mouth words or talk loudly. The driver spoke clearly and steadily. I told her I was going to the West Village and she was on her way out to New Jersey. Perfect. We zoomed down the West End and I hopped off at the nearest destination to work. 10 minutes drive as opposed to hour and half walk. She was very nice and we cordially wished each other a very happy holiday.

I got into work an hour early thanks to the ride. Some staffers came in at 4 or 5 am to beat the city regulated time for 4 people per car rule. Even if I had a car, living in the other boroughs I would still NOT come in that early. I convinced Surdus to meet me at a bar after work for a pint of beer to warm up before we hoofed home. The bar was established in 1817 by the river so an excellent bar/restaurant atmosphere to it, especially the framed newspaper clippings of steamers and clippers from days of yore. It was 5 pm ( let out early again for the long nonsubway commute home). Surdus was kind enough to show me the nearest PATH stop - it ain't NYC transit but helped cut down walking time. The PATH isn't a nightmare like Penn and Grand Central. A typical subway scene if you will which happened today in a New Jersey commuter line. I got off at the last stop, 33rd street near Herald Square. I spotted Brookstone and I was able to complete the last shopping item. Whee! I then proceeded to walk 25 blocks home. Not bad. More variety.


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