It blows my mind that a commuter bus runs between Scranton and New York City, but it does. Every hour or so, each weekday, and a little less frequently on weekends. Apparently people live all the way over here, and work all the way over there. It’s crazy.
In any case, I caught the 7:20 a.m. bus on Friday, and there were only 23 of us in the beginning. Lots of breathing room, and reasonably comfortable… I broke out my iPod and listened to the previous evening’s Clive Bull Show, and all was right with the world.
As we chugged down the highway, I noticed an old-school Jew across the aisle from me. He was wearing the full religious uniform, and reading from a battered book with Hebrew writing all over it. Hey, whatever.
I closed my eyes and listened to people in London argue about local issues, and hoped I could find everything I was supposed to find during the day. The New York subway system is easy to navigate for people who know it, but not so much for visitors. It always works out, but I’m never 100% sure I’m on the right train, or going in the right direction.
When I opened my eyes again, the Jewish dude was wrapping a long strap around his left arm. WTF? I kept watching, and he then removed a small leather case from his bag, containing what looked like a block of wood on another long strap. He attached this to his head, so the block was situated up-top. Then he started reading frantically from the book, moving his lips and rocking backward and forward. What in the everlovin’?
I admit I know next to nothing about… well, all religions. But what’s the story with the strap-on head block? And also, the leather strap he had wrapped tightly around his left arm? I sincerely have no idea.
We continued, and — once again — everything went circling down the ol’ crap-catcher once we reached the Poconos. We pulled into a bus station there, and it looked like 500 people were waiting to board. Grrr…
Every single seat was filled, including the one to my left. Some guy with an earring in his lip, and ludicrous sideburns, flopped down beside me. I was now mashed against the glass, and feeling the early onset of a claustrophobic event. It was like astronaut training.
Ol’ fishing tackle lips immediately began dozing off, and at one point I thought he was going to put his head on my shoulder. This has happened before, and I have no problem shrugging those people awake. I’m not hard to get along with, but male-on-male napping is a little over the line for me.
My heft was packed into that tiny space, and the road got progressively worse as we neared NYC. We were hitting gaping potholes at full speed, over and over again. I was afraid the fillings might start working their way out of my teeth.
And it smelled like somebody on that bus needed to buy the Video Professor course in ass-wiping.
Then my phone rang, and it was my agent. We were supposed to meet for lunch near Greenwich Village, but she said her back was hurting her, and asked if we could reschedule. I told her no problem, but she was under the impression I was staying in New York for a few days. After I told her it was only a day-trip, she asked if I could come to her neighborhood instead — in Brooklyn.
That meant another opportunity to get on the wrong train, and unwittingly end up in the middle of a dispute between two warring drug factions. “Seriously, fellas… I don’t have a beef with any of you good gentlemen… I’m just trying to find the Cubana Cafe.”
But I wanted to meet with her, and told her I’d be there. God willing…
Eventually we arrived at Port Authority. Because of traffic, and semi-frequent stops, the trip lasted for three hours — at least an hour longer than it does by car. But I hate driving over there, and paying for parking and all that crapola. The bus only costs $45, and eliminates much of the stress. Not all of it, of course, but a good portion.
My first stop was to be Duff’s apartment, in Greenwich Village. Duff, her friend Lori, and I were going to discuss a future project we might undertake (hilarious), and also talk about the marketing of Crossroads Road. Lori is a successful writer, and between the two of ’em… well, they’re great people to have in your corner.
So, I went downstairs and tried to make sure I chose the correct train. I let one go by without boarding, because I wasn’t sure, but finally took the leap. Heeere we go… I thought.
And that’s where I’ll pick it up tomorrow.
Have a great day, my friends.
Now playing in the bunker
Crossroads Road just 99 cents through Friday!
Good Afternoon Surf Reporters!!
Heh – “Video Professor” of ass-wiping.
I almost choked on that line! LMAO – my well wiped AO.
Bill in WV says
Maybe ‘ol Block shat himself after an intense prayer session.
WB in OH says
Oh man, a mini series!
My one eighth Jewish side wishes you to know the following:
oh. and here’s the Jewish prayer strap block thingy > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tefillin
Thanks for the link. That was interesting, and I had never heard of it before.
Jen Ryan says
Awwww Jeff, Brooklyn is not so bad. You get used to it. We have lived here for 6 years, used to live in Allentown, PA. My 14 year old takes a subway to school every day. I’m on the edge of my seat and can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment of the NYC story!!
I have no problem with Brooklyn, it was the getting there that intimidated me.
Jen Ryan says
I remember when we first moved here. It was very daunting…still is sometimes. ;oD
ahhhhh…the Martz bus. That bus was my sanity savior my last year in NYC – every month I’d take it out to PA for a weekend of rest and relaxation, thus preventing me from losing my mind and taking it out on a subway car full of people.
GRRRRRR left hanging! I am dying to know what happens.
Big Bear in OH says
That video professor line had me cracking up…can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment!
Lee Harvey Ramone says
Funny you should mention the block of wood thing….
As you probably know, Jesus was born a Jew. One day, he just got really tired of fastening that block of wood to his head to pray, and so he decided to start his own religion. That’s where Christianity came from!
Re Karen Duff:..
There’s nothing better than making a pretty girl smile or laugh at what you say or write and…AND…….having one in a corner.
Ian the Errolite says
Having what in a corner?
My 11 year old self is snickering and making fun of you for not knowing how to use the subway… i’ve been riding the subway since before I was old enough to smell bad and feel “urgings” about girls….
But riding a bus for 3 hours? If that was me i’d’ve wound up punching the back of the seat in front of me after hitting one too many potholes….
Very cruel of you to make us wait until tomorrow for the next installment of the trip report! Very cruel!
Man, how come this great stuff never happens to me? Or, maybe it does, but I just don’t notice?
I have a friend kinda sorta like you…something amazingly weird happens to him everytime he travels. As my wife once said, “If I ever am getting on a plane with that guy, I WILL pay the change fee and get on the next flight!
Didn’t Jeff post a picture of the Tophat Clown from the plane to England? Maybe it was some other public conveyance.
aaaaawwwwww come on don’t make us wait till tomorrow…
Just peeing on your leg marking my territory until the next installment…
brooklyn means brooklyn brewery
And Peter Luger’s Steak House!
I used to take the subway to school… in Brooklyn. It’s not that hard, it’s just that they switch around the train letters/numbers every few years for no apparent reason, so that now when I visit, I’m never sure what train I need. Nomenclature like “7th Avenue Local” is more stable than the letters.
Looking forward to Chapter Deux.
Satanic Pig says
Once upon a time I took the bus or the SIRT to the ferry terminal and then a train to high school (in Brooklyn).
Actually, they change the train letters/numbers around WHILE you are on the train. As a native New Yorker, it wasn’t a big deal, we know when/where to catch the next train to our intended destination. But the look on the panicked faces in the car just screamed “tourist”. Not so much fun for them, I’m guessing…!
Which part of the City did you grow up in? As a provincial, I can fake a pretty fair level of sophistication, but secretly I’m slightly and silently in awe of anyone who grew up in the City. I don’t really want to be, and I don’t know why I am, but there you go.
Me? Park Slope, then later Carroll Gardens (aka South Brooklyn, aka Joey Gallo’s neighborhood). This was in the period from 1962 to 1973.
Joey Gallo?! Oh, crap. I lived in Bensonhurst…mob territory during the 70’s and 80’s.
Hey, I went to school with John Franco.
I think in those days, mob territory went from about Denville to Commack. I mean, Boston to Baltimore. Or more.
I had a classmate named Frank Sinatra.
I may have heard of that Frank guy…
Denville, NJ? That’s where the girl from Stephen King’s The Stand is from (Laura San Giacomo). Hmm. Mob name? She could have put a hit on Randall Flagg…
That would have saved a lot of characters a lot of grief!
I have a cousin who lives in Denville; she has a son named… um, Joey.
The Frank I knew would be in his 50s now (as opposed to dead), so it might not be the same guy :^)
Yeah, and Vegas would have been saved!
Everyone I grew up with was named Joey, Johnny, Vinny, Danny, Mikey or Tony (apt, as To NY). Then, the boys would always add “boy” to the end.
Yeah, those guidos would be in their 50’s now, too. or, dead, since if they “told you what they did for a living…then I’d hafta kill ya”.
The hits just keep on coming.
Wow, you just about hit it. The kids on my block whose names I remember were Vinny, Joey, Petey, Frankie, Johnny, ‘Nado and Nibsy. I don’t recall a Mikey, but there might have been a Tony up around the corner. Might? Jeez, there had to be a Tony.
I do remember a storefront on Court Street with the windows painted black, and a sign above the entrance proclaiming it to be a SOCIAL CLUB. Sometimes there would be a big guy standing out front.
Proclaiming, too true.
There was a Te-Amo (convenience shop) on 86th street and 20th avenue in Bensonhurst where all those “boys” hung out. Anyway, there was one guy named Albie (!) and one crowded Saturday evening in the middle of the summer, a large black car with tinted windows pulled up. A bunch of thugs got out and pumped a number of bullets into Albie. He was killed in front of at least 75 kids, and when the cops arrived, we all had sudden onset amnesia. None of us could recall a darned thing. Hmm, amazing, that. Welcome to my old neighborhood…
Yow – I can’t top that.
Wasn’t Te-Amo a brand of cheap cigars? Like White Owl, or Garcia y Vega. I remember the Te-Amo sign on a number of “candy stores”.
Sometimes after school we would go to the White Castle at maybe 82nd and 7th Ave or thereabouts – more Bay Ridge than Bensonhurst. Going to school in that neighborhood is why I had to take the subway from Carroll Gardens. RR at the time, now the R (see “changing of letters”).
I grew up in Brooklyn, and was taking mass transit to school by the time I turned twelve. The buses and trains can be a bit intimidating (especially when you are under five feet tall and yer feet don’t reach the floor).
The subway is intimidating but I think driving in NY would be a much more horrifying experience (I have never driven in NY but did venture onto the subway a few times).
Driving in New York is a contact sport.
Not too many comments today… I blame the last of a Question Of The Day.
By the way, I’ll be 31 in 15 minutes. Happy birthday to me.
^ the lack of a Question Of The Day. No, I have not started drinking yet.
Happy birthday Jimbo.
And due to the fact of the lack of an edit button…I’ve installed a fuckit button next to my computer. I’m gonna see how that goes.
Jimbo singing at his party now…
“So darling, save a lap dance for me”…
Happy Birfday, Jimbo! Bottoms up (hopefully)!!
Happy (belated) Birthday, Jimbo! Hope you can remember how you celebrated.
Thanks everyone! I had a few beers up at the neighborhood sports bar last night to celebrate. I was the only customer in there, but it was actually pretty nice. No need to make small-talk with someone that’s 15 beers in.
Madz, June 7th (today) is my birthday, so you’re still good. I’ll be celebrating again tonight. The celebrations will involve more drinking.
Alice in WV says
Happy Birthday, Jimbo!
Happy Birthday, Jimbo! Quaff a coldie for me!!
Chuck in Belpre says
happy birfday, dude! Boobies and beer!
Male on male napping…..haaahaaaha
I look like an old-school Agnostic.
Sixty-seven years ago today (it’s still pretty much the 6th where I am) 200,000 allied servicemen crossed the English Channel and invaded German-held France at Normandy. The Americans, English and Canadians led the allied landing on the five beaches. At Omaha Beach, the first company of American soldiers to hit the beach virtually didn’t exist ten minutes after landing. One hunderd percent of their officers and seargents were dead or dying. The surviving soldiers elected new officers on the run, undrer heavy machine gun and mortar fire, and helped clear the only road off the beach so the landing could continue.
Not all wars are as black and white as the fight against the Germans and Japanese, but all wars require the same level of courage on the part of the combatants.
The price of freedom is high. Thanks to those who served then and serve now.
Yeah man. Me having been born in ’53, that was ‘recent history’ in my yout. Then Korea then Nam then…well… go ahead folks…make your own list. I did notice. 6/6 (aka D-Day) kinda goes by without folks realizing what you just wrote. Kinda slipping outa the “news” these days. I can’t imagine how those brave guys felt when the front door of the LST opened with the guy standing there waving his right hand as quick as he could, two fingers out, pointing towards that beach yelling, “GO GO GO GO GO”.
We recently had a patient come into the office who was a surviving soldier of D-Day. I could have sat and talked to him all day. Amazing stories.
What was he doing in there? I thought y’all were in the labia trimming business or some such.
Root 66 says
I had an uncle who was in one of the first waves at Omaha Beach. He survived that, but later earned a Purple Heart after being wounded by a grenade in Germany.
Thanks for remembering jtb!
Chuck in Belpre says
Are both these tapes the same?
Slick Six now playing in the double wide. 🙂
WB in OH says
I’ve never been to NYC so I can’t comment on their subway, however I went to Boston last fall and the T was very easy to use once we got a little help. Six country bumpkins walk up to the terminal and try to figure out how to get from Quincy to downtown, a fellow behind the glass, who looked and sounded like Boston Rob, proceeded to instruct us on the intricacies of the Boston subway system. We had a blast all weekend zipping across the city, treating the subway like our own personal chauffeur.
While I was typing this comment I googled and compared Boston’s subway system to NYC’s subway system. I can see why that would make a man’s sphincter tighten up!
I googled it too. It’s funny, the Boston subway map has the same modern-ish look and style that the NYC one did in the 1970s.
Oh man, I had a looong layover in Boston several Summers ago. I took the free shuttle over from the airport to the T, and this one transit policeman was THE absolute best help. Told me the history, told me the interesting places, good cheap breakfast spots. I forgot his name, but this man put the best face on the city of Boston!
Subway in Toronto, and the Metro in DC are also very, very easy to use. Chicago and NY are also okay, but take more savvy.
My ignorant self thought that Jewish guy was going to start shooting up, thank you for the religious education.
WB in OH says
Hello? Is there anybody here? Looks like that rascal left us hanging!
The internet is down at our house, and I wasn’t able to post the update. I’m at work now, and can’t do it from here. If it’s working when I get home, I’ll upload it. Sorry!
Chuck in Belpre says
thank you, jeff.
Lee Harvey Ramone says
does anyone out there have my friggin’ boxscores?
WB in OH says
Nobody knows nuttin’. This is the quietest I’ve ever seen this crowd.
Box scores are in…
6 to 4
9 to 5
25 to life.
Tonight will be mostly dark. A big light in the sky in the morning the will scare minorites in the east and there’s hamburger all over the highway in Mystic Connecticut..
WB in OH says
Just to make conversation, I’ll relay my recent good fortune. A vendor called me earlier and offered me two tickets to the Reds/Yankees game on Monday the 20th. The coolest part is they have suite. So I’ll be sitting up with all the rich and famous. If any of you Reds fans have any questions for Mr. Castellini, let me know and I’ll hit him up when I see him.
WB… Very freakin cool! I’ll be in sec, 431, row D, seat 18 wearing an old-school wvsrs shirt & fish cap.at that very game. . Have my ticket right here. I don’t have a question…just hit him in the balls and let me know.
WB in OH says
I’ll be down the left field line somewhere, I don’t know the box number yet. I’ll try to sneak a few beers out of there and try and get them up to you. I think t-storm was hitting one of these games as well?
Might get to see Jeter get his 3,000th hit. That would be pretty cool.
WB…here’s the seating link..http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/ticketing/seating_pricing.jsp. Click on any section and see the view. My 431view is quite nice. Check it out. And the Jeter 3k would be great.
I just learned today about feline AIDS. HUH?? Took the cat to the shop for some rabies voodo and found out unprotected cat sex can lead to death. Sweet Sainted Mother of Iams..who the hell would fuck a cat.
Yeah… they call it FIV. Obvious once they said it out loud.
Huh? I have a t-shirt that says ” I will NOT fuck your cat”.
Really? I have a T-shirt that says “thewvsr.com”.
Not really. The shirt can’t talk; it doesn’t say anything.
T. Farty McAppless says
I guess Jeff got kidnapped. Maybe he woke up in a tub of ice because ole whatshername drugged him and took one of his kidneys to sell on the black market. Or maybe he was kidnapped and sold into slavery, prolly selling knockoff purses and watches in the Bronx as we speak.
What kinda weird world do we live in that a treasure like “Crossroads Road” is only 99 cents…yet a bus outta Scranton is $45? Oh wait, I answered my own question. Because it is a bus OUT of Scranton! 🙂
You only answered part of your question. Let’s just stipulate to living in a weird world. The virtual book is underpriced by five bucks, although I seem to hold a minority opinion on that.
The bus trip price includes a lot of fuel at very high prices, and the salary of the Jewish guy, who drives on the way back. The pieces of wood are chocks to keep the bus from moving when he’s putting on the chains.
The chains are to fight his way out of Bensonhurst.
Hope this clears things up.
Good Morning Surf Reporters…..
Remember last week when I said everybody here hates me (not meaning my invisible friends at WVSR, but at my job)? Well, turns out there’s a petition to get me fired that over 40 people have signed. I won’t go out without fireworks…guaranteed. Good luck to these dickheads. No one can do my job wothout at least two weeks of training.
I have another question, and thanks for all the where do birds go to die stuff last week.
Although I don’t watch or like soccer, for some reason, Sportscenter covers it. I see that before the games, each player walks out holding a child’s hand, and that seems kinda creepy. Anyone know why they do this?
Stay thirsty, my friends.
I’ve been noticing dead birds since said question.
So why do they hate you?
To be fair it sounds like you hate them too.
The child’s hand is for luck – like a rabbit’s foot.
Not sure. Intimidation? Because I have the biggest office? Because I have no tolerance for stupidity and there are a lot of short bus riders working here? Whatever the case, two and a half years here has created a lot of bad feeling, I guess.
There are a lot of dead birds here too but mostly because they get hit by cars. Still don’t see them drop out of the sky though
Hit a red tail hawk one day just outside of town on my way to Pagosa Springs. I saw him by the side of the road watching the meadow to my right. I was goin’ about 60 and when I got to him he picked up and musta started drafting me because that quick he was flying along right off my right fender. Pretty sight. Then…he dove in frort of my 4Runner towards my grill/ bumber where my deer whistle is. I wacked him and watched him roll up the hood, hit the windshield a tad then thump the roof. I was going to stop but a pissed off red tail hawk was not in my day’s plan. In the rear view I watched him lay there for a sec and then get up with a good WTF??? look around and was fine. The high pitched squeal of the deer whistle made him think I was a mouse. It happens now and then to other folks up here too. Only cracked my front turn signal/ running light.