December 22, 2008

The Trip Up

Adventures in a life of freelancing...

Step 1: Field phone call from worried mother about "the snow up there" in New York City. Obediently pack separate bag with boots, socks, hat and gloves.

Step 2: In your rush to make it to Amtrak on time, leave said bag by the front door. Pay $10 for white (white!) yarn gloves at Union Station kiosk. Note for future reference--crocheted yarn does not, in fact, keep the cold out.

Step 3: Wait as they scrape the ice off the Northeast Regional train so it can depart. Check time nervously. Wait some more.

Step 4: With only 40 minutes instead of your alloted hour-and-fifteen, stumble into the New York subway system and start navigating. Catch an N train headed to Queens. Experience doubt about which stop you're supposed to use.

Step 5: Decide that it is better to live with doubt, versus interrupt the couple next to you--who are arguing very loudly about their E supply and "that Jew f*cking roommate of yours"--to ask for help with directions.

Step 6: Call soon-to-be-met interviewee and assure her that while you're cutting it close, you should be there momentarily.

Step 7: Get off at Ditmar Blvd-Astoria stop. Walk over to map. Realize that the funky street address you have in no way implies a cross street (21-45?). Realize that the only recognizable intersection from your Google directions mentions 35th & Broadway," which is...two stops and fifteen blocks back. Realize that in Queen, there are no taxi stands. And your heels (o boots, though hast forsaken me) can't take the unsalted sidewalks.

Step 8: Panic.

Step 9: Start walking anyway.

Step 10: See a taxi parked by the side of the road, the driver relaxing as he plays the radio and runs his heater. Stop and ask if he'll pick you up. He shrugs; he's not on duty. Promise to tip well.

Step 11: Agree to help de-ice his car in return for him running you down to Broadway.

Step 12: Smack at ice with your pseudo-gloved palm until it cracks off the door frame on the back passenger seat. Try handle. When it doesn't open, groan and start smacking at the doorframe for the front passenger seat. Repeat to yourself that this is still faster than walking. Try the handle. Groan again. Watch helplessly as taxi driver chuckles and leans over to press the 'Unlock' button on the doors.

Step 14: Slip into the blessedly warm back seat. Read out full address to driver. When he asks you to repeat it, read it again. A third time, with him holding up his fingers to confirm each digit.

Step 15: "Ma'am, you need to open the door of my taxi. And get out. Cross at that light up there. The building you want is on the other side of the street."

Step 16: Offer to tip anyway, to which he says "No, you're a nice girl." (Unspoken: "...and you helped de-ice my car.")

Step 17: Cross intersection. Ring up. And meet Marilynne Robinson.


Catnapping said...

damn, i'm glad i live in montana.

we see no shame or sin in wearing boots, even here in the "city" of missoula.

in fact, aside from lawyers, (and the occasional outta-stater), almost everyone here dresses for comfort and utility. even for church.

but certainly in the winter, everyone is in boots...sorels, redwings, etc...and wearing jeans and flannel shirts. lotsa carhartt coats and jackets, too.

it's too bad you folks back east are forced to live with such a rigid dress code.

i hope your interview went well.

newzoopoet said...

God, I enjoyed that. Feel a bit guilty for saying so, too.

Collin Kelley said...

Well, hells bells, I'd walk in the ice for Marilynne Robinson! I remember snatching Housekeeping from my mother's night table back in the early 80s.

Jehanne Dubrow said...

Awesome. The punchline to that incredible story really is a kicker. Hope it was an amazing experience!

Pam Hart said...

"Home" was amazing.

Dan said...

It's a beautiful thing. :)