I Fooled Them

Today was the first day of my internship. This year, I am program planning and counseling at an alcohol and substance abuse prevention program at a large college in the city. Re-read that last sentence. Then stop laughing, wipe the tears from your eyes, and read it again.

I will be attempting to assist college students around their issues with alcohol and drug use. I will be providing counseling to those that might feel that they already have a problem around those subsances. This idea makes me giggle even more than when I was employed at Souless Telecommunications, and could tell people that I was an engineer (truthfully) even though I have a lifelong aversion to math and anything math related.

I am an admitted lush. And I am already examining my drinking habits. For example, binge drinking is defined (for women) as having 4 or more drinks in one sitting. This means that I am binge drinking most of the time when I go out. This is problematic.

Today, I represented my office at a student services fair. I dispensed pamphlets and information to incoming freshmen. I smiled. I answered questions. And then I stopped being a substance abuse counselor, and promptly met LK and another friend at a bar for happy hour.

I'm Baaaaaaaack

Please ignore the subject header of this post, which everyone uses when they return from somewhere. My brain is even mushier this morning, having just returned from a week on the beach, spent reading trashy novels. Other activities were limited to baking in the sun, swimming in the ocean, and playing with my niece, The Peanut, who is possibly the cutest toddler that I have ever seen.

Oh, and I kicked off my new excercise/nutrition routine while I was there. I went jogging every morning and I quit smoking. It has now been 11 days since my last cigarette. The trifecta to this new plan would have been healthy eating, which was partially accomplished simply because I was busy running after The Peanut and therefore, couldn't sit around and stuff my face, and also due to the fact that we ate fresh fish every night. Those habits, however, were counterbalanced by my family's annual cheese tasting dinner (14 cheeses in one night), my aunt's desserts, the 'snack bowl' which my mother proudly fills every vacation (mmmm...peanut butter cups), and my father bringing along two cases of wine.

So I am now back in NYC, heading out to my internship in a little bit. I can't believe that school is starting already. This summer flew by...



Two very strange things about today:

1) Apparently, I responsible enough to be be entrusted with the care of small children, as I am currently babysitting my niece and;

2) The reason why I am babysitting is so that my brother and SIL can attend the wedding of E, whom I briefly dated until he went on vacation, met the woman who is (as I type) becoming his wife, and never called me again.


Do You Really Like Me?

Last night, LK and I finally sent out the evite for our birthday party. We've been talking about this party FOREVER. I think we figured out in early fall of last year that our birthdays are one day apart (her: September 6th, me: September 7th) and immediately started planning the Party To End All Parties: The Virgo Birthday Bash. We've discussed this subject endlessly; all of our friends are tired of hearing about it. They'll probably just be relieved that the invite went out, and furthermore, be happy we didn't run with some of our earlier ideas like karaoke or a scavenger hunt.

And now, the expectations are high. At least, my expectations are high.

Since the invitation went out, I've been checking it. Frequently. Seeing who has responded, who has looked at it and not responded. Tinkering with the details. Calling friends and asking if they got the invite, which is ridiculous because I already know if they got it. Wondering if the directions are clear. Hoping I haven't forgotten to invite someone crucial. Worrying that we didn't pick the right place.

I need to calm down. It's just a birthday party.

All of this excitement and anticipation can't be good - it's like prom all over again - months of planning the perfect dress, the perfect date, and then the night itself arrives and falls flat. And I am sincerely hoping that this won't be the case with our party. That LK and I are going to have a glorious time, surrounded by our friends.

I've been trying to figure out why this party is so important to me, and this morning, the pieces fell into place. My birthday is a marker. It's a chance to examine my life, to look at where I was the previous year, and to see that there has (hopefuly) been progress toward becoming the person that I want to be. That each year, I've made myself a little bit better. Last year was easy - I had just moved into the city and started graduate school. This year is the test - I've changed my geography and my situation, but what about me? I continue the push and pull from my family, to fall apart over relationships gone wrong, to back away from expressing what I really feel. Sometimes I don't know who I am at all.

MC and I talked about this the other day in one of our marathon phone conversations (another thing which I am lucky for, a friend who has known me longer than I have known myself, who continues to want to know me). We were talking about the ability, in your 30's to feel just as insecure as you did in your teens, and since we knew each other in our awkward teenage years, we knew exactly how insecure that could be. And we asked ourselves if there was ever a finish point - where everything falls into place, where that insecurity disappears completely. There was no real conclusion - just that there are moments when you feel light and free and beautiful. And those moments happen more frequently than the ugly ones.


Guest Ridiculousness

I haven't really perpetrated any ridiculousness for the past few days, being that I've barely set foot outside of my apartment during daylight hours. I've been cocooning, determined to read all of the Harry Potter books before I allow myself the treat of buying the new one and taking it on vacation next week.

Enter LK, and her story from jury duty.

LK was in the bathroom at the state courthouse, and heard a buzzing noise coming from one of the other stalls. She listened more closely, but was not able to figure out what it was. She then picked up another noise, along with the buzzing, and it became clear.

The second noise was moaning.

And the buzz was a vibrator.

Someone was masturbating in one of the bathroom stalls of the courthouse.

LK waited by the door after she left the bathroom, trying to determine who the masturbator was. (My suggestions: someone exiting with a big grin, someone exiting smoking a cigarette.) She wasn't able to determine who it was, unfortunately, but the story did provide some entertainment in an otherwise boring day.

Back to Hogwarts...


Jet Blues

I realized very abruptly on Monday that I could not live in Vermont. Sure, I could visit, I could appreciate the beauty, but I would never truly be one of them - a Vermonter (Vermontian? Vermontese?). I lack the necessary 'chill' gene that everyone up there seems to possess.

I woke up at o'dark thirty on Monday morning to catch my 6:15 am flight back to NY. I felt like I hadn't slept at all, which I really hadn't when you consider that my worrisome personality had woken my up about every five minutes during the night to make sure that I wasn't Missing The Alarm And Hopelessly Late To The Airport That Is Only 5 Minutes Away From BC's Apartment.

Ok. So I get dropped off at the airport and I see a huge crowd of people around the JetBlue counter (well, who am I kidding, it's Vermont, and the population for the state is roughly the same as the population of my local bar on a Saturday night - let's just say there were relatively lots of people at the counter. Thank you.). I look up at the Departures board and blearily note that my flight is delayed. I immediately start to get annoyed, but at this point, it's just at myself for not calling the airline before I went to the airport.

1/2 hour later, I am at the gate, having passed through even more rigorous security than I did at JFK on the way to Vermont - and why is that exactly? Are terrorists more likely to switch things up and start attacking the smaller airports? I went through similarly heightened security at the Martha's Vineyard airport a short while ago. Anyway. I'm at the gate and there is still no more information other than 'Flight Delayed' on the announcement board. I feel my annoyance slide one level up to irritation, and this time it is directed outward. I look around and everyone else seems to be just fine. They're settled in, reading, chatting, looking complacently around the airport.

I sit and stew for another 10 minutes (because that's really the way to get things done) and then turn on my iPod (because there are a lot of soothing songs on there, like 'Let The Bodies Hit The Floor').

Oh no. They're bringing out blankets and snacks. This can't be good. I don't think we're going to have a quick picnic before shortly boarding the plane. The plane, by the way, is at the gate, but shows no signs of life.

Finally, around 7:00 am, a Jet Blue employee saunters up to the podium and announces that we are going to be delayed until 10:15 am, due to poor weather conditions the previous night in NY, and the crew didn't get into Vermont until 2:00 am, mandatory rest period, blah, blah, blah. Once again, I look around the terminal at my fellow travelers. They're still smiling, they're nodding, they're helping themselves to water and smoked almonds, they're arranging blankets on the floor so they can nap. Sheep! I want to yell. Don't let them lull you with the 'free' snacks that you would have received on the plane anyway!

My irritation climbs the ladder to rage. An older man, dressed in a blue blazer and khakis (who looks a lot like John Kerry) walks by me, notes my furious expression, and smiles kindly at me. I grimace back at him.

I mutter to myself and turn up the iPod and shut my eyes. Breathe, I tell myself. It's not like getting angry is going to change anything. It's not like there is anything pressing that you need to do in NY, aside from sitting in your sweltering apartment and thinking of free activities that also involve air conditioning.

When we finally board the plane, there is no sense of urgency. People are smiling and laughing, slowly putting their luggage in the overhead compartments. I am reduced to making ridiculous hand gestures behind their backs, rolling my eyes, and acting every bit like the surly teenager that I am. NotJohn Kerry walks by again, and again, seems amused by the expression on my face.

When I finally arrive in NY, I race home to my apartment. Home! And then I lie on my couch and do nothing for the rest of the night.


I Lovermont

Friday was quite possibly the most miserable day of my life. The night before, as I had been getting ready to go out, my smoke alarm went off, and I discovered that the burning odor that I had intermittently smelled all day was coming from my air conditioner. I debated for a second, weighing the hot, humid weather outside my apartment versus the possibility of the air conditioner bursting into flames. Right before I left, I switched off the air conditioner, opened the windows and hoped for the best.

I went out in my neighborhood and had one of the most random nights that I can remember in recent memory. I met BG and his work friends out at Lattitude (all midtown suits, very meat market) and discovered that he has been dating one of his work friends (who was there, and overly friendly to me) since March, and hadn't bothered to tell me, maybe preferring to keep his options open. Then I met up with JP at Doyle's, where we were supposed to have a quick drink, and then go out for dinner, but Barry The Bartender was there, and he was just as cute as ever, and was talking to us, so we (ok, me) decided to skip dinner and just keep drinking at the bar.

Bad choice.

Friday: humid 97 degree weather + no air conditioning + debilitating hangover = abject misery. I felt too sick to actually go anywhere, so I lay on my couch/bed most of the day, sweating and trying to sleep. I couldn't think of a single thing I wanted to eat, and couldn't summon the necessary energy to leave the apartment to get something to eat, so I just kept drinking water. I took about 5 showers, trying to cool myself down. At certain points in the day, I convinced myself that I was on my way to a serious case of heat stroke. I considered going to the local emergency room.

At 7:30, I somehow got on the E (Note: if one subway car is nearly empty when all of the others are full, there's a good reason for it, i.e. no air conditioning) to make my way to JFK. And once I got into the airport, everything was good. The temperature was frigid, there was food there that I actually wanted to eat, and I was on my way to Vermont. I should have woken up Friday morning and gone straight to the airport.

I'll say it now: Burlington Vermont is possibly the best city that I have been to in a long time. DJ and BC have been incredible hosts. Yesterday we went shoppping for school stuff (funny how you can still get excited for school just by buying a new bookbag, or clothing) and walked around the city. We had coffee at Speeder and Earl's. We hung out by Lake Champlain. We made our 'famous' dip. We grilled. We had Ben & Jerry's.

I'm not sure I want to ever leave. Maybe UVM has a good MSW program?



This is M's last night in New York. I think. And the silence, to borrow an awesomely written phase, is spine crushing. And I sit here, slightly drunk from Druid's, listening to DMB. And I wonder how I could have been wrong AGAIN.

It meant nothing. Nothing.

If I keep repeating it, it will be true.


The Badge, Part II

I just returned from bringing my badge to my temp agency. Temp agency, you ask? Why not just bring it to The Hedge Fund? Or send it by Fedex?

The answer is simple: someone there is afraid of me. Also, the answer to the second question is: I am too cheap to pay for Fedex.

When I switched on my phone this morning, I got another message from the temp agency, rejecting my previous plan to bring the badge to the security desk in the front lobby. Instead, The Hedge Fund had asked that I bring the badge to the temp agency, and they would get it from them.


It seems that The Hedge Fund didn't want me anywhere near their building (I hope the 12 blocks between my temp agency and their offices were safe enough for them). They didn't even want me in the main lobby, which is 30 very distant floors away from their space. Apparently, I am very threatening.

So I got straight off the bus from Boston - another wonderful bus experience; I got to experience the joy of Red Sox fans chanting 'Yankees Suck!' as we passed Yankee stadium - and marched over to return the badge. And E couldn't have been nicer, or more confused about why the assignment had ended.

I guess it's going to be one of the mysteries of our time.


The Badge

Last night, still safely ensconced in the suburbs of Boston, I checked my voicemail. And was enraged to hear a message from my temp agency, asking about the return of my access badge to The Hedge Fund. It seems that someone (ahem, Pirates of the Caribbean, I'm looking at you) has been calling my temp agency, anxiously wondering where my badge is. And then this someone (still looking at you, your glass eye and your parrot) has the additional nerve to ask that I 'Fedex, as soon as possible' the badge back to them.

What do they fucking think I am going to do with the fucking badge? I mean, were I more financially savvy, I guess I could go in there and, I don't know, steal files or something and then make a killing in the stock market thus destroying The Hedge Fund and everyone associated with it. [That scenario is unlikely, given that I still don't know what a hedge fund is, exactly.]However, my revenge fantasies have been much less elaborate than that - something more along the olines of backing a cart up to the freight elevator and removing lunch from the kitchen, then watching the ensuing confusion ('We have to...leave the building? And buy food? How will we fend for ourselves?').

Or maybe they think I'm going to come into the building and demand justice. Have a fit in the lobby. Lunge for The Yammerer. I have news for you, folks - I have more pride than that. Not that much pride, but enough to prevent entertainment on that level.

But seriously? Enough with the badge already. I hate my picture on it anyway...

The List

When I was in college, longer back than I now care to admit, my friends and I played Asshole. Frequently. We'd go to our favorite bar (Chuck's, or Hungry Charley's to those who weren't cool enough to call it their favorite bar), line up the tables, and be occupied for the night. This was always a tricky business, because you would play for such a long time, sitting there, concentrating on the cards, that you often didn't realize how drunk you were getting. And so there would be about 20 of us, in various degrees of intoxication, yelling at each other, chugging beers, and generally ignoring anyone who wasn't in the game.

I still play Asshole. And since college, the game has evolved. Rules have been added and defined, and anyone who is unlucky/unwise enough to play with us has been forced to comply. We've exchanged shitty Utica Club beer for Ketel One. Rather than playing in a dive basement bar, we're gathered around someone's kitchen table. The game is still mind-numbingly simple, but we convince ourselves that there is strategy and skill involved. There's less compulsory drinking, which is good, because at age 32, my hangover recovery time is a lot longer than it used to be.

On Saturday night, LS, DS, DM and I played Asshole for about 4 hours. And we got a little bored (but not bored enough to stop playing) so we made a new rule; the person who led the round would need to make a Declaration. The nature of the Declaration was determined by the president at the start of each game. For a few rounds the theme was favorites: movie quotes, song lyrics, foods, childhood memories. There was a truly depressing game where we had to share our most embarrassing memory (mine: determining that I had unwittingly walked around for a good part of the day with a maxi pad stuck to my back after our first "Welcome to Womanhood" health class in grade school. Thank you, class bully).

On the next round, DM prevailed, and it was her turn to make the rule. She thought about it, smirked, and said "The leader needs to pick husbands for ridiculouschick and I."

[Ok, let me explain. I have always gone through life, regardless of my dating status, with a List of Future Husbands. Some men have been permanent fixtures on The List, others have made brief guest appearances, only to be removed when reason prevailed or when something was done to offend my picky sensibilities. The only common trait between the *ahem* lucky contenders for my hand is that I don't know any of them.]

We all laughed, and then got down to the seriousness of this task. And so, I present my revised List (at least for this week).

Bradley Cooper, Chris Cornell*, Donovan McNabb*, Rivers Cuomo*, Topher Grace, Tre Cool, 1962 Sean Connery, David Sedaris, Lawrence Moten, Josh Lucas, Adam Pascal*, Michael Imperioli, Paul Rudd, Mike Messina, Michael C. Hall, Nick Stahl, the bassist from the Dave Matthews Band, Andre 3000, Roy Jones Jr., Seth Green, Zach Braff, Jay Z, Jason Lewis, Kal Penn, John Mayer, Hal Sparks.

(Rick James was briefly considered, only so I could yell out 'I'm Rick James' wife, bitch!' at will. But, ultimately rejected, because I'm not sure I'm enchanted by the idea of being anyone's superfreak. And yes, I know that David Sedaris is not really playing on my team.)

There were more people named during the game, but some of them just made the Men I'd Fuck List - it's important to know the difference between the two. And rather than this being a sad little exercise, I think it's an important part of being able to define the characteristics that I will require in an eventual mate. Characteristics like being able to perform an awesome dunk or be cuttingly sarcastic. Or, you know, just devastatingly hot.

*Permanent list dwellers



I was feeling great yesterday morning. I had actually slept through the night for the first time in two months, my shower had been warm instead of lukewarm/cold, and I was excited for my trip to Boston. As I exited my apartment building, I had a smile on my face, a smile which remained during my walk to work.

Wow. [Insert deity] laughed at me. And then [deity] might have kicked me.

It's funny how what you believe to be true, or important, or steady in your life suddenly gets turned on its head. How in a moment, the things that you think define you get swept away, how your self-image can change instantly and you wonder if everything that existed before was real.
This is what this summer has been like for me - a feeling of happiness, that my world is actually falling into place, and then Bad News. Starting all the way back in May, this summer has been all about knocking me back on my ass, challenging my ability to cope and to see the big picture. I've felt like I'm being tested, to see if the skills that I've developed over the past couple of years are still working. Can I change my course, change my plans, redefine myself once again?

Yesterday, I got fired from The Hedge Fund. And I never even saw it coming. And I sit here, in my friend's beautiful house in the suburbs of Boston, awake way too early for the night we had last night, and I try to figure out what happened. Was it Pirates of the Caribbean, exacting her final revenge? Or the Yammerer, friendly to my face but secretly plotting to get rid of me? Did they go into my computer and read this blog?

I wonder if these excuses are a defense against the truth: I hated it there, it probably showed in my work, and wasn't doing a good job. I wasn't concentrating. I was spending way too much time on the internet, or text messaging from my phone. Whatever the reason, I am done.

And so here I am, knocked back. I wonder if I should just take some Advil and go back to sleep. Or try to figure out my next move - do I take the next two weeks off? Go back into (shudder) Temp World? I know that this setback is minor, that it doesn't really matter, and so I'm stunned that it has affected me to this degree. And at the same time, I happily realize that I am lucky. I am so, so lucky. I have amazing friends, who, upon hearing the news yesterday reacted with support, empathy and humor. Some engaged in theories as to why I had been let go ('you were too awesome for them, and they were jealous'). Other shared stories of their own previous firings. And some gave big hugs, and promised distraction for the weekend.

And you know what? I'm starting to smile again.


Today on NBC: My Fat Face

This morning, MS and I went to Rockerfeller Plaza and watched the Today show. This was very strange, as I usually avoid anything this blatantly touristy (aside from my daily trek through midtown from The Hedge Fund Nightmare to my apartment). I know MS shares my viewpoint on this matter, and the reason why I know this because we spend a lot of time discussing tourists and their annoying ways, and in particular, their annoying ways that have fucked up our neighborhood. Why, exactly, are they wandering over from Times Square/Broadway? It's unclear. Hell's Kitchen is a dangerous, dangerous place, kiddies. Don't believe the gentrification myth; we still have daily gang wars akin to those scenes in West Side Story. Seriously.

So, this morning, we tamped down our hatred (well, mostly) and headed straight to Tourist Central. And allowed ourselves to be coralled into the police barricades surrounding the plaza. And dealt nicely (well, mostly) with the throngs of people who were all wearing the same shirts, or holding stupid signs, or yelling inane things, or trying to be on camera. We balanced on the barricades and on our tiptoes and craned our necks (thankfully not at the same time; coordination and I are not on the best terms). We waited: some ridiculous thing with Andy Milonakis and 'cornholing' which should have been more fun than it was, given my penchant for all things ridiculous, Al Roker in his pink suit (!) presenting the weather and bouncing all over the plaza, a comparison of French vs. American diet patterns (newsflash: we're fatter and generate more garbage due to our eating habits. Shocker.)

And finally, the payoff. Which, if you're still reading, probably feels just as long as it did this morning.

At approximately 8:40 am, MS and I saw a performance of 'Seasons of Love' by the cast of the movie Rent. And yes, that might have been me 'wooing' along with the tourists. And, also me singing along and knowing every word. And, yet again me, shouting out 'I love you Jesse/Anthony/Adam/Idina/Taye/Rosario/Wilson/Tracie!'. And, finally, me again, jumping up and down. The performance was amazing, and now I REALLY can't wait for the movie to be released in November. For those of you following along at home, I'll be just as dorky then as I was this morning. Promise.


Crap. Crap!

Ok, someone in this office is fucking with me. No, not fucking me, which would be infinitely more interesting, and a different blog altogether.

Fucking with me.

You know, these are the kind of jokes I always giggled about when they were sent via e-mail chain letter. It appears my retribution has arrived.

For the past several weeks, there have been cookies available in the kitchen. Each afternoon, magically, an assortment of cookies would be available - oreos, chips ahoy, mint milanos, etc. I never knew who was responsible for stocking the cookies (certainly not the Keebler elves - those cookies aren't allowed in here - apparently too low rent for this office). I suspected the office manager, who IP and I recently nicknamed 'Pirates of the Caribbean' due to the possibility that she has one glass eye and a penchant for overtanning. Seriously. Woman gets darker and darker every day. Her face is beginning to look like a baseball glove. I guess the nickname would be better if she wore an eyepatch over the supposed fake eye, which, if she came in with an eyepatch one day, and a parrot on her shoulder, and, oh, throw in a peg-leg for good measure, would be AWESOME.

Where was I? Oh, the cookies. Anyone who knows me understands that I have very little willpower in these situations. So, each day, around 4:00 pm, I have a little snack. Or a big snack, depending on my mental state and how many cigarettes I have(n't) had that day.

Today, there are no cookies. And I am jonesing. Bad.

I have a theory about the lack of cookies. This morning, I got in a pissing contest with Pirates of the Caribbean over a conference room which I had reserved for a meeting three weeks ago. (Sidebar: can two women get into a pissing contest?).

The Pissing Contest (a short play by ridiculouschick)

Pirate: I'm moving Managing Director's 2:30 pm meeting out of the large conference room.

ridiculouschick: Um. Why?

P: Because Co-CEO needs the room at 1:30 and his meeting might run longer than an hour.

r: But Co-CEO is scheduled to attend the 2:30 meeting.

P: Who approved that? We didn't know about that.

r: Let me see. [Pretends to look through Managing Director's calendar, already knowing the answer.] You did.

P: Well, we're going to move the meeting to the private conference room. Ok? [Tries to hang up.]

r: No, it's not ok.

P: What?

r: It's not ok. There are 5 people coming from outside the office, and 6 people attending from Hedge Fund. The private conference room only holds 8 people.

P: [Silence]

r: Do the math, P. They won't fit in any other conference room. This is why I booked it this way three weeks ago.

P: Have IP call me.

r: I'm the one who booked the meeting. IP has nothing to do with it.

P: [Hangs up.]


So, I think she now hates me, saw that I enjoy(ed) the cookies, and has removed them to spite me. Now the entire office is suffering because I had to get smart with the 'math' comment. *Sigh*. Why did I even engage? I could care less about the conference rooms.


I Loathe The Bus

Since giving up my suburban lifestyle, and my car along with it, I've become Mass Transit Girl. I'm usually apt to extoll the virtues of public transportation - less road rage! time to read! no need to find parking! - however, this weekend, I began to actively loathe the bus. It's been a long time coming. This feeling developed over several intersecting incidents, culminating during my trip to the Jerz this weekend.

Let's start with the Port Authority Bus Terminal, otherwise known as the Most Depressing Place on Earth. The 9th Avenue entrance to the PA/MDPOE is under construction, and has been under construction and will continue to be under construction, forever. One needs to walk underneath the rickety scaffolding, past the banner proclaiming 'New Entrance Coming Soon!' , snigger at veracity of the banner, and then endure the lecherous gazes of the loitering men in order to enter the building. Once inside, the scene isn't much better - brown brick walls, brown brick floors and lots of other loiterers. The stores/restaurants are subpar (does anyone shop at Strawberry? Did anyone ever shop at Strawberry??) and the graphics/art work seem to come from another era, namely, the late 70's. The whole experience is soul-crushing and grim, and you haven't even set foot on the bus yet.

This last Saturday, as I entered the PA/MDPOE at the ungodly hour of 7:43 am, my foot smooshed something on the ground. This...something...felt slightly sticky and gooey. I refused to slow down, because, if you stop/pause in the PA/MDPOE, you might as well admit defeat and become one of the loiterers, so I just looked behind me. And saw what appeared to be a condom on the floor. A used condom. Great. So now I needed to find a bathroom, correction, a bathroom that wouldn't make me gag as soon as I walked into it or question if it was better to leave the substance on my foot rather than step on the floor in said bathroom. Ok, I found the bathroom, shoved my shoe under the lukewarm water, contemplated going to an emergency room, and then tried not to think about it. Crisis averted. For now.

As I approached the departure gate, one foot making a "squick" noise as I walked, I noticed a large crowd of people. Waiting for the bus. Waiting for MY bus. And I was 45 minutes early! My hopes of a comfortable ride faded as I took my place in line. While in line, I noted a small child, who I would soon name 'Damian' running around, alternately crying/shrieking/kicking his mother. As his head swiveled at an unnatural 360 degrees. And he was getting on my bus. MY bus. I sighed, turned up my iPod, and tried yoga breathing to calm myself. Nothing doing.

And lets talk about being on the bus. Firstly, I'm wedged into the seat, weekend bag on my lap (and I'm female, so you know it weighed about 80 pounds, even though I was only going away for roughly 31 hours). The thighs of the person next to me are spilling over onto my side of the seat, and I have the childish urge to dead-arm punch this person, much like I did when I was 8 years old and on long car trips with my brother. And then tell the bus driver on them. The person in front of me has reclined their seat so far back that their head is practically in my lap (and I usually require at least dinner and drinks before I become that intimately acquainted, thank you). The person across the aisle has decided that a tuna sandwich and funyons make a delightful breakfast, and has decided to enjoy those treats despite the large signs which proclaim No Eating! There is a war in my stomach as to which will make me vomit first - the odors of my traveling companion's questionable food choices, the lurching of the bus as the driver negotiates his way into the Lincoln Tunnel, or the thought of the mysterious substance that I probably still have on the bottom of my shoe, leaking into the sole of my foot and my bloodstream.

I can't even comment on the traffic. Except. Hideous. But what was I expecting, traveling down to the shore during a summer weekend on the Garden State Parking Lot?

Next weekend, a trip to Boston on the bus. What am I thinking?