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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memoirs from a Greyhound Bus

Yes, I sit here. The swaying of this transportational beast, this wildness of the New England highway. Crammed in these seats like sardines being shipped off all over the state of New York. Ryan and I have had full 2 1/2 days of fun, frustration, and vast structures of steel and concrete shooting up towards the skies. I will try to share some of our experiences thus far, though forgive the length for I must set it down in writing, and I have 10 hours on this bouncy, bobbing bus to compose it all in.
I arrived in New York last Tuesday. Flew in from Nashville. As the plane eased up to the terminal of La Guardia Airport, I was peeking out the aircraft's window and could see in to the waiting room the head of Ryan Woods, my longtime buddy from Adventures in Missions. He had arrived an hour before and was waiting on me, and the two of us were to hit the Big Apple together seeing all the highlights our eyes could take in within 48 hours.
We both greeted each other in the terminal there very unceremoniously, and then we took off to find the quickest route into the core of New York City. Ryan is getting to be quite the traveling companion. We've gallivanted around Central Europe together, and we've journeyed through Greece sharing many strange, bizarre, and outlandish adventures. This time we would take NYC by a restless shoe-souled storm. Then we would find some way to spring northwards to Canada, for the wedding of Jeremy, another old time friend.
We hopped on a bus that would take us to the nearest subway station. To crack the secret code of a city you must start underground first. The subway or metro is by far the easiest way to figure out how to get to major places within a city. I knew this living in Moscow, and Ryan knew this living in Lisbon. So we caught a bus that ran through the Queens and that took us to the nearest subway station.
We finally approached Manhattan from underground, and then we emerged up from the depths into the streets, the smog, the towering artifices and bustling of life. Traffic heaved and hawed through all the streets, people of all different types and assortments passed by from dizzying directions. Our packes weighed heavily upon our shoulders and we decided to leave our bags someplace. This turned out more difficult than we had first imagined. Everyone in NY is paranoid. Ever since 9-11, everyone's watching frantically to escape any possibility that another terrorist attack might occur. The only 4-letter word in NY that you dare not say is B-O-M-B. So, ridiculous measures are carried out within the city to ward off every ridiculous possibility. That is why Ryan and I found it difficult to find a place in Manhattan to leave our bags. There were no longer such things as rental lockers. Everyone feared underground terrorists groups would direct their explosive trafficking through such dangerous, but in any other city, quite convenient rental lockers.
Now that I've said that Ryan and I felt like 2 tortoises taking Manhattan in an exhaustive rush, not like ninja turtles, more like clueless swamp tortoises from Galapagos. That was until a stroke a genius fell about Ryan and as we passed by the New York City Public Library, he had the idea to drop off our bags in the cloak room. Yes, one of the largest libraries in the nation, in the world possibly. We would pretend as though we were going inside to pore through countless volumes, and after dropping our bags off at the guarded cloak room, we skirmished through the library and walked right outside the back door, our backs free from any burden.
We walked and walked tryng to figure out this monster of a city, taking in its whole diverse atmosphere. Then we had to make it to Broadway for the showing of the David Letterman Show. Ryan was told that we could get in with free admission with its secret code, "Tiffany's Gold List". -That if we just say that to the doorman he would take us to our reserved seats. Well, we did so, and as it turned out we were made to wait at the end of a long line instead of being able to skip the front like I thought. And as we found out we learned that everyone was given this secret code, so everyone thought that they had special knowledge and was getting special treatment. We all stood packed inside, and the greeters began to greet and boy did they put on a show. They beamed and smiled and waved and yakked on and on. All in an attempt to to make you energetic and ready for a laugh. Then one of the greeters stood up and and told us all that our laughter was all very important in making today a good show. That if we gave David enough energy and laughs, then he would he return, give us also more energy and laughter. We were told if David tells a joke and we weren't very sure whether it was funny or not, decide that joke is funny and laugh anyways. Our laughter was the most important thing. And when we laugh we weren't supposed to give just a simple "he-he", we were to roar. After this speech, Ryan and I decided that David Letterman probably had self-confidence issues and wasn't very sure his show was funny or not. I guess, he's aware of Conan O'Brein who is 3 times as funny, and who Ryan and I would rather see. But beggars most not be choosers, so we realized that the both of us could make Letterman more secure by laughing our hardiest.
We sat in there while the greeters still harassed everyone into a good time clapping to the music and smiling really Wal-mart like. Then Dave showed up by running out onto the stage with white shoes on. He read his jokes. But with all the cue cards that got the way, the whole things seemed so fake. But regardless of this, Ryan and I determined to make Dave feel like a funny guy so we laughed our best laugh. Then the guests appeared. The first guest, we need not give a fake laugh for, because he was already funny enough. He was none other than Adam Sandler. The next guest was this Basketball player with the last name of Miller who had just retired. I don't remember much but I'm glad Dave only talked him a few minutes. And then the musical guest were the Wallflowers who are pretty good. All in all it was a good show. Ryan claims that Adam Sandler winked at him, but I think its just one of his idiosyncracies where he squints his eyes for comical effect. But I could be wrong.
The next couple of hours we walked around haplessly around Times Square and a small portion of Manhattan. Before the show we walked through a piece of Central Park, but everything seemed so much bigger than it does by map. Eventually we winded up going to supper in the Village. We were told that the Village was a neat scene at night, so we started walking those streets and came upon a cafe that seemed to have not outrageous prices like everything else in NYC. We sat down, in this quiant-looking, sophisticated restaraunt only to realize by the dim candlelights that we were probably the only 2 straight guys in there. A waiter approached us, and let me tell you, he was a real sweetie. We were too tired and our feet were killing us to go look for some other place. So, we took off our socks and shoes, for podiastric relief, and hid our aching feet underneath the table. I spilled water on the table cloth and rambled on to Ryan in a very gruff voice, and i think such acts let any male predators know that we weren't from their side of the tracks if you know what I mean. I did not think it was an explicit gay bar, I just believe it was just our luck to walk into a diner where many queenies frequent. Next time, I will take notice of guys who look like they are discussing cooking recipes with girls in the front and men dining with other men with over-gelled hair.
After that, we went to the bus and train terminals to see about getting tickets to Canada. WE initially wanted to take the train, but no trains were going up there for the time that we wanted. We were taking a break at the Dunkin Donuts when this rough looking beggar came up to me. He immediately saw my cash flash inside my wallet and asked if i could spare a dollar. He was completely in my face and i was not getting a very good feeling about this. So, I was just reaching in my pocket to give him some change, when he wouldn't take it. He said that he wanted a dollar. I began to get angry and level with him that he should take what is offered. He then said that he would follow me around and pester me until I gave him a dollar. And then he mumbled something about "that i would pay", and he reached in his pocket as though he had something dangerous inside of it, maybe a knife or a gun. so i was getting ready to spring at him. Though I doubted his stupidity, this whole scene taking place around alot of people, but Moscow had taught me never doubt the stupidity nor the cruelty of others. So, I gave him that dollar and then he said that he would be blessed if he could have 5 dollars. I laughed in his face, and he kept pestering me. Then Ryan, a great mediator, said that if he got us to this certain bus station that we were looking for than we would give him 5 dollars. I sort of liked this idea, but sort of didn't like the idea of this thug dragging us around New York. He gave us the name of this bus station and how to get there, and then with a quick dart he snatched the 5 dollars I had in my hand, and ran off. I thought to follow him and demand my money back, but perhaps wisdom prevented me. So, after that little incident I was pretty angry and decided because of that idiot let these street crooks all starve for all I care. I didn't go around showing my wallet around much after that.
We had to rush off just as quickly to the local train station after finding the bus station in order to get to our place of stay in New York. We rode for an hour and a half northwards to this little town. Ryan had connections with a christian family. In fact, the day of Ryan's wedding back almost 2 years ago, their son, Benjamin was the ring bearer. They were friends of Ryan's wife, who couldn't make the trip being back in Washington State pregnant. We arrived at their house at 1:30 am, Mrs Sherry, the mother, was so nice and all, picking us up from the train station at that hour and giving us place to stay. We went to bed very soon. I slept in a room surrounded by romance trash novels, but unfortunately I was much too tired to pore through any of them. And so closed our first day of this long saga of a story. They'll be more later.


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