Sunday, May 25, 2008


We took the train over to Times Square, and from there walked a block west to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I approached one of the ticket dispensing machines and entered the bus number and zone we were told we wanted, and it gave us change for a twenty entirely in dollar coins. Friend asked, "What am I supposed to do with this, buy a satchel?"

The bus terminal is enormous, a cavernous indoor space with the feel of an airport - tile floor, conspicuous signage, magazine shops, crappy food kiosks. It took us three right turns at the end of long corridors to get to the right gate, and we arrived just in time for the last two seats on the coach bus before it pulled away.

New Jersey is reached through the Lincoln tunnel; I had never been. Now I got to put city faces to names - Weehawken, Union City, Secaucus - and to fantasize about the other lives I could be leading. I could live in that little rowhouse with the vinyl siding; rent would probably be $750 a month; on summer evenings, my neighbours and I would sit in lawn chairs in the common front yard and drink beer and smoke; sometimes I would watch their kids, when they had to go out unexpectedly.

We went all the way to "the Esplanade in Hackensack". I had asked the bus driver to let me know when we arrived, and he went one beyond by driving down the street slowly (the bus was still full) looking for the house number I wanted. The barbecue in the backyard was still going strong, even though I was four hours late. Friend's mom pulled me aside from my hellos and insisted I make "a plate" before visiting. We had sangria and charcoal-grilled meat and played bocce and the trees smelled good.


Anonymous said...

Are you still there? Did you go back home again? Was the return trip as adventurous and introspective?
Considering your upbringing it's a wonder you don't get more homesick than you do.

Aaron, Kate, Will and Wyatt said...

Sounds suspiciously like the last BBQ we had...accept I was the Mom-type, we used propane and the guys were smoking cigars. While playing Bocce. Yeah, we're cool.

Aaron, Kate, Will and Wyatt said...

Oops...except. Proof reading is a good thig BEFORE you hit the damn send button.

Aaron, Kate, Will and Wyatt said...

Damn it! Thing. Yes, I just had a baby. How long can I use that excuse?