Wednesday, November 14, 2007

God's Most Cursed Transportation

So, this past weekend, Tigger and I (yes, that's my G/F, and explanations may follow at some point when I feel like it) went down to the wilds of Philadelphia to go to a Wine/Food Pairing Dinner with the good people of her Father's country club. It's a fancy sort of place, there's a waiting list and what for.

I don't play golf, FYI. I have always kind of been curious about it, but as with hunting, fly fishing, and who knows what all, it's something you learn to do from your father, and I didn't about any of those things. One day I may yet grace the wilds of Dyker Beach (a public course here in Brooklyn) with an unfettered chain of octuple bogies, but that day is far off in the future.

Because it was a food and WINE pairing dinner, I didn't want to drive the lesbian-mobile (subaru outback wagon, apparently the lesbians are just WILD for Subarus, don't quite know why, though I encourage the non-existant readership to chime in with non-existant suggestions about why that might be the case) down to get drunk-ish at a country club and get arrested along the Main Line after driving through the front plate glass of a WaWa. Call me crazy, it's just what seems right to me.


We took public transportation down from New York to Philly, first step was the good people at NJTransit, who brought us all the way to Trenton, on an express train out of Penn Station. Yeah, baby, we roll deluxe on our short trips. FYI, Amtrak does everything short of actual anal rape to keep you from taking their trains that could be imagined. The Amtrak fare from New York to Philly (a 1.5 hour trip by plague infested horse or crawl) is close to $70 per head, and that just was so morally offensive I couldn't handle it. Sorry.

The plan was to take NJTransit to Trenton, SEPTA (South-East-Pennsylvania-Transit-Authority, I think) light rail in to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, and then another SEPTA train out to the Club In Question (thanks to Tom Pyncheon for my pompous use of semi-appropriate use of capitalization.) So far, so good. Except, apparently in places other than New York things on rapid transit are not quite as they are in the world in which I grew out of short pants... to wit: someone got on our goddamned delayed SEPTA train, insisting to the conductor that they be allowed to look for the person they had been waiting for who hadn't gotten off the train.

That was not a typo. This guy (and I cut him more slack, as he had a very thick South Asian accent, and was oldish) actually thought he would be allowed to look through the entire train for his missing party.

Apparently, even Philly conductors don't conscience that kind of absurdity. Sadly, though, our VERY tight travel plan left us missing the connection in Philly to the wilds of whiteyland by a grand total of 2 minutes. So, Tigger called her Padre and had him come in to meet us in front of the City Hall in downtown, and bring us out to our Fahncy Wine Tasting, which I frankly had been on the train to arrive at for several hours and didn't want to miss. Don't think that I didn't want to get there.

I always have a bit of a disconnect when I get out of a method of transport in a different town. It was very weird to stand around in the middle of Philly, with the spotlight broadcasted logo from the Commerce Bank branch twenty feet behind me muddling the pavement beneath my feet. So, eventually, after running around from corner to corner and dodging buses where we finally arranged a meeting, we got in the car and made our way out to dinner.

Don't expect some awful Top Chef inspired sommelier-infused discussion of dinner.

The pork tenderloin was spectacular, the second Riesling was quite special. That's the extent of my commentary. (There, are you happy?)

For what it's worth, I am of German extraction, by a degree of one generation (me) born on this soil. So, the fact that it was a German-food and German-wine tasting is partly why I was asked to come, perhaps, but I'm not sure.

So, fast forward to Saturday morning, where we got up, and got on the bus back to New York.

I hate buses.


It was, after all that, not a bad trip all the same. There was a pair of middle-aged women sitting across from us who were apparently quite powerful...

Dumpy: I'm just glad I'm a clairvoyant, I couldn't handle being a medium.

Scrawny: I think so too, but why?

Dumpy: Well, as a clairvoyant, I see things when I close my eyes, but as a medium you are just hearing the voices all the time.

Yeah. I was on the bus from Reading, PA with a couple of VERY powerful women. Why they were stuck on the damn bus with their remarkable powers is unclear to me, but there they were. And they couldn't help shouting out wimmyn encouraging praise to the female bus driver as she aggroed her way through the Lincoln Tunnel traffic ("Nicely DONE!" "Perfect!" etc., put it in context, motherfuckers, it was ridiculous). Ouch.

Finally, we arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

I don't know why, but every time I've been to a major bus station I've seen at least one person who has had the shit literally (perhaps) beaten out of them in the past twenty-four hours. This time, it was Shuffling Guy With Severely Swollen Left Orbital and Eye Region Subsequent To Severe Fist Trauma. He wasn't even asking for money, just sort of stumbling around the main entrance of the terminal.

Something about buses, man. They just attract darkness. Maybe it's something related to carrying around a chemical tank filled with feces that is a few steps from the gates of hell, but I'm not sure.

All this was really beautifully topped off by the dude in the wheelchair who had made a cap for his amputated leg composed of truncated soda bottles stuffed with bright orange plastice. Hurray. Tigger walked almost into him as I widely flanked the wonder of modern refuse technology. I tried to stop her, but she was already being blocked in by a severed leg and a sere, empty planter before I could stop her. I did my best, but it was just not enough to stop a momentary inward clenching of forearms and 180 degree fear-swivel.

Tomorrow, perhaps a discussion of tie knotting techniques that no-one will read. RIGHT ON!

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