We’ve all had our travel horror stories, haven’t we? Missing a flight and getting stranded in an airport for ten hours. Getting locked in the bathroom on a Peter Pan Bus. Arriving three minutes after your connecting train leaves. Or maybe that stuff has just happened to me…
Regardless, traveling can be a real pain in the butt, even if it isn’t a super long trip. In my case, an in-state trip from Long Island to NYC is enough to make me crazy, especially during the holiday season. So, without further ado, here is my travel-related-rant of the day:
About two weeks ago, on December 31st, my boyfriend and I scored last minute tickets to the see the Rockettes. Considering I hadn’t seen them since I was ten — an experience which was interrupted twenty minutes in by my brother stabbing himself in the eye with the 3D glasses — I was pretty excited to see the show.
What I was not excited for, however, was the commute. Since I was traveling from home, I had to hop on the good old Long Island Railroad, the LIRR, the place where dreams come true. Between the drunk old men that are inevitably wreaking havoc at pretty much all times of day, the all-too-frequent 20 minute delays and the hoards of people pushing you out of their way in Penn Station, I just knew I was in for a great time.
To make matters worse, it was New Years Eve, which meant double the people and by default, double the traffic and double the chaos. When my foot hit the pavement of the Penn Station corridor after a 90 minute train ride next to a 60 year old man who snored into my ear, the situation was even worse than my lowest expectations.
The corridor was clogged to the brim, people walking wall to wall, and pushing and shoving anyone who got in the way. Worse off, my Metrocard was out of cash, so I had to wait on that 10 minute long tourist line by the kiosks to refill it and when I finally got into the subway, I was delighted to find that my stop — only two stops away — was being skipped over because of a police investigation.
Great, I thought. The police are nowhere to be found when people break out into fights or someone is having a breakdown on the train. But when it’s New Years Eve, suddenly everything needs to be investigated.
Thus, instead of getting off at 50th Street as anticipated, I had to get off at 59th and walk the 9 blocks down. I could have switched trains and went to a stop nearby 50th, but after all I had been through, I was in no mood to wait underground for another unreliable, uncleanly metal cage of a vehicle to transport me back.
So I walked.
Fresh air will be good for me, I thought, mentally praising myself for such a healthy choice. But I quickly realized that fresh air was nowhere to be found, as 101 tourists were taking up every crevice in the sidewalk known to man. Cringing at the sight of the human traffic, and regretting my decision to forgo the subway, I made my way up the stairs and into the crowd.
Using my giant backpack as a shield, I pushed through the crowd and made my way down the block. I seemed to be making progress too — until I realized I had to stop roughly after every ten steps for traffic lights. Wonderful.
Ultimately, it took me 35 minutes to get through what should have been a 10 minute walk, and by the end of it, I was livid. In addition to the people and the cars, there were police everywhere and police tape covering every other street, blocking off the already narrow sidewalks. On top of all this, I hadn’t eaten in several hours, my backpack was giving me a condition equivalent to scoliosis, and I was sweating through my down coat.
When I reached my destination, I called my boyfriend immediately, shouting something along the lines of “WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?” I almost broke my phone when he told me to walk up two more blocks. There was absolutely no way whatsoever that I was budging another millimeter let alone two blocks.
After telling him to come to me, I planted myself against the wall of a nearby building, removed my backpack, trying to reestablish my sanity after the shit show of a travel experience I just had.
John found me in the corner of the street, eyebrows furrowed almost hard enough to form a uni-brow and lips pushed out in annoyance, and gave me a hug, which someone relieved all of the anger I had built up in the past hour and put me in a wonderful mood for the show.
When they spilled the contents of my bag during the bag check, however, I was back to square one with the anger thing.