That Married Dude I Made Out with Last Year? SAW HIM AGAIN

Last November I met a man on a train. Let’s call him James. James and I bonded all the way from New York to Connecticut, and then we passionately made out in his car like a couple of horny high schoolers until we decided to cut the party short due to the fact that he had a wife whom — no big deal — he almost forgot to tell me about. It was a debacle, and really you should just read my entire original post about it to get the full effect before continuing, because OH MY GOD – I saw him last week.

I was stuck at the train station due to a delay and decided to treat myself to a large iced coffee to ease the pain (because large iced coffees always ease the pain — they’re a lot like Vicodin and/or puppy therapy in that way).

As I approached the Dunkin Donuts stand, I noticed that there was a man with an effortlessly strong build standing at the front of the line in sharp tan suit pants and a white T-shirt. His suit jacket and dress shirt were cradled loosely under his hot right man-arm.

I’d so hit that, I thought to myself, apparently not requiring any knowledge whatsoever of what his face looked like.

Then he turned around and our eyes met.

AND IT WAS JAMES.

We hadn’t seen each other since the night we met, so this was kind of a BFD. (That’s “big fucking deal” for those of you who actually put your educations to use and therefore don’t speak in profane teen girl abbrevs.) (Abreva?)

I immediately went into super-adrenaline mode and decided that I would just pretend I didn’t see James in front of me or that I did see him but had absolutely no idea who he was because I’m the type of person (in this imaginary scenario of me not recognizing him, that is) who just makes out with strangers on trains all the damn time and so trying to keep track of them would be like trying to keep track of the number of nipple rings at a Bear convention.

(Explanatory side note for straight people: Bears are large hairy gay men who are traditionally into body piercings and leather. And conventions, apparently.)

Our eyes met again as James stepped to the side to wait for his coffee and I moved to the front of the line. He looked nervous.

“Large iced coffee, please,” I said, trying to look as directly at the cashier as possible. “With milk only.”

I spoke loudly, immaturely hoping that the sound of my voice would initiate some kind of nostalgia or arousal or regret or why-isn’t-Nic-saying-hi-to-me?-ness (emotion of any kind, really) in James.

I wanted him to notice that my outfit was similar to the one I wore the night we met seven months ago – a button down shirt, slightly open at the chest with two chains of contrasting lengths showing (because yes, on Tuesdays I dress like the owner of a pizzeria). I also wanted him to notice that I had a bunch of new half-hippie/half-someone-who-hangs-out-on-boats bracelets on my left wrist, so I made sure to really stick out my hand as I reached forward to pay the guy behind the counter.

Why did I so desperately want James to notice everything about me?

Maybe it was just my way of acknowledging how bizarre it was that last fall we shared an intimate moment – a moment that I’ve since written and talked and thought about at length; a moment that has been the subject of blog posts and essays and bar conversations and marathon phone calls and so much else – and here we were pretending to be total strangers.

It felt rather dishonest.

But it was all either of us could bring ourselves to do, I guess. And so James and I continued to stand there in awkward silence until we each got our respective cups of fuel for the morning.

“Thanks,” I said to the DD guy.

“Have a good one,” James told him.

And then we each sped off in directions so completely opposite that anyone watching would have never known we were both going to the exact same place.

I couldn't really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here's me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There's a message here somewhere, maybe.

I couldn’t really think of a good picture to accompany this post. So here’s me squatting on a rock during a hike a few weeks ago. There’s meaning here somewhere, maybe.

P.S. It just occurred to me that, when left open to interpretation, the last line of this post could totally make it sound like I was insinuating that James and I took roundabout routes to the men’s room and then gave each other blowjobs in the handicap stall or something – and I’d just like to clarify that that’s not what happened at all. I just meant that, you know, we were both commuting into the same city. There was probably some underlying metaphor there, too. I didn’t need to clarify any of this, did I?

P.P.S. How gross would it be to give a blowjob in the stall of a train station bathroom? How gross would it be to do anything that involves heavily breathing through your nose in a train station bathroom? Just, ew.

P.P.P.S. No judgment, though, if train-station-bathroom-blowjobs are your thing! To each his own.

P.P.P.P.S. But still I probably wouldn’t share a drink with you.

P.P.P.P.P.S. Unless that drink was a vodka gimlet. Or a Guinness. Or a White Russian. Or a jalapeño margarita. You know what? Never mind.

 

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Commuter Chaos on the Metro-North Akin to the Titanic (Or Not)

Because I live in the Northeast and therefore operate under the assumption that the world revolves around the tiny little bubble that is the tri-state area, I’d like to go ahead and assume you are aware of the train situation going on between Connecticut and New York City right now.

But if my assumption is wrong and you actually are unaware, then:

  1. Can we trade lives? I’d love to not have to be in a tumultuous, codependent, and borderline abusive relationship with care about the Metro-North Railroad for once in my adult life.
  2. All you really need to know is that there was like… an issue. Or something. I actually don’t really know what the situation is myself; all I know is that there are very few trains running.

Though I stayed home for two out of the first three days of “COMMUTER CHAOS,” I did go into the city last Thursday. And needless to say, it was a bit of an odyssey.

After learning via the news that the early rush hour trains were a disaster, I decided to adopt a wait-until-the-rush-is-over-and-just-take-a-later-train strategy. (My need for sleep, coffee, a quick workout, some “me time,” and a bagel also factored into this decision, but that’s neither here nor there.)

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You can’t really tell here, but even the ticket machine was freaking out.

So. I got to the station at about nine in the morning, and y’all—it was bad. There were news crews and reporters lurking around every corner. People were angry and crazy and yelling at Metro-North employees with things like, “But I pay three hundred dollars a month to ride on this Godforsaken railroad!” and, “Please sir, can you just help me?”

It was all very Titanic.

Frankly, I was surprised when the Metro-North workers didn’t jump up on railings to scream “WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, I SAY!” while a string quartet cried in the corner and Kate Winslet jumped a lifeboat because she was a total idiot in love. It’s a good thing this wasn’t actually the case, though, because if it was then I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have “pulled a Billy Zane” and grabbed the nearest orphan while jumping to the front of the line to the next Grand Central express train and demanding, “Let me in. I’M ALL SHE HAS!” — and I’m pretty sure that’d be really damaging to my karmic inventory.

Anyway. In the midst of all this drama, I heard through the grapevine (because the schedule screens were broken, because of course) that there was a train to the city leaving soon from Track 4, so I promptly made my way to the platform and stood as close to the edge as possible, because I’m that guy.

As I waited, I noticed an NBC reporter bouncing around and unsuccessfully trying to get various commuters to talk to him as they went all Christina-Aguilera-in-“Beautiful”-DON’T-LOOK-AT-ME on him and cowered into themselves. Then my eyes met with his and he declared to the crowd, “This guy looks like he wants to talk!” and I proceeded to totally prove him right.

I’m a little fuzzy on the exact exchange, but here’s how my memory of it goes:

  • Reporter: How angry are you with the MTA? Isn’t this ridiculous? The trains could be down for three weeks! Are you infuriated?
  • Nic: Um… I’m optimistic! Wait. Should I be looking at you? Or directly at the camera? Or, like, down? OR UP? AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?
  • Reporter: Just look here. [He points at a thing.] You’re optimistic, really? How is that possible? Aren’t you late to work? You must be very frustrated.
  • Nic: Well, yeah. I’m going to be late… I’ll be happy if I make it in by noon. But really I think we all just have to deal, you know? It could be worse.
  • Reporter: Thank you. [Unspoken: You and your lack of outrage bore me.]

When I finally got to work – two hours late, mind you – I marched in confidently, convinced of the fact that I was the only Connecticut commuter to brave the wild and actually attempt to come in that day. But then I went to the desk of the first commuting coworker I could think of, and he was just like, calmly typing away on his computer.

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad,” he said to me after I asked him what his deal was. “I left at six this morning and drove to White Plains, parked at an obscure lot, walked ten minutes to the station, and took the Harlem line to Grand Central. In fact, I got here early. How about you?”

I stuck twenty pins into my mental voodoo doll of him and responded, “IT WAS MADNESS. IT WAS BASICALLY THE TITANIC!” and then I went all, Where the hell were these high-strung emotions when the reporter was interviewing me? on myself, and then I had a coffee and quickly became optimistic again. Because I realized that the Titanic was actually a legitimate tragedy, and the Metro-North is just an a-hole.

I think that’s called perspective?

P.S. My interview ended up airing on the five o’clock news, but sadly, I missed it. I did talk to a few people who saw it, though, and they confirmed that I didn’t have a double chin, so I’m going to consider the whole endeavor a win.

 

 

How I Got Screwed Over Royally by US Airways

With a recent travel experience of mine in mind, here’s a short list of things that I currently despise:

  • Birds (of all varieties – except turkeys, because those are delicious and Thanksgiving is very soon, and I voted last week – so I’m obviously a patriotic American)
  • US Airways (specifically, their nonexistent customer service skills)
  • Sketchy motels (and the plethora of STDs I may or may not have as a result of staying in one over the weekend)

Allow me to elaborate on the first two:

My flight down to Raleigh, North Carolina last Friday was cancelled because some asshole bird decided to fly into the plane’s engine earlier that morning.

Initially, the lady at the gate just said, “The plane has hit a bird, so the flight is cancelled.” She neglected to mention the whole engine thing, so I was of course imagining that a bird merely hit the windshield – which left me perplexed and made me go into a ridiculously unnecessary thirty-minute mental tangent exploring the concept of airplane windshield wipers and how they must really suck.

Then someone on Facebook told me it was probably a stuck-in-the-engine situation, and I proceeded to feel like an idiot.

I called US Airways’ cancellation line to find another flight, but was informed that there were no other US Airways flights to Raleigh that day. I almost started crying into the Bloody Mary that I had procured in the midst of all this drama – but then the lady on the phone was all like, “…let me check if we can book you on another airline for no additional charge,” and suddenly I believed in love again.

But then she was like, “Sorry, there are no flights at all,” and the tears resumed.

I re-booked for 6:30 a.m. the next day and was super depressed but quickly got over it with the help of my vodka/tear-filled beverage and Mariah Carey’s 1994 Christmas album (which I plan on listening to exclusively for the next forty or so days; don’t hate).

Moments later, my brother’s amazing girlfriend called me with the great news that she found an available one o’clock flight that day via Southwest Airlines!

Giddy as could be, I called back the US Airways number to let them know that they could cancel my 6:30 and book me on the same-day Southwest flight. But then my giddiness faded when the phone representative said, “Oh, I’m glad you were able to find a flight! But I can’t book that for you over the phone – you’ll have to go to the ticketing line and have them make the arrangements with Southwest at the actual airport.”

The original US Airways phone lady never mentioned this annoying caveat, but whatever, I thought, as long as my supposedly fat ass gets to Raleigh today.

I ran to the ticketing window and proceeded to overhear the guy in front of me get told that – for some unknown reason – they couldn’t put him on that same Southwest flight. I got all depressed again, but then my brother’s aforementioned lifesaving girlfriend booked the flight online herself and had the confirmation sent to my Blackberry e-mail.

When I finally got in front of the US Airways ticket lady, she immediately launched into the same “that flight’s not available” spiel that she had given my predecessor — and that’s when I melodramatically whipped out my smartphone and shoved my confirmation e-mail in her dream-shattering face while politely asking for a refund.

Then she was all like, “Well, we can’t reimburse you until you actually obtain your Southwest boarding pass and show it to us,” which actually made my day because of the implication that they’d need to see the cost of the Southwest ticket in writing so they could reimburse me as accurately as possible.

Then I hauled ass across the airport, waited in Southwest’s line, got my boarding pass, and hauled ass back to the US Airways woman, who was now facing a line of about eight people and actually told me to wait again.

When I finally showed my boarding pass to her, she didn’t even look at it and proceeded to refund me only for the cost of the original US Airways ticket – thereby rendering my whole ass-hauling boarding pass achievement totally unnecessary.

Then this exchange happened:

  • Me: What about the extra sixty dollars that I had to pay for the Southwest ticket?
  • US Airways Lady: We can only refund you for the cost of the original ticket you purchased with us.
  • Me: So, I get inconvenienced with a flight cancellation and I have to pay extra?
  • US Airways Lady: You are welcome to write US Airways a letter. Perhaps they’ll be able to compensate you in some way. Sorry. (In the least apologetic tone ever, mind you.)

What I actually responded with: Thank you for your help.

What I should have responded with: YOU SUCK, and so does the airline you work for. Y’all have been the opposite of helpful. If I wasn’t lucky enough to have someone checking flights from home and willingly booking me on last-minute replacement flights on a moment’s notice, then you would have delayed me an entire day for absolutely no reason. Furthermore, Y’ALL LIED TO ME about the availability of said replacement flight about three times. And to top it all off, you had me take a sixty dollar hit after all of this inconvenience. And your only peace offering is to tell me to write a letter about it?! No. I WILL NOT WASTE MY TIME WRITING YOU A LETTER.

…but I will waste my time writing you a strongly-worded, totally public blog post.

 

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