small but useful victories

So hey I’m back from New York. I managed to take an entire trip away from home to two other states without getting in my car. That is, I walked to and from the public transportation that took me to and from various places. I had never done this before, mainly because it’s completely impractical, but also because I’d never had a good reason. The whole deal worked like this [enumerated for nerdliness, as well as a how-was-my-weekend report]

– Walked into town and took the Amtrak train to New York City. There are two trains I can take into NYC and this one is the closer-to-my-house one but also the longer-travel one [eight vs. five hours]. It was not bad. Side bonus: the other two people at the train stop with me were also at the conference I was at and will, I am certain, be my new friends. I had to buy my ticket from the conductor; if you live in Vermont, there is no way to buy a ticket in advance if you do not want it mailed to you. ($58)
– Took the subway from the train station out to dinner with my friends, then to ice cream, then back to where I was staying with my other friends. Subwayed around NYC. Took a bus once. The bus is a pain, requiring exact change and an awful lot of it. [no bills] ($20)
– Got the BoltBus from NYC to Boston. Cheap. Simple. Wifi. Outlets. ($20)
– Got a few rides: from the bus station, to Jim’s place, to my sister’s place, to the subway. (free, as in favors)
– Took the subway to the bus station in Boston. ($1.70)
– Took the bus from Boston to Hanover. ($25)
– Screwed around for a few hours. Was interviewed by some guy at the New Yorker. Got rained on. Took the cute three-times-a-day “short bus” from Hanover to Randolph. Walked home. ($3.50)

All in all not bad. The short bus only leaves three times a day at not that convenient (to me) times, but it worked and was siple. I’d never tried it before because the one that is outgoing leaves at some ungodly hour of the morning, but taking it back home didn’t involve getting up too terribly early. Yay for long bumbada bumbada trips. The entire time I was traveling, I was reading Paul Theroux’s book Dark Star which is about traveling from Cairo to Cape Town in Africa which made every dirty subway car seem like the Taj Mahal by comparison.


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Got back last night. The wedding was great. The train ride back from New York City was relaxing and lovely, watching the sun set over the Hudson River Valley. My train car was full of (I think) teenaged musicians going to some sort of summer music thing at Killington so all the luggage space was full of cellos and guitars and other large instruments. I got to spend the time captioning my photos from the trip and staring out the window, letting my voice recover. I managed to lose my voice sometime on Friday before all the festivities thanks to some sort of a summer cold, so while I had a great time hanging out with some of my favorite people — both at the wedding and also in Park Slope at my friends’ place — I did a lot of croaking and heard a lot of “you sound like Kathleen Turner” and “that must hurt.” Actually, my throat felt fine, it just functioned poorly, so having some time to rest it was great.

My photos of the weekend are here. The one above was the last one I took before I got home.

The longer I stay in Vermont, the more I’m a gawking slack-jawed tourist when I’m in the city. Look at these PEOPLE. Look how TALL that BUILDING is. I got to do a lot of late night subway riding. Look how LATE these people are AWAKE. I had tacos out in Redhook while watching a soccer game. OMG how TASTY is this food?! I paid equal amounts for a taxi ride and a fancy cocktail. Twelve DOLLARS. I got to hang out with ten friends at once and it wasn’t even a holiday. It sure was fun.

Then I got in my (unlocked all weekend – you know how this part goes) car to drive home from the train station. When I was just a few miles from home, driving along a road (yes it’s called notown, I know I know) that is bordered on one side by a river and one side by a pretty steep hill. I saw what I thougth was a horse in the road and slammed on the brakes, skidded a little and came to a stop next to a moose. We regarded each other for a while in the light of my headlights on the totally-abandoned-at-10-pm route 107 and then he trundled off. I’ve never been that close to a moose in my life.

I got home and my house smelled funny. After ruling out the usual suspects (trash, compost, dead animal in wall, mold, tray under fridge, leaving cereal bowl wiht milk out) I went down to the basement where I found out one of the windows was out of its frame. The basement was damper than usual, so damp that the dead spiders in their webs in the ceiling were growing a thin coating of moldy fuzz. Gross! I turned on the dehumidifier and headed off to bed only to be awakened by a different smell a few hours later that could only be the result of a skunk fight. I talked to my neighbor this morning and we discussed whether or not to call the trapper. I finally put the screens in the last windows that didn’t have them and I am airing the hell out of this place. I hope it helps.

I haven’t done the city/country back and forth thing in about four years now. Seattle is really seeming far to me (though I’ll be there next month for, you guessed it, a wedding!) but I could really deal with some regular city time like this. I’ll have to see what I can scheme up.