Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Well, it could be that Howie and Maddie were warning me about the New York transit strike 162 days early ... they were in an RV (sort of a bus ...) and kept talking about how they were "retiring" (striking...? Retirement age was one of the issues that led to the transit workers' strike... )

So, basically I had the dullest prophetic dream ever. Maybe in the next dream my fourth grade teacher will appear to give me the lowdown on interest rates.

I stayed up until around 1:30 a.m. to hear if the strike was definitely going forward. It wasn't confirmed, but all the New York One reporters seemed sure it would happen. I set the alarm for six.

It seemed I was only asleep for ten minutes when the alarm rang. The strike was on. Oh joy. I took a hot, hot shower to wake up - what possessed me to stay up and watch the news? I could hear activity all over the building. We were all gearing up for an early day.

I dressed in layers, took everything that was unnecessary weight out of my backpack, and got ready to roll. I could have made a better shoe choice - all of my gym-type shoes were back in Baltimore. At 6:45, I headed to work.

"In my day, we walked to work. And it was freezing cold. And we were happy to do it! We didn't need any candy-ass subways to ride on...!"

It was about 25 degrees out, which wasn't so bad until the wind started blowing. Actually, I didn't have it so bad - I only had to walk 80 blocks (about 4 miles), straight down Second Avenue. I saw people crowding at bus stops, hoping to catch a cab. Everyone was much better behaved than you might expect - cabs were stopping to pick up extra people when they could, with no one getting too crazy about it.

Oh yes - there was one crazy person. Somewhere around 18th Street, a man next to me suddenly screamed out, "NO! Look OUT!" Ptoooo! He spit, and then continued, "Jack is in the HOUSE!"


Traffic was really zooming along - with no buses, and about half the normal number of cars, the streets (at least on the East Side) were surprisingly clear.

The walk is not bad - it took me about an hour and a half - I got to the East Village around 8:15, which left me plenty of time to defrost in a diner and have some breakfast. You don't realize how cold you've gotten until your body warms up again.

September 11th was actually on my mind quite a bit as I walked to school. That day, I walked home (when I lived on the Upper West Side). It was a very, very different sort of feeling in the city, obviously ... but there was still that air of "we're all in this together and we're dealing with it" New Yorker-ness on the streets.

This was the last day of the semester at school. Originally the first year graduate students were supposed to have their mid-year faculty evaluations, and present their ten-minute musicals, which they have been madly rehearsing. With half the students and one or two of the faculty unable to make it in, we cancelled the musicals, and just did the evaluations as best we could - patching in students and faculty on speakerphone. Ordinarily the semester ends with a big burst of energy as the students get to see one another's work (they all perform in each other's shows) but now, they just drifted away. It was an odd feeling - a little sad.

After the end of semester faculty meeting, I got ready to hike over to Penn Station to try and catch the next train to Baltimore. As it happened, my department chair's husband was coming to pick her up, and she offered me a ride over there. Once we were in the car, she said, "Actually, do you just want to go to Wilmington?" They were headed to their house in Delaware, and could drop me off at the Amtrak station in Wilmington, which is the stop before Baltimore - about 45 minutes on the train. It was a very quick drive - about two hours. I got to the Wilmington station, and a D.C.-bound train arrived about twenty minutes later. Perfect.

I was at home by 6:45. I got in the bath, wrapped myself in my robe, and was asleep by 9:30. What a day.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Tucsonan first: a "not so bad," 80-block walk in 25-degrees and wind! barb

4:37 PM  

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