November 24, 2005
Planes, trains, and automobiles (or buses, trains, and cabs)The buses from Chinatown were full. Arriving was like arriving at the Mad Hatter's tea party. Shouts of "No more tickets" filled the air. We stood in the cold hoping for a cancellation. Buses were leaving every 15 minutes, 28 in all. "There's an Alan Tam concert," someone explained. It wasn't even about Thanksgiving. One person asked where the buses to Foxwoods were. Another person said they were all full and had already left.
I ended up the de facto translator as I gathered information from various conversations. "Ten o'clock," one attendant said. "The 10 o'clock bus have many seats." I waited until everyone on the 7.15 bus had confirmed their seats. The attendant offered a bag of pears to everyone who was waiting. "It's too heavy," she said. "Take one." When people demurred, she insisted. "Take one!" Everyone did.
The attendant for the 7.30 bus said she might have four seats, but it would depend on which bus they sent. I waited next to her. Soon the streets became as crowded as the sidewalk as buses arrived. The police fought to keep them from idling for too long; it was a losing battle. I followed the 7.30 attendant to her bus. She climbed onto the bus and checked her clipboard against the seating arrangement. She shook her head. I thanked her and called home. I could take the Metro North train to New Haven or take Amtrak in the morning to New London. My father said it might snow after midnight. He told me to take Metro North.
I hopped a cab to Grand Central Station. The driver asked if I were going to Connecticut. "East Lyme," I said. He told me he knew it. He was driving back to Connecticut himself. To Norwich to visit his wife and two daughters. "My bitches," he said. His wife worked as a dealer at Foxwoods, he explained. After dropping me off, he was going to take 1st Avenue, stop at a gas station to eat dinner, and then head home. A bag of Chinese food cooled on the seat next to him. I wondered if he were offering me a ride.
I asked him if he drove down from Connecticut every day. "No," he said. He said he lived with his brother and mother in the city. He spends his weeks in New York. He said his wife shouted too much.I asked him how long he had been married. "Eight years," he told me. His daughters were two and five.
When we reached Grand Central, I wished him a Happy Thanksgiving and got out of the cab. I thought about asking him to drop me off along his way home, but I couldn't remember where Norwich was in relation to my house, and I was uncertain of his route. He thanked me for the tip then turned his sign off. I shouldered my bag and entered the station.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Posted by eku at November 24, 2005 8:07 AM