Saturday, August 24, 2013

An Unexpected Turn of Events

Back on the Hampton Inn shuttle at the crack of dawn. Back to the airport for another mediocre breakfast of eggs with a side of eggs. Board for Newark. Disembark at Newark, collect luggage, jump on Airtrain, wait ages for train to Newark, switch to PATH train, zip to Grove Street.

Stop at the greengrocer for some delightful berries and lactose-free milk. I've decided I can have berries on my no-sugar plan. I've also decided I'll have lactose-free milk, since lactose has sugar and I am not trying to drive myself nuts, just trying to have as little sugar as possible.

I walk home. The day is stunning. Sunrise was stunning. The brownstone I live in on Hamilton Park is stunning. My apartment looks fantastic—Yancey and his family took great care of my (their) apartment.

Home is so beautiful this time of year. I realize I missed summer here.

But that's okay. I spent a summer in Mexico. I feel incredibly lucky, suddenly, to have had work where I could go abroad so often and even work abroad. To have traveled around the world twice, to have lived in Berlin, Australia, Barcelona, Uganda, Namibia, Kuwait, Cairo, and now San Miguel. To be a working writer/editor with plenty of freelance for the moment.

I stand in front of my building for a moment, grateful for all the opportunities I've had in life. My life has been far from normal and I've spent too much time complaining about being single when the truth is it is wonderful. I'm sure all you married people enjoy your lives too. But there is surely nothing wrong with mine.

I head in, as it clicks.

Being off sugar is making me weird.


Anonymous said...

I think a life less ordinary is a good thing. From reading your blog about your travels, you've definitely had a life less ordinary, envious even. Being in a serious relationship or married won't always make you happy, especially when you want to hike the Inca Trail or live in Queenstown for a bit when your significant other prefers to work on their career and/or wants kids. I guess a traveler is either happy traveling and adventuring alone, or can end up finding a partner just like themselves in that regards.

And sugar is hard to give up. It turns ordinary cocoa beans into heroin ho-ho's.

Alexander Rapp said...

Do you find the AirTrain+NJT Rail route from the airport to Newark Penn worthwhile? The AirTrain feels so cramped, NJT Rail is infrequent off-peak, and the $8.25 fare is awfully high for a three-mile trip. I usually take the NJT #62 bus direct from the airport terminals to Newark Penn for $1.50 (or sometimes the go28 if it comes first and then walk from Broad and Market to Penn). As far as I can tell it's only barely slower than the rail route, and with a late arrival or early departure it's sometimes the only transit option.

Marie Javins said...

I've had to reboot my mindset in the case of JFK, where a free bus ride turned into a paid train ride (though if I were really feeling cheap, I could walk from the Howard Beach stop into the paid parking lot, but I'm more lazy than cheap), but in Newark, I'm an Airtrain fan.

It's a different experience to when I lived in Manhattan. The Airtrain was just annoying then, because it got me nowhere near where I wanted to go (Alphabet City) and I'd just end up going up and down stairs in the subway, and still end up not real close to my destination (East 7th at the time between C and D).

I had two factors put me off the IKEA bus (which you have actually bothered to learn the number of, which I think we already know you're more thorough than I am) -- one was when I took it in the middle of the day on a weekday and it took forever. That only happened the once, so I didn't get enough experience to understand if that bus is always crowded during weekdays or if this was a random thing. Normally when I'd get the bus, it would be FROM the airport and would whisk me to Newark Penn in what felt like ten minutes.

The second was I started having reasons to carry more luggage. Like when I'd go abroad to stay in Kuwait or Cairo, and I'd have a bit wheeled bag full of office clothes and hard drives. Suddenly, escalators had a certain appeal. (Though the ideal escalator route is via JFK and Jamaica, with the E train all the way to World Trade. Falls down on the PATH end though.) So did taxis, of course, but there's a time factor and traffic to consider, not just luggage.

Now, I have a completely different experience with Newark than when I lived in Manhattan. If it's obscenely early or if I'm traveling for work, I take a taxi *to* the airport. That's only $25 from home and takes only 15 minutes or so.

That doesn't work in reverse, because a taxi from the rank at the airport is ridiculously priced. I imagine that's because no driver wants to wait in the long queue only to land a $25 fare to Jersey City when everyone around them is scoring a big fare. But I don't know. I can book a taxi, but taxi companies don't seem to have worked out yet how to computerize arrival times (exasperating), and if your flight is late, they split.

I don't take taxis if I only have one bag and it's not off-hours though and this is where the choice of IKEA bus versus Airtrain comes in.

I take the PATH train, and at Newark on the way home, I only have to walk across the platform and sit down. It's great. And if you're lazy and dragging a bag, it's really really great.

But the bus is definitely cheaper, and when I stumbled onto it years (a few decades?) ago, it was an accident. I was waiting on an Airlink jitney in the early nineties, before they invented the Airtrain. And a regular bus pulled up, signed "Newark Penn." It got me there in no time and was dirt-cheap. A delightful discovery in the years before the Internet gave us all kinds of easy access to info.

Alexander Rapp said...

When I was really a cheapskate I used to take the Q10 bus from Lefferts Blvd A to JFK to save the AirTrain $5. If you'd otherwise be taking the A to Howard Beach AirTrain the Q10 theoretically isn't much slower, but it sometimes gets stuck in traffic, and from most of Manhattan the E to Jamaica and AirTrain is a fair bit faster than either. So now I take the AirTrain from Jamaica; I travel enough that I buy $25 10-trip Airtrain metrocards, which make the fare seem more reasonable.

Marie Javins said...

That's a bargain. I didn't know about the 10-trip cards. But that makes sense--lots of people have to go to work at the airport.

I guess all this information will be extraneous for me for a while. No travel for me for the rest of the year, and probably not until mid-2014. I'll have to go to the Poconos or something.

Alexander Rapp said...

The catch with the 10-trips is they expire after a year.