Coney Island. Sunday, September 23
“Little boys and girls trotted up alongside of me, jerking out from their parents’ hands, and kept their ears and noses rubbing against my guitar’s sounding board. While I was beating the blues chords and not singing, I heard side remarks:
“What is he advertising?”
“Isn’t he a card?”
“A Westerner. Possibly lost in a subway.”
- “Crossroads” from “Bound for Glory”
I can’t read a transit map. While sitting on my hotel bed, eating the crullers delivered with my late-night dinner last night, I study Google Maps on my iPad. The modern commuter: incapable of deciphering the tables and charts listed in the hundreds of pamphlets available … where? I’m not even sure where to find these unreadable brochures.
My odds of being murdered to death in the big city are significantly lower now that I can sit in my hotel room and figure out how to get where I’m going, instead of standing in front of a graffiti-covered public map, sobbing in frustration while being assaulted by everyone who walks by.
I could take a car service to Coney Island, but that seems wrong. I’ve decided to get over myself and take the bus, the closest stop five blocks from my hotel. Not only are the fabled NYC cabs a myth, but so are the subways and the idea that there are bus stops everywhere.
I can do this. I’ve navigated unfamiliar cities before. I can do this. Even though I don’t know how to pay bus fare, when to pull the cord, or any of those rules. I can do this. If I fuck it up, I have the number for Foofie’s car service on my phone. Foofie will save me, even if she’s not here.
Did I mention I can’t read a transit map? I somehow didn’t catch that those letters indicate trains, not buses. Trains, I can do. Going down the stairs, buying a $10 Metrocard (“My! My! Metrocard! Of fuck Guilliani! He’s such! A fucking jerk! Closed down! All the strip clubs!” – Yes, I sang this under my breath the whole time I was at the card machine, buying my card. Another perk of cities this size: I don’t have to suppress my constant out-loud conversations and concerts with myself.)
Surely getting from South Slope to Coney Island isn’t as easy as hopping on the D train and getting comfortable for 40 minutes.
Actually, it is.