I always say that just because you have a party, it doesn't mean that you'll have a good time. You have to invite the right kind of people...the types that know that they ARE the party.
That's why when my family and I decided to commute into NYC to watch the Macy's floats get inflated for the Thanksgiving Day Parade, I was confident. My crew is awesome and I was sure we'd have a fantastic time.
Wait for it...
The LIRR was running on time and we smiled as we settled into our seats for the ride. Little did we know that there was a switch problem at Penn Station and service was suspended both into and out of NYC.
The train stopped a few miles outside of the Jamaica Station, and there we sat. Jamaica wouldn't accept us either, until other trains were cleared to make room. Finally we were allowed in, only to be told that there would be no train or subway service going any further west. So we hopped on an eastbound train and prepared to go home. My group moaned and groaned, but I said, "We have our best adventures when these screw ups happen...just wait for it."
|Ali, Bella, and Max|
The Three Stooges. They're just like us.
We squeezed into the tiny vestibule between cars, which meant that I was sandwiched between my son and and some older guy. Everyone's bodies jerked dangerously with the train... till we got to the Baldwin Station and the older guy took his hand off of my ass long enough to inform us that Penn Station was now up and running.
Like a scene from a Three Stooges episode, we decided a moment too late to get off the train we were on and head back to NYC. The sliding doors shut just as my daughter's boyfriend ran face first into the glass. He and I let out a loud, simultaneous, "UGH!" and somehow the Universe heard us. Miraculously, the doors reopened. All five of us jumped/pushed each other out and onto the platform.
Never give up.
Twenty-five minutes and a Dunkin Donuts bathroom break later, we were on our way to NYC. Our spirits weren't crushed when we finally got to the Thanksgiving Day floats and realized that we had missed the entire inflation process. But after we walked forty blocks looking for the Jackson Hole restaurant we swore was right across from the museum, our smiles faded and we finally gave up. That special something that always happens, didn't this time.
|What I do for fun|
But that's how it always happens...at our lowest point, when we least expect it...
I am thankful for...
As I stepped off the escalator in Penn Station, I was convinced that they had gathered in one place for my convenience and that the Universe--acting as host for the occasion--said, "Welcome!" and was pleased when my face lit up at the scene in front of me.Some were standing, laying or sitting on the floor, and a few had managed to morph into one person. The youth of America would not let me down. This would be a magical Thanksgiving after all.
I really don't like cliches or the same old predictable conversations, but in this case, I will make an exception because it is Thanksgiving, the cusp of the holiday season. In teh spirit of gratitude, I would like to make a list of what I was especially thankful for that night:
*Cellulite is the only acceptable way to accessorize gold sequined short shorts
*Shoes that are a size too big for you are the new stilettos
*Short skirts are fun, but not sexy unless your belly shows AND is big enough to cover the waistband of said skirt
* DO NOT even think about wearing those shorts or skirts without fishnets stockings that sport identical, homemade rips on both thighs
*If you are going to be sprawled out and drunk on the floor of Penn Station and still want to be considered "hip", you should NOT be wearing underwear
*Overheard as a bunch of drunk 20-25 year olds rushed to board the train to Babylon: "This is the wrong train...it's going to Babylon. We have to wait for the West Babylon train."
*Two girls stood in the aisle to the left of my seat. They ate churros and spit crumbs into my hair as they figured out where they should get off. They needed to tell someone where to meet them. Finally it was clear, "Babylon and Mineola are the same place....maybe he can pick us up there."
*The conductor told at least three people that they don't belong on this train because they are going to Port Jefferson, so he made them get off and switch at Jamaica.
*One girl stumbled through the narrow path between the rows of seats saying, "I don't know which way I'm supposed to be walking."
|Mineola and Babylon are the same place. Duh.|
3. TIMES ARE CHANGING
*I predict that texting may become obsolete. If the shrill voices of the future generation are any indication, there will be no need.
*Food too...the couple that I saw eating each others faces didn't seem to have the same dietary needs as everyone else who was inhaling pizza around them. Of course the pizza eaters vomited it all out of themselves either on the way to the train, or in the train itself, thus proving my theory that future bodies will not need actual food to survive.
*Independence is making a comeback. A girl who was almost being carried by five very patient bff's--so that she wouldn't fall down--was heard shrieking, "I lost all of my friends but whatever..."
4. BEING TOLD "NO" IS JUST NOT FUN
*A boy pushed his way through the passengers left standing in the aisle of the crowded train. He got to the conductor who stopped him and asked him where he was going.
Passenger: "I just want to get through here and throw my jacket on the floor."
Conductor: "You don't want to go back there. There's vomit all over the floor."
Passenger (stomping off angrily): "I hate this f%&#! train! I really do!"
|My face when someone tells me it's polite to put on underwear|
It's all about perspective.
Out of all of the trains that ride back and forth between Long Island and NYC every day, we happened to get onto the two that were delayed both going to and coming back from Penn Station. Amidst the wailing, shouting, and sharting, my crew and I tried to sleep till we got home. But if I had, I might never have been able to say thanks to so many of you:
Thanks to one passenger on the 1:42 am train--while I was asleep, if it wasn't for you screaming, "Why the f^@#* have we been sitting at the Baldwin Station for fifteen minutes?!", I might have been blissfully unaware of the delay and not woken up ten stops early.
Shout outs to the meatheads who were fighting in the first car. Thank goodness that had to be investigated, or I might have also missed sitting at the Merrick Station, while we waited for the police to come.
There is so much to learn from today's youth, and because of that, we have a lot to be grateful for! My kids walked away with some valuable lessons that night....the happiest place on Earth is not necessarily where all the churros are and how NOT to act!
CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Her first novella, SUKI, has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.
You can now order SUKI in paperback at http://hopress-shorehousebooks.com/cf-winn/ or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at email@example.com Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE.
Her blogs have been syndicated on multiple sites including The Masquerade Crew. More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.
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