kit and nate. april 9th (and 10th).

in light of recent backtracking, i'd like to chronicle the road trip story of all road trip stories.

this is the story of saturday.

i woke up fucking AMPED. friday was a late night. i came home from happy hour, and was up until i think like 430. no sleep for this kid. i had to be up by 11 to leave by noon, but i slept in until maybe 9 or something. i couldn't go back to sleep, so i got up, made coffee, showered, shaved, and got ready for my new york road trip adventure.

i wore a skirt for the first time since the last warm day of fall, and the adorable tee nina gave me in march when i came home to tell my parents i'd already left ever. it's so worn and comfortable, adorned with heart made of stars, complete with a smiling saturn. just the cutest.

i packed a pair of jeans, because i knew i'd be warm in the car, but also knew from experience that, as the sun sets in the big apple, it gets cold quickly. the sun is always blocked, unless you're in the middle of a street or in central park.

i was proud, because it would be my first trip to the city alone. i told nate the night before that i was going, and hoped to pin him down for lunch between his day and night job. i didn't think our schedules would mesh, and had decided that i'd remain calm no matter what. and in case of emergency panic, packed my ativan.

we left at noon, late as per the usual. i promised kit to get her there for the ceremony at three, and dropped her off at the store to buy stockings and hairspray. i filled the tank and picked her up, and we were off.

we relived 'romy and michelle' with a 'look out tuscon, here we come!' moment. and i started my spring mix feeling smitten with a beautiful 60 degree day and crushed out with the music i'd lined up.

we blasted music, i sang every song, she sang some, at the top of our collective lungs.

it made me realize how lucky i am to have her, and with our typical 'hetero hetero' chant, told her i loved her and that i was so happy to drive her and go to new york city for the day.

by some fucking miracle, i pulled up at the church, without missing a single turn (no small feat when driving in new jersey - any trip there is plagued with getting lost), at precisely 302 pm. i was proud and relieved, and she was excited.

i downloaded the mta app for my iphone and googled park and rides for the path train into the city in the church parking lot, taking a minute to collect my thoughts and feelings.

i decided then to park in hoboken and go from there and raced wildly towards the coast.

i came over a hill in newark, and was somehow surprised to see the city looming so close in my path. i squealed out loud, turned the music up louder, and followed iphone verbatim.

something bad happened as i got into hoboken. i guess i missed a turn, but maybe the directions had told me to turn on a street that didn't exist. i don't know which. i told myself not to worry as i passed the entrance to the holland tunnel. i was right there.

but i passed the street i was to turn on, and ended up overshooting. and had to sit in dead stopped traffic at the tunnel entrance for half an hour. by the time i figured out where to turn, and waited my turn through countless light cycles, it had been a whole hour (double what it was supposed to take to get there). i found a flat rate lot and parked. but when i went to pay for the ticket, no one was there, and i saw the sign that said i had to be out by 6, which was not going to happen.

she'd asked to be picked up at 8, so i had three hours to get into the city and back out again.

i found a parking garage at the grove street station, and was tired of circling for flat rates to find that they all closed at six. i said, 'fuck it' and parked, assuming my little jaunt into new york would cost like $60 or $80. i didn't care at that point. i just wanted in.

so i took a picture of my car, the floor i was on, the spot i was in, and the outside of the garage, in case i forgot in the three short hours. so i wouldn't panic upon leaving.

i thought that was a pretty smart move. and it did pay later.

i went underground, and read the signs, nervous already. it said the train was arriving on track one, so i waited while all the jersey kids filled the station to head in.

or so i thought.

the train pulled in on time (also a miracle for mta and the path), and i got on. i found a seat between two indian dudes, and played with my phone, which had no signal, while we moved forward.

we got to the second stop, which said 'hoboken', and i got this sinking feeling in my stomach. all i could think was 'holy fuck! i'm going the wrong way!!' and had that overwhelming feeling that i need to get off the train. a junkie got on, maybe 45 but looking much older, with knuckle tats and neck tats and rolled back pinhole eyes. he stood a little too close to me, and spoke to me. i ignored him, with earbuds in place, and he left me alone.

but the indian dude next to me decided it would be awesome to sit with his legs wide apart, touching mine and pushing against mine. i gave him a dirty look, like, 'dude. really? i'm tiny. and squished in. do you have to be touching me??'

the junkie was talking to everyone, and i thought about asking a nice jersey lady if i was in fact headed into new york. the train stopped somewhere else in jersey and i decided to get off at the next stop, no matter what. then the train changed direction. which is a bit like getting into an elevator and pushing the button for a floor above you, and the feeling in your stomach when it drops instead.

i was wigging out. trying not to only made things worse. and trying to appear as though i wasn't freaking out at all was a taxing chore.

the train stopped at christopher street and i ran off. halfway up the stairs, a confused woman with two kids asked if we were in new york or new jersey and i said i didn't know. but wanted to know also. a nice looking new yorker came down the stairwell and i apologized for stopping him, asking which state we were in. he said new york, and i literally jumped up and down, telling the woman, and headed up and out of the station.

new york city never looked so good to me.

i texted kit and nate that i'd made it and nate texted me right back, asking where i was. he said he was on his way walking, and that he would be to me in 20 minutes, to stay put.

so i went on a two block shopping adventure up to bleeker street and bought the cutest ring in the history of cute plastic rings, and a little heart covered changepurse to help me keep loose change and subway tokens organized.

i went back to my corner and waited.

a pretty girl asked me which way to macdougal and i told her i didn't know, but let her use my phone map. nate said to head back up to bleeker, so we walked together, chit chatting about being lost in new york. i told her it was my first adventure and that, luckily, my friend was coming to rescue me. she turned to her street as nate walked up.

excited jumping up and down hugs later, we were on our way to strand. i had arrived within walking distance, but pressed for time, took the subway there. it was my top priority.

i love strand. seriously, love. i can't go to new york without going, and usually buy two or more books that collect dust while i'm there. the last time, i found 'cruddy', my all time favorite book, and had given it to the writer, so i was there to re-buy my own copy.

i also wanted 'zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance', as listed by a million boys on dating site.

i found the only copy of cruddy, on sale, because i was meant to buy it, and zen, and saw a hemingway on sale for $3.50 and nabbed 'for whom the bell tolls', because i'd loved 'the sun also rises'.

and let me tell you. if ever in new york, looking for hot boys to stare at, just go to strand. everyone who works there is pretty and tattoo laden, most of them with glasses. and the customer base is also pretty.

nate and i have the same taste in boys, so we were grabbing each others' arms and making purring noises at all the same times.

we left and went to union square. i was already freezing and in need of a bathroom to change in. we people watched in the square for a bit, and headed to a starbucks to use the bathroom.

we talked while we waited in a line for thirty minutes, i changed and peed, and kit texted to say things were running behind, that i had another whole hour.

so i took him to dinner.

we caught up about life, and it was the most real conversation time i've ever had with him. he tends to be very private about his problems, even though i'm an open book, and it was awesome to sit across from him and just listen to stories that weren't hype and drama.

i felt great, told him about my date night, and made small talk while we ate at the same restaurant brownies had gone to with us the last time i was there, and that nate and i had gone to another trip as well. it's a couple blocks from strand, a great burger joint with awesome fries. so it does the trick.

we finished dinner, and he took me to the train station nearby. he caught his train and i caught the path back out of the city after a whirlwind three hour afternoon with an awesome friend.

as per the usual, i went in with an empty backpack, just a spiral sketchbook and my paper journal. i'd anticipated sitting in central park and writing for hours, before i knew i'd see him. and i came back with a bag so full it actually busted open on the street walking to the parking garage to get my car.

i was trying not to sweat how much i'd have to pay to get my car out, and had another mini panic when i realized it was a cash only ticket booth. i gathered all my cash, fearing the worst, and put my ticket in.

imagine the elation when it said $15. i was beside myself, cramming money in and saying i'd never go to new york by car another way. it was the best relief.

i got my car, which hadn't been broken into, and plugged in kit's address for the reception.

and that is precisely where all my worst fears came true.

kit had sent the exact address in a text. and i typed in the name of the resort and had iphone find it for me.

i followed the directions, while she texted me to say that she was eating and nearly ready.

i was so proud that i'd gotten out of the city and into my car with time to get to her, and not make her wait.

but when i got to the 'destination', there was nothing in sight. i zoomed in and drove in circles where it told me she was. and she was nowhere to be found.

so i called to say that i wasn't to her yet, that i was lost and had no idea where i was, but that iphone was telling me i was there.

she asked someone standing around, who told her i was about 30 minutes south. so, panic stricken, i got onto the highway and headed north, editing the route from my current location.

drove for about 30 minutes, iphone telling me i was there yet again. only i was in a different place. and again. she was nowhere to be found.

thing about new jersey is this... the highways don't have signs on them. so say you take a wrong turn and don't know it. and you keep driving. there's no interstate sign to say, 'hey. you're on this road. headed this direction.'

they should take a note from 95 north, and just fucking post the shit.

by that time, she'd been waiting for me for an hour. she was getting pissed, and i was in such a state that i turned the music off, didn't have a cigarette, in an effort to focus on finding her, and drove.

i kept thinking i was on the wrong road, but there was no way to verify that. so i kept pulling off the road, in a sweaty panic, to edit my route from the current location.

by the time i made it to the road she was on, and was at my destination yet again, she was nowhere to be found. and i fucking lost it. head in hands, crying in a parking lot of some different resort by a different name, begging her to ask someone if they knew where i was and how to get to her.

the other thing about new jersey is this: there are number names and word names for all the streets. we have that a little, too. but nowhere here does it only give you one of the two for reference.

i knew i was on 202. but she kept saying morristown. and i kept plugging the same shit back into iphone and finding out, every single time, that i was 30 minutes away from her.

at this point, there was no calming down. she had been waiting for two full hours for me to find her, and i was still not there. she finally asked someone the exit from the highway, which i was at the entrance of, and once i had the exit number, i knew i could get to her.

literally, i had passed this exit at least four times. up and down, up and down. thirty minutes each time, killing half a tank of gas, and half the night, and all of my already fragile brain.

the epic roadtrip of awesomeness was now a fucking pit of misery.

but i found her then, and we headed back.

we'd both had a shitty two hours, and i guess about two thirds of the way back, we were able to laugh about it.

but it was fucking horrible.

i know it had to have been operator error. because the next day, perfectly calm in bed, i looked at the map history for all the routes i'd plugged in. and every single one had been the exact address she'd given me. i don't know what went wrong, but as is always the case, once i start to panic, i can't make correct decisions. and i start second guessing myself.

and that night? it made for the worst of epic disasters.

i will die not knowing what the fuck went wrong. or how far from her i ever actually was. i'm sure that, at more than one point, i must have been super close, and just not known it.

the whole time i was looking for her, contractor was texting me and calling me because he had picked up some stuff for me, and wanted to drop it off. i'd originally told him i'd be home around 10, which became 11. and he was texting me at 10 while i was lost and panicking, saying he was on his way.

and while, driving the wrong way on unmarked roads, i was only able to text him back, 'no.' and 'three hours.'

he called as we were pulling into a rest stop. kit answered and talked to him for a bit while i nearly flipped the car trying to make the turn.

this is precisely why i don't talk and drive and text and drive. i felt horrible, because he'd made a trip to home depot for supplies, to come over and work on the tub for a bit before going to another job late that night. and i couldn't comprehend what had just happened to me, much less communicate it to him. luckily, kit and i were laughing it off at that point, and he got a kick out of the story, telling me he'd be by the next chance he had. sunday wasn't an option, so it would be monday or tuesday night before we had mutual time to get it fixed. (it ended up getting fixed monday - as read about in other post)

it was just awful. the whole reason i was so hellbent on working with him that night was because the tub had been clogged for over a week. to the point where, showering for work every morning, i was standing in someone else's shower water. it was so upsetting, and that was going to be the only thing we did that night.

so not accomplishing that, paired with arriving home at 115 in the morning fucking frazzled and stressed, was enough to make me cry. i'd cried twice on the way back, and walked into the house and directly to the fridge for a belgian tripel. i was dying for a beer, and beyond exhausted from all the anger and frustration and panic and emotional overload.

i was still awake at 430 that morning, on beer number two, before taking nyquil to force my body to shut down. it had no intention of sleeping.

and was i ever surprised when i woke up at fucking 1245 the next day.

i woke up thinking it was 8 or something dumb, refusing to look at the clock. but my brain woke up and i couldn't pass back out, and looked. and literally yelled, 'holy fuck!' and jumped out of bed.

how i didn't wake up with a coffee migraine is beyond me. but starting to drink a coffee then is a horrible thing to do. much less, waking up feeling nauseous from sleep deprivation makes for a total lack of coffee appetite.

i only drank about half of one before heading to favorite bar to have brunch with kit. brownies called as i was leaving, and we caught up for about half an hour while i circled for parking.

kit was late to a gathering and i ended up drinking a belgian tripel (trend much?) in about 15 minutes flat. and walked dizzy back to my car at 3 in the afternoon. wondering how i was going to get anything done when i was mostly drunk on an empty stomach after waking up two hours earlier.

i talked to nina while i drove home, and for an hour in total.

i felt awful, but came home. mom was flying out, so we talked for the last hour she was here. i say mom, but i mean mike's mom. she became mom the first day she arrived, and became a real mom by day ten when she left.

i told her goodbye before she was actually leaving, in an effort to not cry and get all sappy. she was truly a joy to have around, and fed me lots of mom meals and mom sweets while she stayed in the house during the day, while we were all at work. we talked a lot over late night cigarettes about former husbands and missed opportunities. about men, about women. about motherhood. we covered all the bases, and i know that she'll be back. it's the only reason i didn't cry.

kinda like when i say goodbye to aubree. it's never goodbye. it's always 'see you soon'. and that way, we can mostly avoid boo hoo cryfests.

while they packed her up and went to the airport, i cleaned.

it was supposed to be a vacuum party, where i vacuum everything. and then mop.

but i started in the bathroom, and what i ended up doing was organizing the closet, breaking down the huge baker's rack that was in there, carting it down to the basement, and reorganizing everything onto the small rack, to make room for storing all sorts of other things.

in the time it would have taken to vacuum and mop the whole house, i'd neatly tucked everything into the closet. so it didn't really look as though i'd done anything at all. it was super disappointing, but at the same time felt good to know that i knew where everything was. i got all the tools and supplies out of there, and all the stuff that didn't belong in there out. and hid everything in the closet, so now it's just a big open bathroom instead of a junked up pile of mess.

then i commenced vacuuming. and i got everything done. mike was going to mop behind me, but at that point it was already 11. i was disgusting from going up and down the stairs and carting everything into the cleared out basement.

all of ever's stuff got stuck down there. which made me feel both good and bad.

bad, because i doubt he'll ever get any of it. good, because i don't have to see it and think of his dumb ass every fucking time i walk into the dining room.

all told, it was a super productive day. it only sucked when i was still up at 2, and had set the alarm for 7 for work on monday.

at 11, i was almost sleeping when aubree called to talk about mom and dad. then i was talking until after 12, and wired awake until 2. most likely from the coffee i'd had at 2. getting old fucking SUCKS.

so that was the story of kit and nate. the new york adventure and road trip that i could have lived without enduring the second half of. seriously, when we got to the wedding, i was on top of the world. and by the end of that night i felt like i had never been lower. flattened by a city bus brand of badness.

but we survived it. and got home each in one piece. it was the best time i've ever spent with nate, and i only wish that i could have spent more time with him.

and i learned a few valuable lessons. none of which i will soon forget.

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