Thursday, April 19, 2012

Twere a Distant Solstice

An adventure, just like in Paris, only it was a little closer. For a change, let's begin at the beginning.

Since neither of us wanted to drive through the Holland tunnel and, over the Bayonne bridge, (horrific even when the conditions are perfect). We (matty's old, my new friend David), decided we would take public transportation to see Matty's new musical, Goddess Wheel, at The Snug Harbor Cultural Center, on Staten Island. (yes, all the details are important). The show was wonderful so, well worth the effort.

We met at the Ferry, he was standing under the second A, in the enormous sign that announces you have arrived at the dock. It's been a long time since I was on that Ferry and it was going to be a pretty exciting adventure. The trip over was easy and simple -- subway to the ferry, ferry to the Staten Island terminal, short bus ride to the cultural center, off the bus, through the gate, short walk to the reception, lovely fruit, over to the theater, enjoyed the show, ready to head back to the Ferry exactly the way we came. Not going to happen.

It was raining, we had to walk around the building we had come through, over to the gate to catch the bus. The gate was locked. All the gates were locked on the bus side of the center. Walked back around the building, hoping to find an exit or maybe a cab. ( In our dreams). We did find the parking lot, there were no cabs, it was raining harder. Here's where it get's like Paris (and yes, here comes the name dropping).

I was helping to plan a Presidential trip to France, and as I always did when I was in Paris, my accommodations were at Ambassador Harriman's official residence. Needless to say, it was glorious. My suite overlooked THE gardens. Do I need to describe how elegant, how amazing, how, how, how.... I think not. Anyway, it was summer solstice. There was an area in Paris where hundreds of musicians gathered and there was a festival on the streets -- many streets. Along with the Ambassador's assistant and another female diplomat, we ventured on the Metro to this outdoor party. We sang and danced and ate and celebrated the beginning of summer with thousands of new Parisian friends. At about 12:30am, we decided to start back to the Embassy. No one told us that the Metro shut down at 1:00. So, there we were, somewhere on some street in Paris, at 1am. It had started to rain and wherever we were, there were no cabs, no people, no nothing. There was no choice but to start walking. And walking and walking and more walking. Now it was 3am. Still raining, still no one. And then, there were lights, an actual vehicle approaching. I ran into the street hoping whomever was driving would not run me over. Although, by that time we were so tired we would have welcomed an ambulance.

The teacher who rescued us was curious about why three American women were walking alone, in that section of Paris, in the middle of the night. He was especially interested in our destination -- the Ambassador's residence. There was really no way to explain the Adventure, especially the hitch-hiking (which was obviously not an acceptable means of transportation for diplomats in France -- ooh what would Pamela have thought, and we promised one another that we would never tell the story. But it was simply too amusing not to share. So what does this have to do with Staten Island? Well, in desperation I once again threw myself into the street and hailed a car to take us to the Ferry.

We waited about a half hour for the boat. We walked to the subway, but the 4 and 5 weren't running. We hopped aboard a West side #1 train. At 42nd St. I tried to change to an E, to continue uptown but east. The E was not running. I wandered back to the crosstown 7, waited for 10 minutes (because now it was raining and late into the night). Prayed that the 6 would still be running, (it was), took it to the 51st Lex stop, and finally arrived home a mere 4 hours after leaving the theater.

All in all, it was a lovely evening. And if nothing else, it gave me a great excuse to finally tell the solstice story. We’re just sayin’.... Iris

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