Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweetie and Chey Have a RL Adventure

Sweetie and Chey Have a RL Adventure

Written 13 January, 2013

Yesterday Sweetie and I left her fortress of solitude (yes, yes, I know it's not much of a fortress of solitude if she let's her girlfriend hanging around, but I do the cooking, so she puts up with me) 30 miles outside New York and caught the train into the city. Our coach was a double-decker, my first, and I thought it was cool.

An hour later we changed trains at Secaucus (the only reason I can think of to ever go to that part of New Jersey) and in fifteen minutes we were at Penn Station.

Think people sleeping in the terminal, bad musicians playing pop standards, badly, people in all manner of dress, and one hundred different storefronts all selling cardboard pretzels.

We found our way to the subway and rode the 3 train to Harlem, where we were invited to a brunch for those associated with a book in which I will have a chapter. We grazed and chatted with a lot of mostly young folks for a couple of hours, and then took our leave.

There were a lot of soul food restaurants on the way back to the subway, but Sweetie, who had had a flu shot the day before, was feeling queasy, so I reluctantly faced away from the collard greens and ham hocks and descended to catch the 3 train again.

We disembarked at Times Square and caught the H train to 6th Avenue so we could check out the F.A.O. Schwarz toy store. It was all we expected. A doorman outfitted in a nutcracker soldier uniform bowed and opened the door for us.

Inside there was a profusion of stuffed animals, small, large, and huge, and then a Willy Wonka candy wonderland. Upstairs there were electric trains, magicians, hovering helicopters, and what has to be the world's best Lego display. There was a full-sized Batman a bounty hunter from Star Wars, and an F.A.O. Schwarz toy soldier.

There were any number of doll displays, dollhouses the size of small apartments, board games, fossils, mineral specimens as big as footballs, hula hoops, Erector sets, action figures, toy cars, yo-yos, and books of every description.

There were a lot of children present, and some had face-paint of the finest order. Others seemed to be in a daze from too much stimuli. I know I almost was.

Sweetie bought a deck of playing cards with Tim Burton cartoon characters on them, and I bought a three-pack of cardboard airplanes that return to your hand no matter how they're thrown (see the plain here).

On our way out I had to steel my reserve to walk past a display of giant Hershey bars.

Next door was the world's largest and only 24-hour Apple store. It was easy to spot: it was a giant transparent cube!

The store was way past crowded. At all times t least two hundred people were on the stairway into the entrance.The stair spiraled downward about fifty feet and had no visible means of support.

Since our knees were worn out from the many steps we had negotiated (New York is not the world's most accessible city, believe me!), we looked for an escalator. There was no escllator. Inside the stairwell there was a ultramodern elevator which consisted of a plastic tube and a disc to stand on, but it was out of service.

Sweetie pointed out a young man with an Apple log on his shirt and I told him we didn't feel up to negotiating the stairs. He directed us to another employee who led us into the adjacent General Motors building, through vacant halls, and down an escalator to the back door of the Apple Store.

Heading for the subway we passed a line of carriages at the south end of Central Park. Before I knew it Sweetie had engaged a hackney and we were riding through the park huddled under a blanket to ward off the cold.

It was the perfect time for a ride. We snuggled against one another and marveled at the fog that covered the top parts of the buildings.

There was nothing left to do but to go back to the Fortress of Solitude. Except--

"Are you hungry yet?" I asked, looking about for some place to eat. 5th Avenue was eerily empty of food pushcarts and storefront eateries. I needn't have worried.

"Still queasy," Sweetie said.

The last time I was in the city I had staked out an interesting looking deli on Times Square. We duly arrived at the Times Square subway stop, but decided to push on rather than having to buy another subway ticket.

Back at Penn we had a snack. I looked at all the cardboard pretzels and chose McDonalds. I was that hungry.

One McDouble later we rode the train to Secaucus, where we had to wait an hour and a half for a train home. Then, when we disembarked, the machine that would validate our parking ticket wouldn't accept my quarters because someone had plugged up the slot. Parking cost $2, but we had only one one dollar bill. I was ready to snap off the wooden bar so we could leave, but Sweetie prevailed upon me to first ride the elevator up to the mezzanine to see if there was another machine.

Fortunately there was, and fortunately the first machine hadn't timed out, robbing me of our only dollar. We were able to exit, and fifteen minutes later we were back at the Fortress of Solitude, exhausted.

And that was our big RL adventure.

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