I had decided to go to Philadelphia on Thursday and I am so glad I made that decision.
The morning was spent getting my act together, showering, deciding what to wear, what I needed in my little shoulder bag. I did my workout and then waited around for my unemployment check to arrive. I planned on taking the twelve forty-one train and my check came just in time. I walked down to Dover Check Cashing and got my money and then walked across the street to the little shop where I get my mobile minutes and once that was done, I stood on the Jitney stop for three seconds and caught the number four to the train station. That was serendipity and it looked like the day was going to go my way!
Until I got on the train. That's when the conductor explained that we will be disembarking in Hammonton to take a bus to Philadelphia because of track repairs. Just ducky. I nap a little and then get off the train and find out which bus I'm supposed to get on. There's general confusion between the passengers and NJ Transit crew. Neither knew what the hell we were doing and to top it off, there were wheelchair passengers so they had to accommodate them. More time wasted. Once everything got sorted out, we were off and I was texting Miss Patti pissy little messages about everything. Then I realized that the bus was brand-spanking new and quite comfortable and before I knew it, I fell asleep and woke up as we were pulling into Philadelphia. We made great time, actually better than if we were still on the train. My mood brightened considerably, that is until we had to do a rather lengthy jaunt around the damn train station, stopping at every light and negotiating the dense traffic surrounding the building. I didn't let it bother me and patiently waited until we stopped and I could get off the bus and into the city!
First things first, though and I bee-lined for the bathroom in 30th St. Station.
Once nature was taken care of, I exited that beautiful cathedral of transportation and began my adventure in the city of brotherly love.
First, I began ringing up everyone I knew in the city to see where my day might take me as I wandered down towards center city (pronounced: cennercity). Gary was working a double so I was miffed that I wouldn't be able to see him. After a brief conversation with my mom (she was busy cleaning and organizing the garage, of course) I found myself near my friend Charlies hair salon but I couldn't find him. I wandered through Rittenhouse Square and then began trekking down to old city and South Street. I got near my old address so I zigzagged through the streets until I hit Ninth and Pine and took a photo of my former residence. A flood of memories came back (I fell in love with Joe in my living room there) and the ghosts of times past followed me down South Street until I hit Manny Browns where I ducked in, bellied up to the bar and ordered a margarita! The cute, tattooed, pierced bartender made me a delicious beverage and I had a hankering to ring up my sister. Surprisingly, she answered the phone and even more surprisingly, she was also in Philadelphia, working at the preschool! I quickly downed my cock...tial and off I went back to Rittenhouse Square where I was going to meet here. I took a different route, one through Washington Park, a favourite place of mine for years. Revolutionary soldiers are buried under the flagstones and I remember their sacrifice every time I walk through that hallowed ground. I took Walnut Street all the way down to meet her. She and the teachers were taking the kids to Rittenhouse to play. When I got there and looked around I couldn't find them so I sat for a bit and listened to the jazz trio that was playing near one of the entrances. They were quite good and very, very young! I was impressed and I enjoyed sitting out on the benches and taking in the spectacular day. The park was crowded and my sister finally arrived, with all the little ankle-biters walking hand-in-hand down Locust Street. They were so damned cute! I re-met the teachers my sister works with and we stood by watching the kids play and making sure none of them wandered away. One of the little boys, Cooper, has a crush on my sister and was NOT happy seeing some guy chatting with her. He kept giving me the evil eye (well, as evil as a five year old can give) and I did my best to befriend him. Danielle and I caught up with the family gossip and I told her that our mom was thinking of coming to Atlantic City so maybe they could come together and we'd do the town. I walked them back to the school because I decided to visit my friend Shannon who lived a few blocks South from there.
I said good-bye to the kiddles, gave Danielle a peck on the cheek (much to Cooper's dismay) and wandered down to Catherine to see my girl. I haven't seen Shannon for a while so I couldn't wait to spend a little time with her. Even though she was a bit under the weather, she looked stunning, she is one of the most beautiful women I know and I just love her to pieces! We lounged around on her bed and talked and gossiped and hugged. I played with her cats and they played back, cats love me for some strange reason. I had, by now, made plans to meet up with some other people at Bump down in the gayborhood so, regretfully, I had to say goodbye to Shannon and we hugged and kissed and said farewell.
I was running late so I power walked straight down South Street to 12th Street and up to Locust to the bar and met Mark for the first time, even though we had chatted on Facebook and text messaged for a while now. He was very sweet and cute but he couldn't stay long because he had had a very busy morning and was feeling a bit tired. After a nice conversation, he and I said our goodbyes and I wandered across the street to see Sandy Beach at Camac. It was great to see my old friend and we chatted and gossiped about everyone in Atlantic City and I ordered and ate a pizza and fries, both tasty and delicious! While I was there, my mobile buzzed and it was a text from Gary. He was on his way to see me!!! That made me so happy! He got there and we had a martini (by now, I was feeling no pain) and off we went to Bob and Barbara's for their weekly drag show. Normally it's a college bar but they do shows there on Thursdays. I've performed there back when it was half the size. I got to see everyone, Lisa, Brittany and many others and Gary and I had a blast flirting with all the cute boys. By now (and three mojhitos and some other drinks I can't recall) I was too twisted and we staggered over to another place (insert name here 'cause I don't fucking remember) and had more martinis and flirted with the hunk of a bartender. I only did it because I was WAY plastered and he was WAY outta my league. I was finally done and we hailed a taxi and stumbled into Gary's place in University City where I promptly passed out on the couch.
I woke up to an enormous hangover and hunger. Because Gary's getting into some serious bodybuilding (he looks AMAZING, I am so jealous) there was nothing bad (but oh so good when you're hung) in his flat. I chomped down a peach and some celery and got myself looking fairly human and left his place in search of better (and badder) hangover medicine. I was passing a cute little outdoor cafe and was admiring the cute waiter when I realized it was GARY! After that little shock (I hate cruising my friends, it's so embarrassing) I said hullo to him and continued my trek, he was way busy. Of all the great restaurants in Philadelphia, the only thing I wanted was the one guaranteed hangover food, McDonald's! Since there's one at the train station, I though I'd kill two birds with one stone and eat there and then get on the next train for Atlantic City.
The food was manna from heaven and did the trick, I felt better immediately. Although my mood was quickly tested because I had to take the bus back to Hammonton and get on the train again. Ugh! This time, the NJ Transit people were totally clueless and it took forever to get us loaded and underway. When we finally did, things were better and I slept on the bus and then the train, only waking up now and again to look at the cute boy sitting near me.
Once back in the city I got home to Ventnor, having had the BEST time ever!
Later in the day, Helene came in the room and began to holler at me. She was not happy with me because I didn't call her to tell her I wasn't going to be home. My mobile had died and I couldn't ring her even if I wanted to, I hadn't planned on being up there overnight. I apologized and went on my merry way.
Then it hit me. That was the sweetest thing; someone was worried about me.
It was a great day.