20 March 2012

Long, LONG, Overdue.

I was awake early, I always am. The cat and I did our usual morning dance, he climbs all over me as I lie in bed, his purring and mewling a gentle wake-up call. Then he follows me to his litter box as I sift through it, collect his dishes from the day before and slowly stumble to the kitchen with him underfoot, not caring if I kick him or step on his paws, all he knows is that he's getting food and that's all his concern. Ahh, to be a pampered cat and not have a care in the world.

The rest of the morning went on as it always does, I updated my Facebook status, commented here and there, left birthday greetings on certain friend's pages, and played the games I loathe but can't seem to stop, they are more frustrating than fun and never ending, much like life. I made the bed and straightened up a little, there's always something to do and began to think about what to do with myself. I had planned on going to the gym but the day was shaping up to be ever so nice that when a friend of mine reminded me that we had made plans to take a long walk through the city (to satisfy an errand of his) I put my workout plans on hold and began making preparations for our constitutional. I busied myself through his endless delays and finally got the call to come collect him.
As I was leaving, another friend of mine was passing in front of my home and I called out to him and we chatted about our plans to walk and he gamely joined us for our little excursion.

It was a beautiful day, usually here on the island there's always a breeze either coming off the ocean, damp and chilly despite the sunshine, or it's coming from the north and over the bays, and the north winds are always cold. This day was perfect, warm and bright with no breeze at all and we quickly made our way to the boardwalk to take it all in.
I was enjoying being in the company of an old friend and a new one, both dear to me in different ways. We talked and talked, commenting on the people we passed, the overly-huge and garish homes, the memories certain places brought up, the conversation never lagged, the laughs came free and easy.
Eventually the real reason for our little jaunt came out to my other friend and he was game, although I had yet to decide if I wanted to participate.

The boardwalk was busy, the day was spectacular and I was glad I put on my sunblock. I wrapped my hoodie around my waist since the direct sunlight was warming me up and we travelled along, taking our time and enjoying each other's company. But our goal, as it got closer, began to weigh heavier and heavier on my mind.

Before I knew it, we were walking down Tennessee Avenue, that long stretch of street that, although is now almost completely devoid of buildings it always seems to have the ghosts of the past hovering just out of sight as I wander along it. I see the shades of the former buildings, the hotels and bars and rooming houses and people that used to populate this neighbourhood, their apparitions haunting my memories. The ghosts of my past were getting more and more apparent the closer I got to our destination, which was just in the next block. I kept chattering on, keeping it light and trying to stifle the nervousness that wanted to creep into my patter, my voice, as I continually debated in my head what I should do in the next few moments when a decision would have to be made.

To say I was terrified would be an understatement.

Before I knew it, we were here. Before I knew it, we were inside. Before I realized it, I was giving them my name and filling out forms.

Before I knew it, I was taking my very first A.I.D.S. test since becoming sexually active thirty years ago.

I remember every moment of this experience. Vividly. Terror and anticipation have a way of slowing down time and making things hyper-real. The faces of those waiting in the lobby, taking care of their business whatever it may be. I knew what that business was, I had done fundraising for Oasis over the years. I knew what their business was, I had done fundraising for the S.J.A.A. and the outreach programs in the city. And here I am taking advantage of one of the services provided, free of charge, by this worthy organization. Taking advantage of something I should have done a very long time ago. But fear of knowing the truth is a powerful thing. And here I was, the ultimate hypocrite, finally doing the very thing I have militantly counselled countless people over the years to do. I have berated my friends for having unprotected sex, for not knowing their status, for getting tested, and the entire time I had never, ever, done so.

Until now.

I suddenly found myself climbing the stairway to the first door on the left and entered, the person there was waiting and shut the door behind me as I took a seat at the desk. I knew him. Of course I did. I'm Mortimer, I know nearly everyone on this island in one way or another. He was gracious and offered to find a stranger to administer the test but I felt more comfortable being with him. A friendly face. Someone I knew but didn't know. He explained the procedure, did the legal spiel and the drill, asking me questions about my sexual behaviour and proclivities, which I answered honestly. Far more honestly than I expected to but this whole process was so foreign to me, I had separated from myself. It was as if I was acting out the scene, and watching it at the same time. I think it was my mind preparing myself for the eventuality that may come to pass. And I was terrified. As he talked, he prepared himself, too. Putting on the gloves, getting the apparatus together, opening each item from their little sterile containers and laying them out in front of himself. He asked for my hand and I stretched it across the desk and he pricked my middle finger, wiping the first drop away and then squeezing out a bigger drop of blood, scooping it up and placing it on the small plastic device that will decide the rest of my life. Imagine, my entire future was in that little drop of blood on his desk.

He set the timer for twenty minutes and we waited. The enormity of this situation was staggering. The fact that I'm in this tawdry little office, devoid of any warmth, extraneous decoration, or a bloody window and have this sword of Damocles hanging over my head was getting unbearable! If it wasn't for the forced chit-chat I was making with my caseworker/friend, I don't know how I could have made it through.

The timer was facing him, blessedly, and before I knew it, the twenty little minutes were up. He looked down at the testing device and looked up at me. The results are in, you are...

I thanked him, we exchanged numbers, and I went out the office and down the steps, sending in one of my friends for his turn. After trips to the library, talking to some other friends outside of Oasis that I knew from my lengthy club days, and talking on my mobile, the three of us were done and off we went to find some lunch.

The rest of the day was a blur. No, I know each and every thing that happened from the moment I stepped out of that office but it's still a blur. When you take the fact that I have buried over forty friends who died of A.I.D.S., that I have friends who are living with the virus, that I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help those with it, that I have had my drunken moments where I was very stupid and regretful, the fact that I now knew my status that had devastated my community overwhelms each and every detail of the rest of the day.

It was truly the first day of the rest of my life.

12 March 2012


I'm writing my entry about my day of filming on the "Boardwalk Empire" set as we speak! I'm not sure exactly when I'll post it because I want to get everything down, it's a memory I will always treasure and I want to make sure the facts are straight so I can recall them later when I'm old and grey. So far, I've written up to the point when I arrived to the Brooklyn set and I'm getting my wardrobe on.

Let me get back...

From Boardwalk To Boardwalk, Part IV

Anxiety was the word of the day, all day, until exactly eight o'clock at night when the email from "Boardwalk Empire" finally arrived (I still can't believe I get emails from "Boardwalk Empire"!). I nervously opened it, reading it quickly and slowly at the same time, trying to grasp the entire thing all at once. Elephant? I just saw something about an elephant. Boardwalk set, YES! I'm going to be on the boardwalk set! I focussed my mind and read it through, calming myself so I could digest the information and make the necessary plans. I had to be in Manhattan by five o'clock in the morning to meet the shuttle bus to the Brooklyn set, bloody hell! I find the Greyhound Bus site, navigating through the maddening pop-ups and cursing them the entire time until I finally got to the schedule I needed. In order to be in Manhattan, on time, I see that I'll have to leave Atlantic City on the one-thirty in the morning bus. What? It's now eight-thirty at night. I haven't slept all damn day in anticipation of this moment and now I have to be on the road in five short hours. Yes, I knew there would be an early morning call all along but when the reality finally hits you, it's still a surprise once you work out the devilish details.
I made my plans, preparing my clothing and my shoulder bag for the trip, packing it with the magazines and eReader and earphones and other items deemed necessary for my jaunt north and then quickly shutting down for a short nap. Mighty Joe curled up next to me, thinking we're settled in early for a long sleep through the night.
He wasn't happy when I got up at midnight and began getting ready. Showered and shaved, carefully trimming around my moustache, grooming my eyebrows, and making sure I had everything, I hurriedly got dressed and ran to the Jitney bus, where I happily didn't have to wait long before one whisked me across town to the bus terminal.
The desk clerk was happy to help me utilize the automated ticket machine, evidently they are pushing the new (well, new for them) technology for the late night travellers and she was there to guide you through. Right before I left, I told her where I was going, I was bursting with the news and couldn't hold it in any longer, having to spill it out to this total stranger. She was duly impressed and I was the cock-of-the-walk as I ran out to the loading area and got my seat on the mercifully empty bus.

I barely remember the ride up, I may have dozed off for an hour, I might not have, I seriously don't recall. My next recollection came when I was near the tunnel into the city, because I was using my map app to check once more where I had to meet the shuttle. I was surprised by Port Authority at this early hour. I'm used to being there during the day, the hustle-bustle of people running everywhere at once. Now it was quiet, people sleeping on the floors, in the chairs, propped against the walls and posts, security gates were down where I didn't know security gates existed. It was a different world, silent except for the incessant warning voice instructing us in the proper way to enter and exit the escalator. I made my way through, noticing the time as I wandered up and out. I was an hour early and the pick-up spot wasn't that far from the station. Once on the streets of mid-town, I was once again taken aback by the difference from my last few visits. The streets were empty. No traffic. No pedestrians. Nothing. Just a few stragglers here and there, newspaper delivery trucks slowly rumbling by but nearly devoid of the usual cacophony of humanity I've only ever seen in that part of town. It was also cold, much colder than I had dressed for and I pulled up my hood and began making my way to Thirty-Third and Third.
The cold got the better of me half-way there and I ducked into a McDonald's, hoping for a hot cup of coffee. I saw people sitting around the restaurant with food and cups but once I got to the counter, I was informed that they were shut for another half hour. I stood there for a few moments, warming up, before once again making my way through the empty streets to my goal. I was so busy window shopping, since I had never been in that part of town before, that I didn't mind the cold any longer and began wondering where the Empire State Building was. I knew I had seen it from Eighth Avenue, I thought I should be close to it by now when I looked up and there she was, towering high above me. I smiled to myself, only I could lose such a tall building in the middle of Manhattan. I made my way across the island, lonely and cold, past Fifth, Madison and Park Avenues, until I finally got to the corner I was looking for, where there were a line of buses and shuttles waiting. I went down the line asking which one took me to Boardwalk Empire and, mercifully, it was the second one there. I hopped on, looking at the the few others already on board and sat down and waited.

Stifling the huge smile that continually wanted to break out across my face.

People drifted on, the assistants checking each of us off the list as we boarded (my check-in number was forty-four) and when the last one came running across the street and go on, just in time, we left for Brooklyn. The trip over was interesting, taking yet another route into the borough that I had never used, and I tried to eavesdrop in on the chatter around me but nothing registered. I was too excited to think. I was now running on adrenalin and instinct, if instinct is the right word since I had never done anything like this before. We pulled up to a fenced-in yard along the Hudson River, with the requisite little building at the gate for the guards and peppered with four or five temporary trailers to the left, where I later learned was wardrobe, holding, craft services, make-up and the production trailers. To the right, as I walked through the gates, there were massive shipping crates stacked two high and in a circular configuration. I caught a brief look through a separation between them, in the early morning light, and saw that it was the boardwalk set itself and my heart leapt! I was here. This was happening. Un-fucking-believeable!!!
A guy with a clip-board guided us into the holding area, blessedly warm. It was also where craft services was located and I was hungry. There were people already there, those that came directly to the set on their own and some of the production crew. I wandered over to the food area and was in food nirvana, at least where craft services is concerned.
They had steak, bacon, ham, pancakes, eggs cooked to order, every kind of bread and bagels, yoghurt and fresh fruit to use in the juicers. It was fabulous buffet and I ate what I could since, by the time I made my plate and sat down, they called my number and I had to go to wardrobe to begin the process of getting ready for filming.

I walked over to the next trailer and it was bustling with people. To the left were the make-up and hairdressers, already working on the women since they were going to take longer getting their hair set and faces painted. To the right were two partitions separating the men and women dressing areas and I waited in line until they brought me in and I found my bag containing my clothing with a picture of me from my last visit, already wearing the costume, attached to it. Once again, I suppressed a smile and began changing, carefully taking off my clothes and switching them with the costume, which was extensive. As I was getting ready, I looked around to see what everyone else was wearing and we ranged in class, based on the costumes, from well-to-do gents to the labour classes like myself. There was only one mirror and we took turns checking ourselves to make sure everything was on correctly. I did notice, when I put on the vest to the suit, that it was extremely snug and I was praying that I didn't have any action scenes because I would definitely rip out of it! Yes, I didn't listen to them and continued working out and now I may live to regret my decision.

The staff gave me the once over and determined I needed a tie-bar and they quickly found one and I was released from them and waited in line to get my hair done. I realized that up until now, I haven't really chatted with anyone and everyone who knows me knows that I'm a rather friendly person. I decided to strike up a conversation with the guy in front of me. To be honest, I barely remember a lot of the details of his life. I know he's married, he's done this kind of work before, had a couple of kids but I needed to make small-talk in order to keep the nervous edge at a tolerable level and he was a more-than-capable companion. I watched the action around me, marvelling at the controlled chaos with people being shuffled back and forth, they occasionally walked down the line and determined who was next or if they had special concerns. Suddenly, they did a moustache count and I was told that I may have to be shaved, did I have a problem with that? Uhh, no. As far as I was concerned, they could do whatever they wanted. I was told that after they finished my hair, I was going to have to get shaved, I was too young for a 'stache. Lovely! One of the women told me to see her when I was done. I finally was escorted to a seat in front of one of the mirrors and the stylist worked his magic on my hair.

Although I saw what they were doing to the guys before, I was a little taken aback by the time he was through with me. My hair was severely parted and then they plastered it to my head with gels, sprays and gods know what else. I couldn't help noticing that with the moustache, I resembled Adolph Hitler and I couldn't wait to have it shaved off! I thanked the guy and made my way to the next area to be shaved. As she was shaving my moustache off, she suggested I get my eyelashes tinted for future work and then informed me that I need to mention that I was shaved at the end of the day, I get extra pay. Fancy that, they are paying me extra to shave my face! She finished up with me, applying a little make-up here and there for the cameras and then I had to wait in line for the wardrobe mistress to give me the final okay before I went back to holding to wait for the call to film. The adjusted a few things, my overcoat was sitting too low and my tie needed to pop out a little more and they sent me over to wait.

I sat there, surreptitiously taking a few photographs and checking in on my Facebook, and watched everyone file in, wearing their costumes. To say that I was enjoying this experience would be an understatement! As each aspect of this day was unfolding, I couldn't believe I was actually here and doing this. I didn't care one whit what happened next, I was already having the time of my life and I not one frame of film had been shot.

Some people were called back to wardrobe, there were some changes made and not before long, the production staff came in and called for attention. They wanted to set the scene we were filming and give us last minute instructions. We were filming at the boardwalk set but not on the actual boardwalk, we would be in a alleyway set behind it which was redressed. It was New Year's Day, 1923, nearly a year after the incidents ending the previous season on the show. We were at a carnival and the principal characters were to be Richard Harrow (the guy with the mask) and Tommy Darmody, Jimmy's son. There would be an elephant on set and we were not to approach the elephant, go near the elephant and were to be mindful of the elephant. They were very adamant about these instructions and these elephant warnings continues throughout the day's filming. They had no need to remind me, I had no problem giving the elephant it's space.
The assistant left and we waited a bit longer and suddenly, they came in to escort us to the set.

05 March 2012

From Boardwalk-To-Boardwalk, Part III

Reality has set in.
In the excitement and hoopla surrounding my being cast as a background actor on "Boardwalk Empire", I didn't think it through completely and now the reality of my situation has settled in and I'm in a bit of a pickle.

I live 130 miles from my job.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to manage this. It'll come to me.


Adding to my anxiety, I have to wait until eight o'clock tonight for my call sheet; the time I have to be at the studio for hair, make-up and wardrobe before we are shuttled to the set. I have no clue if I'm working one day or four. So I sit... and wait.

I believe I'll go to the gym.

03 March 2012

From Boardwalk-To-Boardwalk, Part II

I slept more soundly than expected, maybe it was the Martini I had before bed. Mighty Joe, my big hairy pussy, and then the alarm woke me promptly at six in the morning so I could feed/pet/play with him and get my day going, respectively.
That Martini must have played a larger role because it took a little longer to get myself together and I didn't get going until well after Helene woke up, thus waking up the entire house, she has the effect. It was going to be another big day in my Boardwalk-to-Boardwalk adventure and I had to get on the road early so I could be in Brooklyn for my appointed haircut. I was slightly perturbed, I had been growing out my hair for this event but I hadn't counted on having to make the extra trip up, seriously cutting into my travel fund for this little (probably unnecessary) adventure.
After the harrowing decision of what to wear for the trip, I finally decided on my black jeans, "Fashion Kills" white button-down, red "London" zip-up, black skinny tie and my "priest" jacket, which is actually a vintage American Legion chaplain's jacket, with 13 silver buttons on the front and red crosses stitched into each cuff. It was a bit over-the-top but I was going to New York after all and needed to look fashion forward, natch.
I actually left the flat on time and didn't wait too long for a Jitney bus to whisk me uptown to the bus terminal. The lovely woman at the Greyhound counter was very nice and helpful, telling me the bus was running fifteen minutes behind and suggesting I go to Caesars bus station to catch it there. That's where it starts it's trip to Port Authority and I would have a better chance of getting a seat if I ran there. Off I went, running into the lobby to take a quick splash in the loo and then wait in the long line for boarding. The bus finally rolled up a little earlier than expected and the driver came out complaining about this being his second bus and this one wasn't working right, either. Just what I wanted to hear.
We boarded and I saw that the bus didn't have the back-of-the-seat outlets for charging mobiles and such. Perfect, with my new mobile eating energy like M&M's, I wouldn't be able to use it much during the trip. Oh well, I thought, I have my faux-Kindle and some New Yorker's to read to pass the time. On top of it, I had a seat partner sitting next to me crowding my space which was turning this trip into a minor fiasco. I kept my spirits up, focussing on the day ahead and we left to pick up those waiting at the bus terminal, even more people to add to an already busy bus.
They interminably filed in and we were on our way.

Only to suddenly pull off the Atlantic City Expressway and stop at the Greyhound bus yard where the driver finally announced that we had to switch buses. UGH! This trip was turning into a comedy of errors. I had planned on taking the nine o'clock bus to give me enough time to get through Manhattan and to Brooklyn by my appointment and now we were running very late, eating up the time I padded on to ensure I made it there on time.
I switched buses and lo and behold, I ended up losing my "partner" and this new bus had the outlets! Success! I could listen to music and play on Facebook with abandon. I opened my Ben Sherman shoulder bag and searched and searched and quickly realized I had left my earphones home (on the coffee table, actually). Drat. God giveth, God taketh away.
The ride up was uneventful from then on, except for the increasing cloud cover which looked rather ominous. A quick check of the weather report calmed my slightly frayed nerves, the rains weren't due until late afternoon/early evening. We pulled into Port Authority and the driver announced that we were 22 minutes late of our scheduled arrival. I was suspicious but I didn't have a schedule on-hand to verify his facts. I made my way through the station and up and out onto the streets of mid-town Manhattan, once again marvelling at the incredible mass of humanity wandering through the streets and avenues. My years and years of working in crowded casinos trained me to bob-and-weave through the crowds and I quickly made my way downtown, crossing from Eighth to Seventh and working my way to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Suddenly, I stopped short. Walking right towards me, directly in my path was Adam Mucci, who plays Deputy Halloran on "Boardwalk Empire"! I was flabbergasted! Here I am on my way to the studio to be on the very same show and standing right in front of me, in a city full of over eight million people, is an actor from that show!!! I wanted to stop him, act the fan and maybe grab a picture of us but common sense, and the crowds rushing by, stopped me and I went on my way, laughing to myself at the unlikely coincidence.

As I wandered, I kept crossing over to get to Broadway, passing by some familiar landmarks like the Chelsea Hotel and the Limelight nightclub (now a mall, of all things). Memories of my past visits to New York filled my head and before I knew it, I was at Washington Square Park. I snapped a quick shot of the memorial arch and wandered through, singing "Easy To Be Hard" from "Hair" in my head as I did so.
I had figured a new route through the city using my maps app on my new Android and I made great time, getting to the bridge quicker than expected but once I did a time check, I realized I was probably going to be late getting over to the studio. I plodded on, dodging through the crowded walk-way over the bridge, taking yet another new route through Brooklyn (only having to ask the helpful policewoman once for directions to clarify I was going the right way) and I made it to the Steiner Studios twenty-two minutes late for my appointment, the exact amount of time we were late getting to the city.

The less said about Brooklyn, the better. It's South Philly, without the cheesesteaks.

I walked up to the gate and got my pass from the guard, I smiled to myself when my name was already on the entry list, and he guided me to Stage Three. I wandered along the row of sound stages, looking at the support trucks lined up outside with cables running everywhere and oversized limousines were waiting to take people to-and-fro and found myself at the door, where they buzzed me in and I saw my "handler" and had a seat. She was taking care of an older gentleman (whom I later found out is actually credited on IMDB's website for "Empire" as "Gray-Haired Man" in the cast listings) and she had me fill out some paperwork whilst she escorted him up to get done. When she returned, we chatted about the weather and I asked her a few questions and come to find out, she grew up in Brigantine during the summers as a child. We instantly became best friends and talked each other's heads off. During the conversation, a guy came in and she said hi to him and it wasn't until he opened his mouth that I realized it was Stephan DeRosa, who plays the singer/comedian Eddie Cantor on the show. I suppressed yet another shit-eating grin and played it cool, although the inner me was freaking out that all of this was actually happening.
About a half-hour later, "Gray-Haired Man" came back and she sent him on his way and she escorted me up the slow elevator to the second floor. I confessed to her that I was having a very hard time resisting the urge to document everything with my camera. With one simple look, I could see that it would be seriously frowned upon and I kept my camera tucked away in my pocket. The elevator doors opened and directly in front of us were signs denoting directions to the various productions that are scattered throughout the building. We quickly travelled down a long hallway, with me peeking in every room I could to see what was going on and she introduced me to the woman who would cut my barely tamed red afro. I had another laugh when she looked at me all confused and said, "Why are you already in wardrobe? I can't cut your hair in your costume!" and I had to assure her that I dressed like that normally and proceeded to take everything off so she could do her business.
Surprisingly, the room was incredibly plain, unadorned except for some framed "Empire" posters stacked against one wall and over in another corner and two large plain mirrors, one in front of me and one to the left.. She had the tools of her trade laid out directly in front of me on a towel, no frills just two electric clippers, scissors, a comb, thinning scissors and some different contemporary pomades lined up in back. She put on the cowl and gave me an overview of what she was going to do and I told her I didn't care, just cut it. We chatted about this and that and I looked around (in the mirror) and saw white boxes I failed to notice before, since they blended into the plain white painted walls, that were labelled "Wig Box 4" and "Wig Box 7" but they had lids on them and I had no clue what sort of wigs they could possibly contain.
We talked about a lot of things, my being from Atlantic City, acting, a little stage gossip, the fact that they were shooting a party scene right now and some other shop talk, I felt so comfortable and relaxed that my adrenaline rush was tempered, momentarily.
She had a confession to make, later in our conversation, which kind of shocked me. She has never seen "Empire". Not a single show. She doesn't even have HBO. I found that interesting and told her she needs to watch it and see her wonderful work.
She said I had great hair to work with, perfect for this show and once she was done she declared I looked like a 1920's barbershop quartet member, which I must admit, with the moustache, I did. She also said I'll do well on the production, which was nice to say since I'm only going to be in the background.

I put back on my clothing and said my good-byes and found a bathroom, where I gave myself the once-over and had an alone-moment, a chance to just drink in this entire experience and get a few emotions out that I wouldn't dare do in front of anyone there. I quickly collected myself, went downstairs and got my pay slip and said my good-byes to my "handler" (who's name I need to find out!).

I walked back to the gate, passing the soundstages I had wandered by before and caught a glimpse of the scene being filmed, everyone in costume and the lights and props, I was completely awestruck but kept my emotions in check until I passed through the Steiner Studios gate and was on the streets outside the Navy Yard. There I had the biggest grin on my face and my emotions caught me all at once. I stopped for a few minutes in the middle of Washington Avenue, right there in the middle of Brooklyn, once again revelling in the moment, not believing this is actually happening to me.

I rounded the corner to Myrtle Street, making my way back to the bridge and I passed this black guy, just hanging out in front of the local barber shop, and he said to me, "When you were walking up, I thought you were Charlie Chaplin!", I busted out laughing and continued on my way. School had just let out and the streets were busy with the urban kids predominate in big cities. The basketball courts and the baseball diamonds were packed, fenced in by ten foot high chain link fence which I find bizarre and there was the cacophony of city life all around me. I drank it all in. I was stopped on the bridge by two guys with indeterminate accents, who wanted me to take their picture next to one of the plaques on the bridge, and I obliged, and I made my way back through Manhattan, following a similar route but ducking down different side streets just to check out the sights. Once I hit mid-town, the pedestrian traffic was unbearable, tens of thousands of people rushing everywhere, and I was so relieved when I finally made it to Port Authority, running downstairs to the gate for Atlantic City and the bus was leaving at that exact moment. I boarded, made my way to the back and sat down in a heap, the exhaustion of the entire day hit me at that moment and I passed out before we hit the tunnel leaving the former New Amsterdam.

I woke up to a curious smell and saw this girl across the isle eating chicken wings, another joy of public transportation, and she had a full spread of food in front of her, with her ear-phones on and watching hip-hop videos on her smart phone. I turned on my faux-Kindle and read a few chapters of "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and got home safe and sound, only a little wet from the rain that eventually hit the island of love.