crap in a Bundt pan...
Due to the
recent well-publicized shortage of
amateur websites produced by assholes who consider themselves to be
have been called into action. My name is Jeff Kay, and Iím an
Ugly American living
on the cusp of a mid-life crisis, near Scranton, PA. And Iím here to
State of My Fat Ass A journal of
sorts, updated every once in a while.
Saturday's trip to New York went reasonably well. As I mentioned last
week, we stripped our itinerary down to the gristle: a museum visit and
lunch. It doesn't get much simpler than that. We sometimes set our goals
too high, and come away feeling guilty and unsatisfied when we can't
accomplish everything. But, as it turned out, even the adapted agenda
was too much. The museum and restaurant were too far apart, we ran out
of time, and everything devolved into low-watt turmoil.
But it wouldn't be a day trip without it, right?
We like to leave our car at a park 'n' ride on the New Jersey side of
the Lincoln Tunnel, then take a commuter bus into Port Authority. It
only costs ten bucks (or so) and I recommend it highly. No crazy-ass
traffic, no prison-rape parking fees.... it's clean and easy. OK, not
exactly clean, but definitely easy.
Even though we've been there multiple times, we almost always get lost.
It's a tradition at this point, and we've come to expect it. There's a
part of the journey where MapQuest always lets us down. It tells us to
"bear slightly to the right" at a certain exit, and there are,
like, four or five options. Invariably, we go the wrong way and comedy
ensues. ("Bear slightly to the right?! What in the bucktoothed
shit does that mean?! IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!!!") But this
time Toney used Yahoo Maps, or whatever it is, and it was so much
better. We just rolled into our destination, like we actually knew what
we were doing. It was so easy I almost felt guilty about it.
We toyed with the idea of taking the train to the museum, but were a tad
intimidated. Toney walked up to an information booth at the bus station
and asked if they had a subway map. The woman said, "No," then
turned her back and started in on what appeared to be a tuna melt.
Friendly! Screw it, we finally decided, we'll just jump on a city bus.
One wrong move and we'd end up in Spanish Harlem, with TOURIST written
across our backs. And I can't have that.
It took forever. We had to go thirty-some blocks, and literally
could've walked there faster. Traffic was packed in tighter than
yesterday's cheese-lover's pizza, and the dude had to stop at every
other corner it seemed. Needless to say, I was running my hands through
my hair, repeatedly and with a heightened sense of purpose.
Eventually we made it to the museum, of
course, but we'd already lost a big hunk of valuable time. I was
starving, even though we'd had a big breakfast, and told Toney I wanted
to hit one of the street vendors for a filthy hot dog. The Secrets each
wanted one too, and Toney bought a pretzel, so we had an impromptu
picnic on the front steps of the American Museum of Natural History.
Along with about five other families.
As we enjoyed our delicacies (yum!), a fight almost broke out in the
street. I have no idea what happened, but a man jumped out of a truck
and started screaming at a pair of Japanese guys. Man, he was pissed
about something. The two Asians instinctively huddled behind
their photography equipment and didn't have much to say. Finally, the
irate motorist just threw his hands in the air, looked to the sky, and
said, "What a couple of dunces!"
Dunces? What is this, 1945? A wave of nervous laughter rippled through
the hot dog contingent, and it was over almost as quickly as it started.
There was a massive crowd inside the museum lobby. Literally hundreds of
people were in line to buy tickets, and it was a demoralizing sight to
behold. We shuffled over to the end of the line, and as we stood there
Toney spotted some kiosks in the rear of the room. Huh. She walked over
to investigate, and it appeared you could buy tickets right out of the
machines. And that's what we did. I slid my ATM card through the slot,
it sucked $44.00 out of my checking account, and four tickets printed. I
don't know why so many people insist on standing in those lines. Can any
of you locals help me out with that? It's a real mystery.
The museum itself was fun. Clearly parts of it haven't changed in
decades, but I like that sort of thing. There are great
blast-from-the-past halls there that feature all manner of exotic
animals, all taxidermied-up and posed in "natural" settings. I
suspect we were looking at the exact same things shorter and skinnier
people looked at in 1938. On the rear walls are really cool hand-painted
murals showing a jungle scene, or whatever, and those so-called dioramas
were my favorite part of the place. Here's a sample; none of my pics
were worth a damn.
The dinosaur section looked much more current, like a regular museum,
and that was really cool as well. I'd never actually stood beside
full-on dinosaur skeletons before. Some of those guys were pretty big,
weren't they? Who knew?
Without really realizing it, we spent hours inside that place; it just
keeps going on and on. And by the time we left it was going on four
o'clock, and looked like it would be dark soon. The restaurant we wanted
to visit is in Greenwich Village, sixty or so blocks away. If we'd
attempted to ride a bus all the way down there, it would've been a
midnight snack instead of dinner. So we decided to go back to John's
Pizzeria instead, then head over to Port Authority and get back on the
road. The Secrets weren't very happy with that decision, but that's the
way it goes sometimes. Quit yer bitchin'.
We walked through Central Park for a while, and it was a beehive of
activity. Folks were strolling hand in hand, two men wearing Mets caps
were passing a baseball, horse-drawn carriages clomped past.... The gold
and brown leaves were blowing all around, and it felt like we were
suddenly plunged inside a romantic comedy starring Billy Crystal. Good
We couldn't remember if John's was on 44th or 42nd street, and were
proceeding with a pronounced lack of confidence. Finally, on 44th, we passed a
security guard standing in front of a parking garage, and I started to
ask him about it. I said, "Excuse me, is John's Pi--" The guy
just kept looking straight ahead, and interrupted me by pointing
purposely to the
Thank you sir, it was nice talking to you.
The pizza was really good. Again. I think we've been there four or five
times now. We always plan on going to other places, and end up back at
John's. But the food is excellent, cheap (for NYC), and convenient to
the bus station. So there you go.
After we finished polishing off a large sausage and onion, a small
pepperoni, and a pitcher of root beer, they brought us our check.
$42.00. I tucked my much-abused ATM card into the little plastic slot in
the check portfolio, and handed it back to our waiter. "I sorry
sir," he said, "Our credit card machine not working."
It was certainly nice of them to give us this little nugget of information after
we'd finished eating. I had enough cash, but what if I hadn't? I gave
the guy some grief about it, and insinuated that we couldn't pay if we
couldn't use a credit card, but quickly gave it up. Why bother? What's
But seriously, what if we'd only had a Visa card? There have
been plenty of times in the past when I'd been in that situation. What
would have happened? And the place was packed Saturday evening, how
many weren't able to cover their tab, I wonder? Crazy, man.
It was almost dark by the time we got back to the car, and the
interstate was chaos. There were taillights as far as the eye could see.
We pointed the hood in the direction of Pennsylvania, put a Talking
Heads CD in the player, and hunkered down for a long trip home. But
almost as suddenly as someone snapping their fingers, we were the only car on
the road. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone, I'm not
kidding. One second there were cars all around us, then not
another vehicle could be seen in front of us or behind. Just like that. Bizarre.
Now you're pretty much up to date on our big trip to the city. Most of
the pics I took during the day sucked a big bent one, but here are a few
that were salvageable. I'll try to do better next time.
And the question of the day.... Have you ever found yourself in a
restaurant situation where you're unable to pay the check? Maybe a
credit card is declined, or whatever? What happened? And, on a related
note, have you ever attempted a dine 'n' dash?
I can't remember me ever
doing such a thing, but it seems highly unlikely that it never happened.
A friend once walked out of Shoney's on the Boulevard in Charleston, and
the manager chased him. My friend, apparently believing he was James
Bond, dove into the Elk River and tried to escape. Heh. Wotta