Monday, August 07, 2006

Rockin' The Suburbs

I had to get out of the city this weekend. I pride myself on winning the war against "The Big Apple." Oftentimes I walk to work and like a mantra on repeat, in my head I say, "You will not beat me." (I have no idea if that's to the city or the crazies I see everyday) I guess that means I'm neurotic enough after 5 years to be a New Yorker, but not crazy enough to look at Bellevue (crazy house) as a viable option. But this last week I just felt like the city was winning battles left and right. By Friday it didn't matter what you said to me, chances are I was suppressing the lump in my throat and holding back tears...and I had no real reason. It was way too "girly" and I had to do something.

I called my friend "Gadget" in Virginia. Gadget has been my friend since high school. He's married to a great lady and they have a beautiful baby. He's the closest thing to normal in my life, and he makes me think anything is possible. When I'm freaking out, he calms me down. When I'm upset, he assures me, "No, it's not you, it's them. When my computer is freaking out or I can't build the entertainment center I just bought, he's there to fix it. Everyone should have unconditional love in their life, and I have that with "Gadget". I'm lucky. He's my other brother.

"Gadget, I've got to leave the city. I can't take it."
"What's going on?"
"My power went out. I blew all my money on a hotel. Work sucks."
"How can work suck? You have the coolest job."
"It only sounds cool. Trust me. How do you feel about a last minute houseguest?"
"Really, you want to come down?"
"Please. If it's too much with the baby I understand."
"No, are you kidding me!!! This is great. My wife will be so excited and the baby is so beautiful. She's even more beautiful in person!"
"Do you need me to come get you?"
"No, I'll hop on a train. I'll be there in three hours."
"What do you want for dinner?"
"I don't care."
"Well I just IM'd the wife and she says whatever you want she will make. I'll go pick up some DVD's too. What haven't you seen?"
(Do you see why I love these people?)

As I made my way to Penn Station I saw a homeless man passed out with his dick in his hand. That was it. I knew I was making the right decision. I had to get out of here.My impulsiveness had found validation. All it took was a homeless man and some indecent exposure.

I get on the train and find the only empty seat. The ticket guy comes by and I hand him my ticket. He asks the man next to me for his ticket. The man flashes his ID, whispers something to the ticket guy, and then looks at me.
"I didn't see a thing." I tell him and I start to laugh.
He doesn't laugh.
This is going to be a long three hours to D.C.
Turns out I'm sitting next to the "Train Marshall". Is that even a real thing? In all honesty, I have no idea what he does but the ticket guy repeatedly stops by to tell him stuff. It's all very weird, and a little too dramatic, but I can't resist calling him "Secret Agent Man". At least he smiles. We end up talking for most of the trip. I don't know what he is "securing" on the train, but he can have a full conversation while doing it. He asks me a lot of open ended questions. I point out that I grew up in the military and have lived on bases most of my life and I know that he's asking me questions that will require me to answer more than a simple yes or no. He laughs again. At the end of the trip he asks me for an email because he would like to write me sometime. I have no idea why. I hand him my business card and tell him he can try doing a background check... but I don't own property, I pay my taxes on time and correctly, and I've never been arrested. I also mention that I was an RA in college and I will piss clean. (I didn't say the last part, but I was thinking it.) I don't think he will write. I'm in the middle of a dry spell people that isn't exclusive to civilians or government officials...but at least I have a story that starts, one time on a train...

Gadget picks me up at Union station and we drive to beautiful, suburban, Herndon, Virginia. It's like Heaven. I see Target, Safeway, and people that say hello when they pass you on the street. I get to the house and his wife and baby are waiting and they really are beautiful. It's quite a sight, and I just start crying. I can't help it. Everyone says they have a beautiful baby, but she really, really, really, is. I should also mention that on our way home he stopped by the grocery store to pick up two dozen roses. One for his wife and one for his daughter. Amazing.

His wife's best friend is hanging out at the house this weekend too. He just got dumped by his fiancée and it's like the white elephant in the room. I love that they are such a great couple that both of their best friends are welcome anytime, and they take us both in when we need it and no questions are asked. Her best friend is wearing his NRA hat. I know he's only doing this to get me angry so I call him out on it right away. Gadget is conservative as are most of my friends that grew up in the military. I do my best and I try to keep the politics to a minimum around everyone but sometimes I can't resist. "NRA" loves guns. He even got Gadget into it and that pisses me off. Gadget went to VMI so he started with guns there but it was never a hobby like it is now. NRA even bought Gadget bullets for Christmas last year and I flipped my shit. I kept asking if Jesus would want bullets for his birthday. NRA always tries to get me to go to the gun range with him. He thinks if I shot a gun I would feel differently about it. He has a lot of good arguments. I usually end the argument by saying, "It's not you I'm worried about, it's everybody else." NRA says that he loves target practice because it's like an eternal quest to hit a bull's eye. I tell him he should try golf because I hear a hole-in-one is pretty difficult and it sounds like the same damn thing only less violent. We are at an agree to disagree point in our friendship. I tell him I'll go to the gun range when he hits a hole-in-one. I think I've bought some serious time.

We had comfort food, watched movies all weekend, and played with the baby. It was the best mini-vacation ever.

I took the late train back into the city. I was so relaxed. It didn't take long for me to realize I was headed into the madness. In Philadelphia a mom and her son got on the train and she took the seat next to me. Her son sat in the seat directly across the aisle from her. He was no more than 14 and was reading Lolita. The creepy part was that he kept reading sentences he didn't understand out loud and asking his Mom to explain what they meant. He shouldn't know what Nabokov is writing about. It was weird. What do I know? Maybe the world is right on point. Maybe it's me. Or maybe it's just New York City.


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