Long, uncomfortable pause.
“You know what? I really don’t.. holy cow.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“You know what? I’m really not.”
It was decided thenceforth that she would be the Holder of the Tickets.
Tickets she can do, my mother.
Luggage in subways, not so much. Flashback to the last time I traveled with my mother to Paris, I with my petite suitcase and she with her prodigious valise. Being necessarily chivalrous, her having pushed me out 38 years ago and being 28 years my senior, I ended up having to trade with her the entire trip so that she could schlep around the smaller one…
Luckily for the one night we were going to be in Manhattan, she brought the tickets AND a small suitcase. All went well until we negotiated our way through the turnstyles in the subway station on the way to the hotel. My mom confidently swiped her card as if she did it every day, walked halfway into the turnstyle dragging her rolling suitcase behind her, and stopped. The turnstyle locked into place.
“Oops,”she giggled. She looked at the friendly subway authority man in the security booth behind her.
“I’m stuck,” she mouthed to him.... "stuck."
She prepared to move forward, assuming she had been cleared.
She turned around again. “um… excuse me? Hee hee. I’m, uh…. I’m er… stuck,” she explained.
Without a nod or a meeting of eyes, the friendly subway authority human must’ve pushed a button.
My mom turned around and successfully pushed her body the rest of the way through the turnstyle, but the suitcase still didn’t make it.
I rolled my eyes. Here, mom. Shove it under the turnstyle to me.
“How do you do that with yours?” she wondered.
I wished I had taken a picture; alas, I did not.
The rest of the day went fairly smoothly. We decided, as neither of us had been to see the Statue of Liberty “in statue,” that we would give it a go. Notwithstanding what anyone says about New Yorkers, the people who sold us the tickets were quite friendly, as is everyone around the city if you’re looking lost or clueless.
As we boarded the ferry to the Liberty Island, the thick new york-accented ferry workers loaded everyone onto the ferry new-york-style:
As everyone shuffled onto the ferry, they prodded: “step quickly, folks! Hurry up. Let’s go, folks.”
No “watch your step” or “welcome aboard,” just “get a move on, folks.” I thought perhaps it was just the workers on that particular crew; however, it was the same on the next ferry to Ellis Island: “move along QUICKLY, people…”
At Penn Station we boarded the MegaBus for the trip home and secured very exciting seats on the top of the double-decker bus in the very front seat, with perfect seats to ascertain the sheer terror of what must have been a brand new bus driver as he exited traffic-filled downtown Manhattan. As we came to an underpass, the driver stopped the bus completely in the middle of the road, likely sure that we weren’t going to clear; I could hear his heart beating from the upper level. As we exited Manhattan Island from the tunnel, he could barely stay within the lines and drove with extreme caution, the target of honks and horns from all around us. He must have been TERRIFIED, his hands glued to the 10 and 2 positions, his heart pumping more blood than was customary. Shortly after we successfully navigated our way to the New Jersey turnpike, the bus pulled into the first rest stop, where the tormented, exhausted driver stepped off to allow a new driver to take the wheel. I heard one of the workers say: “Fred’s not feeling so well.”
Now it’s back to the real world, where there are no ferries, nor shows, nor statues of liberty – just mounds and mounds of laundry waiting for me.