How in the world did we wind up...HERE?!?!
"Where NOT to be when you travel in E. Rutherford"
I know it's been well over a year since being stranded on the corner of Union and Santiago, but I still feel the bitterness over the whole mess. Don't worry, I will expand on the story, so sit back relax and let the history unfold...
Once upon a time...there were three siblings.
The Adventurous One...
The Scholarly One...
and The Thoughtful One.
They squabbled over numerous things, as siblings often do while growing up in each others company. However, there was one particular thing that all three were in agreement...they all loved Phantom of the Opera. (Didn't expect THAT one did you?) One day, they vowed if ever given the opportunity in the future they would sit upon hallowed ground and bask in the glory of the production.
OKAY OKAY! It wasn't as fanciful as that. We got 3 tickets to go see Phantom of the Opera off Broadway and they were 100 each (non-refundable) and they were orchestra seats near the aisle. (you just can't beat that!) And I'd be damned if I was going to miss it.
So we came, we loved, and we cried (and cried, and cried like a baby cried) for more! It started out as a most enjoyable evening...so what went wrong???
one word --- TRANSPORTATION
We hoofed it to the theater by way of taxi ($40) and that was no problem, we skidded into the theater and to our seats just as lights went down and curtain went up (yeah, that was sheer luck) after the performance we were reeling in our excitement we were in NEW YORK CITY!
We decided to take the bus back to our hotel and we got to the depot okay and went to the ticket kiosk and that was also a breeze, but we were confused as to what the numbers meant on the tickets and what gate we were suppose to be at...so naturally we ask the info booth...well info booth told us the wrong gate...but then again...how were we suppose to know that Rutherford and EAST Rutherford were two separate towns??
Anyhow, to make the long story short...we got on the wrong bus. Midway into our trip (on the wrong bus) we asked the driver if this was going anywhere near our hotel (I mean, yeah it was dark and we didn't know where we were at...but we did know that our hotel was next to Giants Stadium and we were no where near there) and he said - no.
We were crushed! Our great evening was turning into a flop...but get this...IT GETS WORSE. Instead of suggesting that we stay on until we got to the end of his line or pay for a round trip he tells us to get off in the middle of no where and wait for a return bus. (Okay, so the middle of no where was a residential area...minor details!) We didn't know where we were, it was in the middle of the night, there wasn't much light, it was very hot and humid and we didn't know when the next bus was coming.
I was PISSED! I would have walked all the way back to the hotel and smoted the bus driver. If he was any type of a man at all he should have told us we were on the wrong bus from the get go! I would have walked all the way back to the hotel...but I didn't...the sibs were having a tough time catching up with my anger. So tired and dejected we sat at the corner of Union and Santiago contemplating our fate.
"Where did we go wrong?"
I don't know how long it took us to get to this point and I don't know how far we walked.
I do know that 3 sets of cop cars passed by us and not once...NOT ONCE did they even stop to say..."how are you?" "are you okay?" or even a "what are you doing here?" All of them were catching speeders...or en route to catching them. Several people passed us. No help from them either. They would slow down to see what the spectacle was about and then would speed off (as if we some sort of side show attraction or mangled road kill they wanted to identify). Whatever the curiosity, it wasn't enough to help their fellow man.
One car even had the gall to pass us TWICE and not offer us any assistance at all. Who do they think we are? Prostitutes???
So what happened to the busses you asked. Well a total of 3 passed us. The one and only bus that was heading in the direction we needed to go to never stopped to pick us up. I guess we were standing on the wrong street corner or something. (I'm sure that that was a "parting gift" from Mr. Bus Driver -- tell the out-of-towners to stand on a corner that really isn't a bus stop.) The other two busses that passed were continuing on in the opposite direction. . It was way past midnight and we didn't know when the next bus was going to arrive -- if any.
Things were looking pretty slim for the dashing trio!
"How To Get Out of the Mess You Are In...Chapter 1"
THANK GOD FOR CELL PHONES!
First we called the cab driver that dropped us off at the theater. He couldn't pick us up because his night was full of scheduled pick ups. Then we called the front desk of our hotel and begged him to please call us a cab. He did...however the wait time was going to be close to an hour. With no other alternatives...we sat at that corner.
We were exhausted, hungry, sticky from the thick humidity, angry at the NY/NJ Transit (how could they possibly hire a neanderthal of a bus driver???), and bemoaning our fate.
An hour went by but there was no taxi. We called the hotel again as to the status of our driver and he said that it was a busy night and that it might be an additional hour. (Suffering another hour of this?? ---sure... no problem - NOT!)
So what were our options? No other busses came our way and it looks like we weren't going to get any assistance from local authorities or the natives. So there we sat staring at the street sign as sweat rolled off our forehead and the pangs of hunger washed over our seething anger. Well...it was mostly MY anger. The sibs found some humor in all of this.
We decided that if we were stranded here we were going to answer the help wanted sign on a small pharmacy shop. I can see us advising a customer on the numerous uses for butt cream. Or helping refill a 75 year old man with his viagra prescription. Yeah, the possibilities were endless.
We also called a couple of our friends to let them know what was up just in case something really bad happend to us. (Don't get me wrong...we also vented!)
Fortunately we were picked up...45 minutes later. When we got to our rooms we showered liked there was no tomorrow while waiting for our food to be deliveried up to our room. Yeah...we were glad that night was over with. There are some memories I will cherish about that night...and of course...there are other memories that I wish I didn't have. All in all...I'd rather strangle the bus driver.
So what is the moral of the story...???
1 -- Never trust the NY/NJ Transit Info People (What is their motivation sitting in a 3 by 5 plexi-glassed aquarium?)
2 -- Good Samaritans do not exist...after midnight.
3 -- Humor can help you cope...Anger can take you places.
4 -- Your cell phone is your friend...especially if it has great coverage.