My cold hit full-force this morning, which was actually rather considerate of it; had it done so tomorrow, it might have kept me from getting on the train to Canada on time, and that would have been Bad. As it was, it kept me in Patricia's house, having a lazy sick day.
I curled up with my Amber omnibus for a good while until Patricia stirred. As she has insomnia, I considered it most wise to let her sleep when she would and as long as she would, although if she were still asleep by four in the afternoon, I'd have to wake her anyway to make it to the train. When she did rise, we chatted a bit and made moves toward getting motivated to actually go somewhere -- or to at least have lunch with Dave, who was in classes that day. He was unavoidably detained, so lunch became delivery Chinese.
I really find Patricia a fascinating person to deal with -- we share an odd number of similarities (such as brand of toothpaste), yet she approaches many things with a fresh perspective that I don't often find in California -- unfortunately, most are too personal to go into in web page and thus read by who-knows-who-all. Anyway, she was a most excellent hostess, being incredibly hospitable and accomodating even in the midst of PMS, and staying at her house was a welcome respite from the constant activity that'd been my lot since I stepped off the train in Florida.
Her apartment butts onto the shore of one of the many rivers that cross Connecticut, near where it expends itself into the sea. Really, I'm not sure what Skadhi's problem was -- I didn't mind the gulls' cries at all; they helped set a sense of place.
After a day spent in such an indulgently lazy fashion, Patty and I drove to the sea. See, Bear, one of the Hrafnar crew, had asked for some Atlantic water, and the Atlantic had the virtue of being Right There; New London is where Long Island Sound ends.
We pulled into the parking lot of New London's Ocean Beach boardwark. It was deserted, given the season, and we strolled along a boardwalk to the beach. We were immediately reminded of two things:
An early chapter in The Talisman is named "Jack Lights Out," which explains today. Now, the embarassing part of all this is this:
Have you ever tried to fill a water bottle from the ocean? The sea is hardly static, and it was only now that it occured to me that a bowl would have been a marvelous to have, and wouldn't it have been a great stroke of foresight to have thought of it? Ahead of time? Before we were standing here on the beach having Talisman flashbacks?
My shoes were soaked, and I only managed to about half-fill Bear's bottle. I'll see if I can't supplement it with half of another bottle from Lake Erie or such.
I'd desparately wanted to stop into CVS (a drugstore) for some cold medicine, but time was not our friend; it was time to head to the train station. I did manage to catch a picture of Patty while we waited for the train, though:
The train was only about five minutes late. I swung into business class, and this train was wholly on the platform, making things much easier. I took a business class seat -- or tried to. My first attempt, taking the fourth seat with a family of three sitting at a table, failed when the child next to me wanted to sleep. However, a row back from them was a businessman trying to take up three seats: two of his things, while he helped a co-worker across the aisle. That was hardly kosher, and he bashfully consolidated his holdings.
Last night's trip through the snowy woods of Connecticut had all the hallmarks of being trapped in a Robert Frost poem. We had, of course, innumerable woods on this snowy evening (although we weren't stopping by them per se), and rather a few of the good fences that make good neighbors. Getting reminded of The Talisman on the beach, though, put me more in a Stephen King frame of mind, which only drive home the fact that I must never travel to Maine, for Something Will Eat Me.
New England's charcoal-grey granite bones thrust from the earth, rising to either side of the train during cuts in the hills, merely making landmarks of themselves otherwise. I wasn't particularly scared, per se (after all, this was Connecticut and not Maine), just cast into a bemused frame of mind, at least until dark when there was nothing left to see and we were nearly to New York anyway.
I had tentatively scheduled dinner with Laz and Heather Chernik, but they hadn't confirmed, which left me alone in Penn Station with my thoughts and my cold when the train pulled in. I remembered the station's layout from when Mike and I lived here well enough to recall the location of the taxi stand, and I bade the driver to take me to the Marriott Marquis.
Ah, New York -- for every thousand dreams she spins, at least nine hundred ninety are shattered. Pretty to look at when she's clean, disturbing when she's dirty. Bright, fast, mostly sharp edges and thus occasionally painful.
New York is a knife, and Manhattan is its blade.
Mike and I lived here for a year and a half, the first place we'd ever lived together. I was unfortunately too late, tired, and sick to take a subway to Battery Park City, where we'd lived: all I wanted was the hotel, dinner, and bed, in about that order.
The taxi driver pushed up Eighth Avenue in stony silence. You can get a quick idea of what ethnic group is feeling oppressed and yet has the wherewithal to emigrate at any given time by looking at the makeup of New York City cab drivers, I'm convinced. It was dark, and all I could make out were Caucasian features, so I'm not sure who's making it just now. Grey-market electronics stores and nondescript restaurants of a dozen countries drifted by, all of which parted around Forty-Second Street for Times Square, one of New York's several beating hearts, one that primarily deals with the swing shift as the Beautiful People go to the show. Four blocks later, we had arrived.
I stepped out of the cab, tipped the cabbie and the bellman, and entered the hotel. For reasons known only to them, the staff of this hotel had put their lobby and restaurants on the eighth floor, above several floors of conference rooms. I found the front desk, got my key, and took a glass-fronted elevator to the twenty-fifth floor -- room 2522 had an expansive view of the ad-filled, neon-lit cacophony of Times Square, a sight for which I had little time, because we were here to eat, then sleep, in about... that...
What's that box?
Oooh! It's that high speed in-hotel Internet thing! I saw that at the Holiday Inn we stayed at over Pantheacon. Well, okay, a little net time before bed... after all, I need to make a journal update...
Hey, we all have our addictions. Mine's legal and relatively cheap.At about quarter past eleven, and only because the gift shop with the drugs and the in-hotel restaurant all closed around midnight, I towed myself downstairs, had drugs and dinner charged to the room, and started back toward the room.
The Mariott Marquis has a rotating restaurant and club on its forty-eighth floor. I nipped a ride up on an express elevator to see it before returning to my room. Yup, it's high up, and it spins. Back to my room!
All I had the mental wherewithal to do, as I'd just had a NyQuil, was upload the updates, and fall into bed. Tomorrow would see an early wakeup call and a twelve-hour train ride to Toronto... and I needed all the sleep I could get.
|March 12||March 14|
|Three Mystics in Connecticut||The Clearing of the Customs|