I will write about the reading as well, but first I have to tell you about the trip home.
I sat in a Peter Pan bus on a street in Harlem for two hours.
This bus left the Port Authority at 4:45. We entered the Major Deagan at 7:45.
I'm not sure which was worse. Sitting in traffic (and I do mean sitting — we stayed on the same block for nearly 30 minutes), or listening to all of the simultaneous cell phone calls springing up around the bus. Let a thousand turds bloom. "CAN YOU BELIEVE I'M STUCK ON A BUS IN HARLEM?!!!1 WE'VE ONLY GONE ONE BLOCK SINCE I CALLED YOU LAST TIME! GAWD I SHOULDA TAKEN THE TRAIN! ARE YOU THERE?"
These calls continued for the entire trip. The lady behind me called what must have been her entire book. She told them all about her day in the city with her dad going to see a taping of Martha Stewart. ("She's thinner than you think.") The girl sitting next to me had the iPod cranked up so loud that the leakage from her buds exceeded the volume I usually play on my stereo at home. The couple in front of me made out and "watched" Happy Gilmore on his Powerbook. I alternated nodding off, reading Snow Crash, and grappling with angry thoughts.
My cell phone battery was nearly dead, so I was unable to join in the fun. It's not really my style anyway.
I have no idea what caused this traffic. I suspect it had something to do with the sign near the entrance of the Deagan flashing ALTERNATE ROUTE ADVISED.
We did eventually get near Boston. I looked nervously at my cell phone. 11:00pm. I should still be able to make the 11:25 train...
That's when the bus driver jumped the shark. Within sight of South Station, he got lost. We tooled around shallow Southie. Passengers in the front seats shouted directions at him. The driver said nothing. He just made wrong turns. We got back on the highway and off again.
We rolled in to South Station at 11:45pm. A 4.5 hour bus ride took 7. No more commuter trains. Had to take the T out to the Highlands and catch a cab. While waiting for the cab, I was approached by a young lady. She rubbed her eyes. "You fall asleep on the T too?" That's a hell of a pick-up line. My cab pulled up. She wanted to share it, but she was going the other direction.
The cab driver was watching TV. As in, he had a full TV, with antennae extended, riding shotgun. That's a new one.
Anyway, I made it. On the upside, at no point during the trip was the bus in flames.