5 o' clock in the morning rolled around, and my alarm went off dutifully. I lay in bed an extra five or ten minutes coming to consciousness and preparing my day in my head. Eventually I got up and hit the shower. While taking care of the showering-and-shaving portion of my day, I was planning out the rest of my morning in my head: make breakfast, make sure I was prepared for my day's outing, wondering whether or not I had the time or need to get online before heading out. I know from experience the shave-and-shower routine takes about a half hour, so I figured it was about quarter-to-six, figuring that the time gave me the option of choosing either breakfast or a walk to the bus station instead of a train. I chose breakfast, and headed down to the kitchen. Upon arriving, I was greeted by the glow of the clock on the stove. 6:45. Wait, what? No...that's supposed to be 5:45. I looked again. 6:45. Microwave...6:45. I'm...I'm supposed to be at the bus station.
I stood there for a moment, frozen into panicked denial. Surely this couldn't be real. Surely...somehow all the clocks in the kitchen were wrong. I raced back to my bedroom and ripped my cell phone from its charger. My phone would set things straight...the correct time beamed to the palm of my hand from the depths of space, surely it would give me back my missing hour. 6:45. Noooooooo!
In a display of quantum energy shift that would put the most energized electron to shame, I transitioned instantaneously from leisurely lounger in a bathrobe into multi-limbed man of action. My robe was still holding its shape without a body in it and had yet to fall to the floor before I was failing around at my desk, one pant leg on, whipping a necktie around in my left hand, right hand tapping away the computer keyboard looking for another bus to take me to New York.
Here was the thing. Since I'd already used up my physics-defying move that day, there was no way I was going to make the bus at 7. I mean...I could have given it a shot, but failure was not only likely, but would have also meant a virtual guarantee of lateness. Whereas booking another trip on another bus line was a much more reasonable approach. My original reservation was with Greyhound, but I knew the next thing scheduled would not have gotten me to the City on time. So that left the alternate lines, either something in the Bolt or Megabus category, or something out of Chinatown. Chinatown is even further from my house than Greyhound, but the other discount lines were closer, so that seemed good. The hope was that I could find something leaving early enough so that I still stood a chance of getting to New York on time, but late enough that I also stood a chance of making it to the departure. Pulling my socks on with my teeth, I finally settled on a 7:30 Megabus, due in New York at 9:30. In rush hour. For a meeting at 10. Well...a man has to hope. I bought a ticket.
So I'm racing down the street, front door slamming shut behind me as I hop onto the curb, pulling my other shoe on and hoping like hell I was going to make this bus departure. I'm literally half a block down the street, pausing for a moment in my mental checklisting to make sure I wasn't leaving anything behind when I notice...it's fucking snowing!. Screaming defiantly, I shake my fist at the sky while disappearing into the Philadelphia winter. Don't fuck my commute, I beseech the weather gods, not today!
Thankfully I made the bus. In my mind, I leapt onto it and grabbed the bumper with my T-1000-style crowbar-hand as it was pulling away, but in reality I just got on board. I wasn't even the last guy on, so that's nice. The thing about just making a bus in the nick of time, though, is that there's not really any payoff there. Like...you've just gone through this weird adrenaline thing to get something done you needed to get done. Then, having succeeded, you get that accomplishment high...flushed with victory you win the chance to...well...sit there for a long time. It's somehow anticlimactic.
So, yeah...then I sat there a long time.
We were slightly delayed in coming out of Philly proper due to some police commotion on the onramp to the highway. This in itself is not super-notable, but what was notable this time around was...well, two-fold. For one, the cops appeared to have pulled over a Greyhound bus. For two, what I saw in front of that scene was another cop car in front of the bus, with the cop standing outside and talking to a scraggly-bearded, scraggily-longhaired man...with no shirt on. Remember that it's snowing at this point. And then the scene was out of sight. So...I have absolutely no idea what was going on there, but in the movie version of my life that plays in my mind, that was the Greyhound bus that I ended up missing, meaning that it all worked out for the best anyway. :) And thankfully the weather eased up as I left Pennsylvania, so the weather gods had answered my desperate plea from earlier.
So. After some expected, but still torturous, traffic delays while approaching the Lincoln Tunnel, the bus eventually makes it to Manhattan. Greyhound goes to the Port Authority terminal, which is a stone's throw from the location I had to be at in Times Square. Megabus, though, while conveniently departing closer to my house, unfortunately arrives in New York further away from my destination. So my feet hit the curb at 9:49, and I'm maybe ten streets and an avenue from where I need to be. I can totally do this! I make my way to the correct longitude, and then...shame be damned...I start jogging my fat ass up Seventh Avenue.
I lose myself in the rhythmic, panting footfalls and try to plan out my approach in my head. Let's see...assume the standard one-street-per-minute NYC walking rule. I start compiling equations in my head...balancing against how bad I need to be on time, I need to know how much time can I make up with running versus how much time will I need to slow down at the end so I can cool off and not burst through the office doors looking like I'm being chased down by a Pamplona streetful of bulls.
The equations aren't looking good. I'm deciding I'd rather show up sweaty than show up late, so I'm trying to power through the end of the run. I pull out my phone to check the time. 9:57, three minutes left. Coincidentally, I get a text message from the person I'm supposed to be meeting. "Almost here?" Shit! I phone back, now completely losing all hope of not looking like a complete jerk as I tear-ass through the streets of Manhattan while talking on my cellphone. I feel like just for the look of it, I should be shouting something like, "THEY'RE ALMOST ON ME! GET THOSE COPIES OF THE DATA TO INTERPOL!" What I'm actually doing is saying, "I'm two blocks away...*huff huff*...be there soon...*huff huff*...do you have...*huff huff*...defibrilator..."
Anyway. So I made the office. That's about where the action movie portion of this tale ends. The person I had an appointment with was finishing up a meeting, so luckily I had a chance to cool down and mop up a little before being introduced. I think, all things considered, it probably wasn't apparent what a mad rush had happened prior to me showing up to that meeting. Well...not apparent until now, I mean. :)
* * *
Before I move on to the actual news I wanted to share, I just want to recap how the rest of that day went. After Phase Two was taken care of, I decided that, once again, since I was out and about, I might as well make a day of it. And again, as is my habit, I went to see a movie again, this time taking in Paul. It's about what you'd expect; if you're at all interested in it on face value, I think you will not be disappointed. There are also many (many, especially toward the end) references to a lot of sci-fi movie classics, so that's a good time. But, yeah...honestly there's not a lot I can tell you about the flick that, for good or ill, you wouldn't already expect. So I'm not going to change anyone's mind about that. :)
After the movie, I got a chance to do some catching up with Janie (aplacental) after she got off work, so that was pretty long overdue. It was a nice time: a lot of chatting, and a little sushi, which is something I sorely miss, not really doing much partaking in Philly. What I took away most from that gettogether is that...I realized that pretty much all my friends nowadays are my high school friends, excepting the people I've stayed in touch with from my days out in Cali. Because of that...I have this weird habit of thinking of people (and myself, really) as, well...kids. :) Granted, this may not actually be off the mark, but I automatically just put myself and my peer group in the headspace of, like, twenty-year-olds. Again, this is not an unfounded perspective, especially in my own case, as we are not, as a whole, the most mature bunch of people. But getting together with Janie showed me that, yeah, with a little effort, I can try and see past that weird filter and take in just how some people have grown up into some pretty outstanding adults. It's...well, somewhat jarring, to be honest. :) But gaining a new perspective on things should never be lamented, I think, and being reminded that you are friends with some pretty awesome people is always a win, so...yeah. Good times. :)
Anyway. After we parted ways, I took the opportunity to stroll around Manhattan for a while. A lot of that time, actually, was also taken up with me spreading around a bit of good news I had received, which I will detail below. As you will see, it turned out to be a pretty good day. But the fun wasn't over yet! :)
Later that evening, I got to meet up with Paulina (drdelirium) on her way out of work so we could grab a quick beer and chat a bit. It was totally an impromptu meetup, but it was completely excellent. Just a spell of after-work unwinding over a pint in a noisy watering hole. I mean...it was just so...normal. It was like...what people do. :) I feel like I spend so much time out in Bizarro World that I forget the simple pleasures that can arise from real human contact. :) I mean it sure doesn't hurt that we're so sympatico. But I've been telling myself lately that I should work a little bit to overcome the loner impulse that generally figures so largely in my making plans with people. And I did that, consciously, this time around, and it was great. So, yeah...also good times. :)
Anyway...enough. You came here for the news yeah?
* * *
As a few of you know, and some of you have guessed, and many of you have probably now surmised, my recent missions to New York have involved the job hunt. I've kept the details of this out of the public eye, just because it seems like a good idea to do so, but honestly I've been really hoping for this to come through. It's been cooking for some time now, but only in the last week has the shit started to become real. And, well...even moreso now.
I'm happy to report that as of yesterday afternoon, I have been offered the job! I'm starting next week as part of a crackerjack office team headed up by none other than our own jammie718. This is a big deal for me...a big opportunity and a big step, and I'm happy to be able to take it. For those keeping score...that means that, yes, I'm going to be spending my working days in New York City. I also intend to keep commuting from Philly, so that means that basically the entirety of my time during the work week is going to be spoken for. I anticipate a significant reduction in my participation in the Internet. ;) I'm sure the details of that will be worked out once I get acclimated to the job and the routine, but obviously at the beginning I'm looking at focusing on getting to work and not so much with keeping tabs on the ol' infostream. In fact...I am seriously considering a conscientious hiatus from the 'Net for like a week or so, but...I'm still working out whether that would actually be good or bad for me. :)
In any case...big changes are afoot. I've got this weekend to prepare, and then starting next week, well...everything is going to change. I'm going to do my best to keep people up to date and everything, but I told myself that if taking advantage of a chance to get a little back on track with life means giving up my time on the 'Net, then...well...the choice is clear. Also things may not change all that drastically, either, or they may, but then they may get normalized again as I get used to the new situation. As with everything, we'll just have to see how things shake out.
On balance, though, this is a big deal, and a pretty happy one, at that. That's enough for now; I hope to come back later with thoughts on the new job and work in general and all that good stuff, but for now...light at the end of the tunnel, man. It's a much bigger deal that I gave it credit for. Onward!