Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer of Excitement - DustBuster Reunion & Travel Woes - [a case of the summer]

As I indicated when I first introduced the Summer of Excitement, something doesn't need to be shocking or life altering in order to qualify.  In some cases, it may be something fun that's still relatively basic and pre-planned.  And that's what happened this week, when I reunited with my group of friends from high school.  For whatever reason (and surprisingly, not at all wrestling related), several groups of friends in our high school had group names, and ours was the DustBusters (long story).  Now over a decade out of high school, we're all pretty scattered about and it's difficult to get together.  Most have moved out of state.  Several even left the tri-state area.  One even left the country altogether.  The friend who left the country has returned for the week, so this Saturday we made every effort to get as many of us together as possible.

That isn't to say the weekend wasn't completely devoid of spontaneity.  It was a long, tiring week and I knew I'd have to wake up early Saturday (for my trip to the Hoboken Biergarten), so I initially planned on staying in.  But Friday afternoon I heard from our good friend Neal (of Oblivious to Melody), who suggested we meet at Barcade.  Knowing that Neal wasn't going to be able to make it Saturday -- and of course loving Barcade -- I took him up on the offer.  And I was really glad I decided to go out.

Saturday night was a great time as well.  We grabbed a few drinks at some Mexican restaurant/bar (where apparently Lady Gaga used to bartend) before going to Sparks Steakhouse (a delicious but entirely too expensive restaurant).  We then went hopping around to a couple of bars before finally heading home for the night.  The moments that we're all together are few and far between these days, so it was really nice getting to see a bunch of these friends.

Perhaps the real "excitement" -- in the most negative sense of the word -- of the weekend related to my constant travel woes.  When I left work Friday evening, my car indicated that I had about 40 miles left before I was out of gas.  There's a gas station I always hit on Route 46 right before I get onto the Parkway, so I figured I'd go there.  However, when I arrived, the place was boarded up and closed.  I still had about 20 miles left (barely enough to get home), so I figured I'd just risk it.  I knew that I'd be going to Jersey City that night, and would be passing a gas station on my way to the Turnpike.  However, when I got there (and now I'm literally at 0 miles left), that gas station was ALSO boarded up and closed.  I frantically drove around trying to find a gas station (again, still on 0) but couldn't find anything.  I finally had to drive back to my hometown to get to the one gas station I knew would be open.  And then, on top of that, there was a detour on the road to the bar, forcing me to go rather out of my way and park in a not-so-nice area of town. Poor Neal waited about an hour before I showed up.

And Saturday wasn't without its fair share of stress either.  After dinner we went to a couple of bars.  Before arriving at the second one, I realized I needed to stop at an ATM.  I walked around looking for a bank (opposed to a bodega), but couldn't find anything.  I also realized that I now REALLY needed to pee.  So I walked around and simultaneously tried to find a bank and a place I could sneak into to use the bathroom.  I finally achieved the latter (quite a nice place, too) and then just settled on a convenience store to use their ATM (with their outrageous fees).  I also got so mixed up in my journey that I barely remembered how to get back to the bar.  I was probably gone for a half hour -- the hijinx I get myself into when left to my own devices.

And finally, there was the ride home.  I decided to take the bus back, so I arrived at the bus terminal and bought my ticket.  I made sure to check which gate I had to go to, and I went directly to there to ensure I was in the right place.  There were a fair amount of people there, so I felt confident.  We waited for about a half hour, but no bus was arriving.  Some girl finally went downstairs to ask what was going on, and it turns out the buses were being redirected and that we needed to go through the basement to an entirely other building.  So suddenly you had this whole group of strangers practically sprinting from our gate to another building, all hoping that the last bus hasn't left already (it would be two hours before another arrived, which was after 3:00 AM).  Thank the Lord, I caught my bus, but didn't get home until close to three in the morning.

But hey, totally worth it.

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