18 April 2008

Get the hell out of New York; Part II

I made it to Lewiston alive and in one piece. This space is reserved for details about my travels. I'm way too exhausted to go into it now. Holy crap.

Okay, I've rested a little now. Let's see what I have to say about this move.

The train left Albany around 7 PM on Monday, the 14th. The train was pretty packed; only a few people got seats to themselves and I wasn't one of them. It took ages for the lady I was sitting with to warm up and even once she did, it was only just barely. We traveled all the way to Chicago next to each other and never even exchanged names. Which is fine by me because, frankly, she struck me as kind of a bitch. She was fine with the Border Patrol guys coming on the train at 11:30 at night and waking people with a flashlight shined in their eyes because she thought it was beneficial to her safety and because as long as you said you were a citizen of the US, the guys nodded and left you alone. But when she was inconvenienced by a freight train slipping off the rails on the track ahead of us, then she threw a fit.

Because of that freight train incident, we were really late getting to Chicago. I didn't even have time to pee. As soon as I found the gate for my train to Spokane, they started boarding. I found the car I was supposed to be in and discovered it was a two-level one. You have to request lower-level seating when you order your ticket, otherwise you're not supposed to be down there. I hadn't done that. I also couldn't get up the stairs. So I sat in the lower level and had a panic attack. That car's porter, Linda, came in and asked if I had lower-level seating; she didn't notice I was crying. I told her no but I couldn't get up the stairs and to hang on a minute because I was having a panic attack and I'd be able to talk in a few minutes when it dissipated. She was (or at least acted) very concerned and told me I could stay where I was, I just might have to move back a seat if anyone in a wheelchair boarded. (I wound up moving back a seat anyway because I didn't like not having a tray to lean on, but that's not the point.)

From Chicago to somewhere just inside Wisconsin, there was a very nice soft-spoken old lady in the car with me. She asked me about where I came from and where I was going and all kinds of stuff. I was kind of sad to see her go, only that meant I had the whole car to myself and I sure as hell didn't mind that. I was totally on my own until St. Paul, where a couple and their kid got on. I didn't catch her name but his was Mark. They were going all the way to Spokane, too, so I had company the rest of the way. They turned out to be really nice people and the kid was pretty well-behaved, so I didn't mind their company at all.

At one point, the kid counted to seven! Mark said he counts with him all the time but that's the first time he ever responded. It was pretty awesome to be there to witness that. And then right after, the train went through Glacier National Park, which was beyond gorgeous. It was one of the best couple of hours of my life.

We got to Spokane at about 1:45 in the morning and then I had to wait until 5:15 for the Greyhound ticketing station to open, and then it was 6:30 before my bus got there. There was a kid named Axle waiting for the same bus and we chatted. I didn't really want to -- I was trying to read -- but I couldn't just tell him to go away. I was a little freaked out, waiting there. Axle had just gotten out of a juvenile detention center in Chicago and there were about six travelers and homeless guys sleeping on benches and video game machines in the bus depot. It's not the safest I've ever felt.

When we finally got on the bus, I kind of wanted to just die. I was exhausted and bus travel is possibly my least favorite thing of all time. But it was only two and a half hours and then I was in north Lewiston. Officially "the hell out of New York." It's been less than a day and a half but ... so far, so good. I'm going through standard homesickness/fear of change/whatever but I'm pretty sure that'll go away soon. And even if it doesn't, I can't go back to New York yet. I need to give this time, no matter how hard it is. I have to be able to say I really gave it a try. A month or two isn't even long enough to be able to say that, let alone a day or two.

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