I had to be in lower Manhattan at 6 a.m near street names foreign to me: Erricson, Beach, Vestry all of which were not on any current map.
I hopstopped it, a site where you put in your starting point and address of where you’re going and they tell you how to go. In this case it all looked Greek to me.
I decide the safest thing to do was to get on the train early enough to give myself ample time to get lost. The great thing about the number 6 is it’s packed day or night so you’re never alone. It’s the reason they’re building the Second Avenue subway, to relieve the Upper East Side of its commuter congestion.
So after 20 agonizing minutes trying hard not to jump in a cab, the train finally comes.
I even got a seat next to a middle aged man who at one point falls asleep on my shoulder I shake off like a big bug. Unperturbed, he just put his head on the guy’s shoulder on his other side who looks at me and says, “It’s oo-key leedy, he’s my bra-ther.”
So I find myself in a deserted neighborhood way downtown.
I do remember an all night Dunkin Donuts nearby, so acting like Sonny Corleone worried he’ll get whacked, I walk into the smell of freshly brewed coffee (and a touch of BO) packed with all-night street workers in bright yellow jump- suits. It was as if I was in the midst of a bunch of bumblebees. Now, an hour early, I decide to have a large latte and wait.
The bees are very polite making room for me in-between their tool belts and hard hats. It took everything I had not to ask whether or not they get dental coverage since none of them had very promising teeth. You’d think the city would have better insurance for these hard-working men.
One guy leans over and says,”If you don’t mind me akskin, whaddya doin ova hea all by yo-self?”
I say what I always say, “Paying the rent.”
I then let it be known I’m not sure where I’m going, so they all get out their smart phones and figure out where exactly I have to be.
I am so touched by their concern I offer to buy a round of coffee I’m so happy they refuse, my Visa bleeding in my pocket.
“Ya know Miss, this ain’t no place to be at dis ta-m a’ night.”
“Yeah, I know, but here I am anyway.”
“You need a donut or sumpin?”
“No, I’m good, thanks.”
I feel like Dorothy, just with bees rather than Munchkins.
When leaving, I bump into two trash collectors having a smoke.
They look at me and nod.
“Where you goin?” one asked as I check my directions.
“129 Hudson Street.” They look at one another.
I try dissuading them, but they won’t hear of it.
“We needs a walk ena-way.”
So not only am I on time, but escorted by two big, burly men who do smell like wet produce, but under the circumstances, a girl just has to let that go.