Inhale deep like the words of my breath; I never sleep, ’cause sleep is the cousin of death.
I lay puzzle as I backtrack to earlier times; Nothing’s equivalent to the New York state of mind.
Guns guns guns. Shooting bullets bullets bullets. If possession is 9/10th of the law in America, then violence might very well be the tenth tenth. We got so many bullets in the US & A. Ironic it then is that we don’t have bullet trains. Isn’t it? Insert yoda voice. Hmmm. We aren’t in Osaka anymore, Toto. Raleigh Sojourn revived and fully loaded, I’m heading two miles to the downtown Buffalo Amtrak station — you know, NOT the architectural masterpiece known as Buffalo Central Terminal — but the one they recently put tons of money into and yet I cannot head west or south or north of out. Whoever the fuck they are. I suspect public funding which means I’m “they”. God. Damn. Taxes. So, yeah I can only take eastbound trains out of this stupid station. Combine that with the non-bullet, slower than molasses train service and it’s a wonder anyone even uses this station or takes a train at all. There’s a second “Buffalo” station in Depew, a suburb miles outside of the city. Yet year after year we dump funding into this entity we call Amtrak, (doesn’t pay me, though they should) which is basically a government-run train company and in my humble opinion is the poorest execution of any sort of socialism in our current American society. Ugh. More tax implications. Incidents. I’m happy to pay my share if we all got some really useful shit out of it. And if the wealthy pay theirs. For real though. Why am I not hopping on the most advanced rail travel system on earth? My patriotism bubbles. Why? I like my politics with religion and level up. Why GOD why? I shake my fist to the sky at a god a don’t even believe in. All of them. It’s comical, not in the Dave Chappelle-no-phones-at-my-show-because-free-speech-is-dying way. More in the sad state of our nation way. So kinda related. All jokes aside, I’m really doing this so I can bring my bicycle. If you’re following along at home, that’s the superficial secondary here. The first cut is the deepest. And in case in all this “all-aboard”-stream-of-consciousness-ness you forgot what in the fuck we are really talking about, I’ll let you know I’ve seen way too many bullets in people lately. All these guns. All this para-militarization. All this war. No bullet trains. No meaningfully sustainable transportation options. No justice. No peace. No sleep. Till Brooklyn. Well Manhattan, actually.
Kara and I are Maple 64 bound; Chad comes out tomorrow; Damon lives in Queens. Somewhere in the middle of this train ride we roll through Utica. According to Google maps, the Utica station is “busier than usual”. It’s a sad site. Not much happening here. I don’t even notice. Maybe Google is just wrong. I take comfort in the fact that maybe the robots aren’t winning despite that fact that tech professionals are quitting over sentient AI concerns. My partners and I have discussed what the zombie apocalypse might look like on the way to calls for “bites”. So first, yes I’m talking about my firefighting partners and not my Kama Sutra partners. Second, we all agree that we will never see it coming. At least Utica will always have Utica Club. We roll along to Amsterdam and I am pretty fucking sure I could get out and ride my bike faster than this train. Superman would disown any comparison, my peoples.
Despite the best efforts of the Amtrak employees – who are absolutely marvelous — 9 miserably slow-and-stop hours end in the new old Penn Station. If you know you know. It’s dark. Kara asks if I ever worked out the apartment checkin, which has been a bit difficult at times and still under development as recently as yesterday. I let her know we’re good. Affirmation. We’re legitimately meeting a woman named Kat on the corner of 28th and Lexington for the keys. I shit you not all of that shit is true as shit. Two tacos later and I’m cansado as fuck. This means I immediately pass out, floors above the midtown happenings.
The next morning and this blissful rum-infused cold brew Puerto Rican coffee heaven I’m in is interrupted in the most uncivilized of manners. Rude. Men want to control womens body. The whites are still ruled by the Fear Of A Black Planet. Yo Chuck, kick it to em man.
Strolling through Union Square, a striking brunette of a Spectrum NYC reporter asks us if we have a minute. Do we care to comment on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade? Jaw drop. Huh? What? Knew it was comin. Now I know it’s here. Kara says “fucked” on camera three times before they turn to me. I’m like, “I guess coat hangers are back”. That’s not true. But I wish it was. Me saying that, not what I said. Huh. What? I’m not fully activated yet and don’t take advantage of my national news moment, simply stating that as a man it’s not my place to have an opinion on what women do with their bodies. Also, as they press on that “this nation is headed in the wrong direction”. Basically all arrows point to Gilead. A Handmaids Tale will soon be in the documentary category for Best whatever at whatever sham and stupid awards show.
We walk to Washington Square Park; I kicked it here on the reg back in the late 90s. Back then it was all rastas selling weed, skaters smoking weed, junkies being junkies, and the hip hop crews doing what we do. Beatboxing. Breakdancing. Ciphering. Shit done changed. Families and gentrification, nothing can save you. The air is thick with concern of infringement (aka all out assault) on body autonomy. I randomly bump into new friend Jeff, who I met just a couple weeks in Buffalo. How this can happen in a city of millions is beyond me. Jeff says there might be riots and there might be a secret Madonna concert.
We walk on to REI. It’s a very robust REI. I wish I had my truck because I’d get my capitalism on and spend some serious bucks in here if I did. I buy nothing. Finally in Chinatown. My home girl Jenn aka JCJ aka Juju has changed careers: from coffee to tattoo. I have great friends. They like what I like. Juju blesses me with some commemorative ink before we head out for Peking Duck. Afterward Kara and I hit the protests, then the High Line, then the apartment.
Chad’s not gonna make it, so we will now be rolling out with three tomorrow morning. 600 miles cross-state back to Buffalo. No shuffling, just pedaling. It’s gonna be a long hot day out of this concrete jungle. Crash out time.