austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

I felt I'd known you all my life when we reached Twenty-Third

Everything, sad to say, does end eventually, and bunny_hugger's visit was one of them.

Saturday finally came even if I had trouble waking up for it as if I were trying to make it linger, and I picked her up at the hotel just as she was checking out, and we went in search of another diner to have a last proper meal together. We couldn't just sprawl things out over more days as she had her brother to meet, so we even knew there was a preferable time to get going into Manhattan. We came to a diner near my home which aims for a deliberately retro 50s feeling, with chrome and neon lights and M*A*S*H playing on the television sets (I believe this was coincidental to the theme), and we had a last lingering meal together. It may sound like we did a lot of lingering on the visit, and truth be told we did.

On a suggestion which had been in my mind but was also made by my mother and my father, apparently independently, I rode up on the bus to the Port Authority with her. This gave us a couple extra hours together, wonderfully enough, and it also allowed for an advantageous extra bit of tour-guiding on my part because the bus up there sticks for the most part to Route 9. By a strange development my parents have, with one exception when I was barely a year old, simply moved a couple miles farther south on 9 as they find new houses, so that as we drove up we were in a sense driving backwards in time in my biography, and I could describe things like a particularly interesting traffic intersection. I mean interesting in that aspects of it had me fascinated when I was seven. It's important to remember that we were not a family that moved around much, so I have a wealth of stories about a variety store that lasts until long past the bus is out of sight of it. You may not be surprised to know just how long I can spend rambling about what looks like a perfectly ordinary intersection, but when it involves something that was a landmark on trips to my grandparents, and to where I spent every summer when I was a kid, and to my first important summer job, and then a way point on the trips to grad school, I can go on at length.

And yet, eventually, we got onto the Parkway, and my stories turned into more things about going to graduate school or getting to Newark Airport to fly away, and then even past that we got to the parts of the state opposite Manhattan, and to the Lincoln Tunnel, and to the Port Authority. From this point she had the subway to get on, to take her to Brooklyn and to her brother, while I had just ... to get back home, eventually. We took our time in parting, as long as seemed safe to avoid her missing her brother. But she had to get a Metro card --- there's a convenient one designed for people who are going to be tourists for a week or two, with unlimited rides for that reasonably short time; mine is the more standard none-too-expensive but charges-each-ride sort.

And there came the time she had to swipe her Metro card through the gate and walk in, and I stayed out, watching her ultimately through the stairwell until her train arrived. It was a lovely early afternoon.

Trivia: The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving in fall 1621 would also be the first time they saw the leaves of a New England Autumn. Source: Mayflower: A Story Of Courage, Community, and War, Nathaniel Philbrick.

Currently Reading: Four Colors Suffice: How The Map Problem Was Solved, Robin Wilson. I'm honestly shocked to learn that the four-color map theorem was never of any interest to mapmakers: they'd happily use however many colors they could print in.

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