Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.
Man it feels awesome to walk again. Awesome and exhausting. The walk to the southern tip of Staten Island from the St. George terminal was 15.5-16 miles. The walk to the Staten Island railway maybe a mile from there. Back in my prime during summer and the later half of 2009 this’d have been nothing. Quite pathetic the shape I’ve decayed to. Still can’t bash myself too hard though as at least I’m trying to be active once more.
Not sure what to say here really because this hopefully isn’t just another travel blog. I could say Staten Island is amazing and yadda yadda but I’m pretty sure that someone somewhere else already said that about any place conceivable. Still one can’t help but share facts and opinions. Whether I may want it to or not this may still become a travel blog. But I don’t know. The point of this blog is to serve as a communication hub between me and the people I meet. A lot of the stuff that comes out may be random. Again I don’t really know what this will become. Your guess is as good as mine. If this become too boring let me know. Also to help improve it let me know what interests you.
As I said before the thing about these expeditions is that you can’t quite describe their essence in words. Language simply isn’t sufficiently powerful. The following therefore is merely a collection of things I found interesting/odd.
Staten Island is certainly a unique place. Sometimes it has that NYC urban feel, other times a typical suburb type feel, yet other times that classic small town feel. Yet it also has this unique feel not quite like anywhere else which I simply can’t describe. Staten Island is Staten Island.
Also quite interesting in the traversal. Sometimes there are sidewalks like in a conventional city other times you’re just walking alongside a two lane road almost coast to coast like between cities but still this suburban/inhabited feel instead of side of the highway. Yet other times the sidewalks break off and restart again randomly and you’re hopping between the two. That’s Amboy Road for you. Anyway dunno how normal that is outside of NYC but I’m guessing its not.
Avoid the bathroom at the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal if at all possible. If you use it be sure to bring earplugs. The blowdryer there is so loud its not even funny. Sure they can be a bit loud at times but the one there was by far the loudest I’ve seen. Again avoid the bathrooms unless you want tinnitus like I have.
Also the island has a South Pole. Literally a small red spire as such that you can touch. It’s not quite at the southern tip but still close enough. The walk to the real southern tip isn’t too much further. The couple I talked to at this viewing area in Conference House Park said it was moved a bit from its original location. Not sure why. Anyway its good that they decided to give the southern tip its respect. Whitestone Point in Queens gets nothing for being the northern tip. Seriously people what’s up with that?
Staten Island has free train service. Almost. See you have to pay only at St. George or the stop right before that. Otherwise you can get on and off freely. Which was surprising. See however when Hector(fellow passenger on train) said that you have to pay at St. George I didn’t think he meant to come out of the damn station into the ferry terminal. I thought it was coming in. So when you have pay to come out you’re literally thinking wtf. That’s a first just let me tell you. I thought I had a free ride much like Hector did. Had I known I’d have walked the two stops. Not that big of a distance and 2.25 saved. If you want to save cash don’t use St. George or the adjacent stop. Otherwise you’re essentially talking free train service. Also a minor surprise was that you can use a metrocard on Staten Island Railway just like NYC subway. You learn lots of little things you didn’t know.
Staten Island is weird like that. 13 bucks to get across the Verazanno(highway robbery apparently decided steroids were the way to enhance performance). Free ferry onto the island. Essentially free train service right up until the two places where it isn’t. Just insane disparities. Amazing what results from this perverse combination of population control and brutal NYC taxes.
Now as a lot of this is about meeting people I’ll end this by describing how that went.
Didn’t really see much people. Staten Island isn’t the most populated area by anyone’s definition. Perhaps it’s better that way. These days we have many connections(too many to handle) but of those only a very small portion are meaningful/positive ones. Quality and not quantity is the thing I feel.
On this expedition I didn’t use the banner. Now surprisingly enough in spite of a really bad printer the banner did print and reasonably nicely too. Put it in an empty folder in my backpack, took it with me, but didn’t wear it. See when I was buying crackers at the 99 cents store I forgot to buy tape with which to attach the banner. In all fairness it was probably because I saw this new brand of sour cream and onion crackers that weren’t there before(they looked good tasted better) and got distracted. Tried a bit to find a place in Manhattan before the start but gave up quickly. While a banner is useful the key to good networking is having the right mentality. The banner is just a piece of paper. It can help only if you have the right mentality.
All in all met some interesting people. Some people I met asking for directions when lost. Got lost twice. Recovered quickly both times. Others when asking how far away I was from the end. Exhaustion does stuff to you. When you turn and see the Outerbridge Crossing sort of behind you it’s a relief just let me tell you. Talked to others by asking other questions about the area. The funny thing is that for every person that knew their neighborhood there was one that didn’t. Like I understand you can’t know everything. But like near complete ignorance just wow. I have to wonder how they function day to day as Staten Island has no 8th St & 7th Ave type layout. Just one big chunk of random.
On the ferry to SI talked to a guy who recently got out of prison for who knows what basically told me to go for my dream because once we die it’s forever. Not like how normal people say it because everyone else does where its just words but with real genuine emotion. Good to see at least someone realizes that. Hopefully what wakes up the rest of us won’t be a prison term. On the ferry back met a dropout who still made it. Not Bill Gates, nowhere close, but still made it. Thanks to good connections did various white collar work till 9/11, now is the co-owner of some sort of small furniture business mostly involved in delivering it to various people in the city. Not luxurious by any means but beats the corporate grind. A nice mixture of clerical and manual labor. Definitely beats sitting in a cubicle all day.
Anyway there’s one more experience I want to talk about. Perhaps the most interesting one. I’ll end this with a question. Hopefully the language lawyers will help me with this one as I’m quite stumped. Take a look at rule number two from the about page with special emphasis on the hot women part. Now I’m wondering whether I broke it.
See I was on the Q on my way up to Atlantic Ave when I noticed her. Not sure if she was on before me or got on later but then I noticed her. Insanely hot. Wanted to go over and talk to her but didn’t/couldn’t. Just absolutely terrified me. I don’t fully know why I didn’t. Part of it is that I don’t want to be pushy or in anyway make women feel uncomfortable. Part of it is that I’dve had to cross a bit of the train and thus make a spectacle of myself. Also she was listening to an ipod so I didn’t wanna bother her but at the same time people don’t listen to ipods because the commute is the most interesting part of their day. You definitely don’t wanna push these things but you can’t just sit there watching all the best women fly by.
I just don’t know what I should have done. Frankly I don’t even know if it broke rule 2 as the commute to the starting point perhaps can’t be considered part of the expedition. At the same time however even if I didn’t break rule 2 the point of this is to hopefully toughen me up. I’m a complete coward likely may die one. The point of these is to see if I can get that down to 98% of the way or so. I can’t just switch into and out of confident social skydiver mode like this. The point is to use these to strengthen me as a person. Meaningful positive change.
I just don’t know. I definitely don’t want to be a creep. A hundred deaths to each of them for making the lives of normal men difficult.
I need a good way to engage a woman if I need to. I think a simple hi is the best way to start. Not sure though. Again I need something which maximizes the chance of a good conversation if she likes me and lets her flick me off easily perhaps with a simple bye if she doesn’t.
Dunno what I should have done. Do you guys think I broke rule 2? What approach would you have suggested?