Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.
As mentioned in my previous post I’d be attempting to walk to the SI Ferry, take it to SI, walk SI’s perimeter in a counter-clockwise direction, and then go back essentially the way I came. Knock off the first of the remaining training expeditions. Unfortunately I failed at this.
Perhaps it may be better this way as the whole entire camping thing is hardcore, and I was still relatively out of shape both physically and psychologically.
We cleared maybe 1/4 of the perimeter. We went past the Goethals Bridge. Maybe a bit further down. Sadly Paul got us lost or perhaps sidetracked would be a better term. We found our way to a shopping center of some sort on South Ave, got pizza, took the S46 bus to start home from there.
All in all Staten Island is another place entirely. You see all sorts of unexpected things. Like what are train tracks doing along the northern perimeter in Snug Harbor. Just lots of weird stuff.
Also the birds there really don’t like me. I got pooped on. A bit was on my shirt, a bit on my pants, a bit landed on my right wrist. Wiped it off no harm done. Washed my hands later and we kept going. But seriously birds was that necessary?
If Paul wasn’t there at times I would have freaked out. Really pushes you outside your comfort zone. Especially on the northern parts. Some of the places there are quite beat down. Harlem and Bed-Stuy are like paradise in comparison. Having him there with me really helped.
Part of it is also this feeling of vulnerability. Staten Island is relatively isolated from the rest of the city/world. Hard to get on and off. Hard to get across too. Not just in terms of the various obstacles walking along the perimeter. In case you need to get back buses aren’t the most frequent thing either. Just scary when there isn’t as solid of a line to pull you back in should anything happen. Also though I experienced it on the Epic Saunter where there are some places relatively isolated from civilization SI takes that to a whole new level. It’s just scary. So much barren nothingness. Other times just barren area that feels like wastelands. Fascinating in its own way but scary. Though the north side was what got me it’s those places that got to Paul. Varies from industrial stuff to nature reserves to swamps to Port Authority places. Some places there are crazy wild just out of this world. You need to be there as I can’t describe them. Maybe photos would help as a picture’s worth a thousand words. However even photos are but a crude echo. Anyway Paul will send them over to me soon. Once I figure out where I’ll be hosting them you’ll see them. Though it may take a while cause I need to get the photos from my previous expeditions up as well.
Also the roads. Similar to what I experienced walking along Amboy only on a bigger scale. Other times you’re walking along an unpaved sidewalk just grass and shit growing on it in the middle of nowhere. Those cases the feeling of being out there quite something. Then suddenly you nearly twist your ankle(lucky I sprained that ankle before and the tendon there is flexible). Twice. Then you see a pipe sticking out from beneath the ground not properly buried. Gotta be careful and know where you are. On that road I didn’t know what it was called. A car passed by every once in a while but not often. As Paul remarked they must’ve been wondering what are these two weird dudes doing walking along this road. In all seriousness though a very vulnerable position. I will be more careful next time and not distracted by conversation. One of us could get really hurt.
Anyway we got lost when we stopped following the perimeter over a debate of can we take this road or not. I went with Paul’s side and so that’s how it happened. It’s kind of scary being lost. OK really scary but in this case only kindof. Because in this case we knew if we go far enough east we’ll hit civilization again and that the distance was doable even in the worst case scenario. Though its still uncomfortable not knowing where you are. Staten Island isn’t a grid. If you get lost there it’s nowhere near as forgiving as Manhattan. The key is to stick with the perimeter as much as possible so that at least you know you’re along that.
When we were at the shopping center we were lucky there was a bus near us. Not that we knew. Luckily two people helped us out though even they were kind of unsure where we were. Smartphones rock. Not to mention having been using Verizon for 2 years we’re eligible for a phone upgrade. I think it’s high time for the Android. Probably gonna upgrade soon.
Again I just gotta follow the perimeter. That’s not to say you won’t have to deviate quite far from the perimeter at times. A lot of it is closed off industrial type stuff. Just gotta go along the best you can.
As far as social skydiving went not too much exciting stuff as I was on sparsely populated roads on a sparsely populated island for the most part. Saw a hot woman on the Brooklyn Bridge but as I was in a hurry to make it to the terminal on time had no way to talk to her even if I actually had any guts. Also as I was crossing the Brooklyn Bridge I saw a redhead who looked a lot like the one I most recently asked out four months ago with who may well be the luckiest guy alive. Unable to make a positive ID though. Just seeing people all over the place. Sentimentality/obsession I guess. Happens a lot. Last year after getting to an interview for a programming related gig I kept seeing the guy that got me there everywhere. The mind plays powerful tricks on you some times.
Also speaking of the Brooklyn Bridge its amazing when you see the Bayonne Bridge on the horizon and next thing you know you’re passing under it. Just amazing. Also when you approach the Bayonne Bridge it’s a lot bigger in person than you think. You feel so small/short next to it. Which is ironic as I found out when doing some reading.
Also this time I wore the banner. Attaching it to my backpack was the hard part. A twisted contraption of tape and dental floss put through the right holes. Only lasted a few miles before breaking. Ah well. I’ll do better next time. Besides as I said before the key to social skydiving is the right mentality not a piece of paper. That day it didn’t start any conversations but the blog did get a few hits which I couldn’t account for so someone may have read it. As I said before part of the reason I didn’t do it before was safety concerns. At first walking with it felt awkward but then you get used to having it there stop worrying and enjoy your expedition. Also another thing to note is that I managed to cross a large chunk of Brooklyn with it without getting beat up.
I can also say is that I’ve decided how I’ll resolve the broken camera issue. Paul’s camera was amazing. Light to carry. Quick and easy to use. Did the job. Much easier to hold also. Higher resolution than mine. A bit lower quality(from previous experiences where I ran out of batteries mid expedition resulting in Paul doing the rest of the photography) but not by much. Also I’d rather have a mediocre photo of a great memory than a great photo of a memory made mediocre by struggling with the camera. I furthermore have this insane impulse to take photos. Many things are beautiful, interesting, and speak to me. But taking too many photos diminishes the mental exploratory flow of the trip. Obsession with documenting everything. Only problem is that if I do that too much quality of expedition suffers. Need to find a balance. I’ve been getting better but a long ways to go.
Finally I found am ambiguity in rule 1. It says I must do one expedition a week. But since I failed does it count? Like I think yes if I fought as hard as I could before failing but no if I could have done much better. In this case I think no because I could have gone much further but instead stuck with Paul which wasn’t in any way bad of course since he stuck with me but still. Think I should do at least one successful expedition this week and I will. What do you guys think of the ambiguity of rule 1?
Also I will hopefully be attempting Staten Island 1 again next weekend and hopefully be better prepared. Failure blows. It really grinds my gears. I know that I have to be able to do SI if I ever go coast to coast. This is real motivation to do this. Also motivating is the fact that while it was scary it was amazing. I know I can do this and I will.