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Day 15: NY night n day

An Amish man and a junkie stepped onto a train. No, that's not the beginning of a joke, it was the beginning of my day. They both boarded somewhere near Pennsylvania, and the Amish man quietly slid into the seat in front of me, while the junkie, who looked to be about 19, and had the face of an angel, took the one across from him. He dropped heavily into his seat, covered himself with a blanket, and spent the next 7 hours in a state of what I can only guess was withdrawal. Tossing and turning, sweating, and trying so hard to find comfort that twice he flipped himself out of his seat. At one point he stripped bare from the waist up and moved to curl up on the floor by the bathrooms. The conductor quietly nudged him back to his seat, and while yes, it was all pretty entertaining, it was also scary, and I think most of us were relieved when he finally found sleep.


Then a couple of German tourists boarded. They took the seats behind me, and when the Amish man overheard their accents, he turned to speak to them in his own Pennsylvania Dutch. They answered, and he moved to my row to be able to converse with them further. A gentleman from Texas joined the good time, and for the next few hours passed in a blur of stories and funny accents. Goodness could that Amish elder tell a saucy joke! One of the great advantages of train travel, I have learned, is that people will continuously rotate in and out of your world, and you have the choice with each one as to how you want to handle it. You can isolate, or you can dive in, it's your choice, because these are, indeed, your own memories you're making.


The ride ended for all of us at Penn Station, where my friend Lana was waiting for me. Lana and I had met backstage at a Danzig show a few years prior, and I had been looking forward to hanging out with her again ever since. And though we really barely knew one another, the reunion was everything I had hoped for. Ruby Foo's in Times Square was our first stop, to split a spicy tuna roll, a bowl of edamame, and a spicy beef szechuan dish. And also a few rounds of house signature cocktails. The restaurant was dark and lively, and the waiter treated us to a round of free shots of plum sake after our first course! I had been in NYC all of 30 minutes and I was already having a ball.


Lana and I met up with a few of her friends and we proceeded to hop around the city and consume copious amounts of alcohol until 5:30 am. Yep, you read that right. 5:30am. We couldn't help it. From our first stop at a place called The Honky Tonk, to our last spot at the KGB after hours club, it was one laugh after another.


It's 6:30am now, and I'm tucked into the cozy downstairs bedroom in the condo she shares with her boyfriend in Mahwah, New Jersey. It's probably best that I wrap this up now, as I'm having to write this with one eye closed. Day 15, closing the NY scene.


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