“And this is where I get out and run.” I thanked the cab driver as I handed him some cash. It was 10:57 AM, and I had exactly three minutes to get to where I needed to be, otherwise my plans for the day would be ruined. I quickly exited the taxi and dashed across the street, running the rest of the way down 34th until it dead ended into the water. I gripped my cell phone tightly, monitoring its ever so slight, but significant changes in time. At 11:00 I stopped running, because I saw the boat that I was hoping to board – the one that departs daily at 11:00AM to take passengers to a remote beach in New Jersey. The boat, with the words Sea Streak on its side, was less than 100 yards away, yet I hadn’t even purchased a ticket.
But to my delight (and I hope to yours), the boat was still docked, and there were about a half dozen individuals lined up still waiting to board. I purchased my ticket at 11:01, got on board at 11:02, and at 11:03, we departed Manhattan’s shore.
I made my way to the upper deck to inhale the city view as we ventured down the East River. We sped by the city, making our way under the Williamsburg Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and then finally the Brooklyn Bridge. And of course, we passed the Statue of Liberty, standing prominently and proudly on Liberty Island, right beside Ellis Island.
Right around the Statue of Liberty, I got out my cell phone and texted one of my favorite people the message, “I’m on a boat!” To which, a man nearby questioned me, “Are you actually getting cell service out here?” I told him I was just sending a text and I wasn’t sure if it would go through. But being the darn extrovert that I am, the conversation didn’t stop there. I had to explain that I was with All-tel, which essentially is Verizon, and then went on to rave about the great cell service that I get. And he continued the conversation by sharing with me the woes of his cell phone plan.
After our cell chat, he told me that his name is Eddie, and we shook hands. I informed him that I’ve met a couple of other Eddies this year - one when I was out rock climbing in Southern California and another one while I was in Chicago (who was actually my taxi driver who took me out for breakfast, which is another story for another day.) We conversed the rest of the way to Jersey, and by the time we got off the Sea Streak ferry, I sensed that he was inwardly and not so secretly hoping that we would spend the afternoon together. And I inwardly, and not so secretly, did my best to kindly blow him off, saying something along the lines of, “Well enjoy your day, perhaps I’ll see you on the Ferry on the way back.”
Even still, he lingered.
(Part II coming soon!)