Monkey in the City


     It seemed like a logical decision at the time.  
     Earlier this month, we headed to the RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in NYC and, as is our habit, we were taking lots of luggage.  We didn't want to drive and I didn't want to fight luggage onto the train, so the bus seemed the best idea.  Unfortunately, I had not ridden a bus in years and had no idea how much the experience might have changed. 
     The first mistakenly uncomfortable realization was that they had apparently designed the bus for school children.  That is the only plausible explanation for why the seats were so small.  The bus was filled to capacity--Now try to fit two adult sized people into them.  My rear has bruises from sitting on the lowered armrest, and a few that I can't explain.  
     The next ridiculous realization was that our driver apparently thought she was a sightseeing guide because we toured NYC.  Literally.  We arrived 2 hours past our scheduled arrival time and all of that 2 hours was spent driving around in the city--Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and mid-town Manhattan.  People in the back begged to be let out on any street corner to find their own way to Port Authority.  There was also lots of complaining because people were missing their connecting buses.  I feared there would be a riot.  The bus driver might have suspected the same thing because she disappeared as soon as we landed and the doors opened.
     Figuring out how to get a taxi from Port Authority to the Marriott took some doing (too many exits, too many empty taxi stands) but finally we arrived.  Unfortunately we'd missed the meetings we had planned to attend but we were exhausted and so content to rest and get something to eat. 
     The return trip was interesting but for totally different reasons. We stood in line over an hour to be sure to get the seats in the front which are slightly more roomy.  We needed the extra space, as were were returning with 3 carry-ons for each of us (loaded with books) instead of the single tote we took down.  That we were able to get all of our stuff onto the bus was a miracle.
     The hour in line was actually fun as we chatted with other travelers and told stories about our exploits.  We didn't have help putting luggage into the bins so yours truly managed to knock her brain loose when I hit my head on the door.  But I managed to get on the bus and get a front seat even in my dazed (and embarrassed) state. I also managed to hit myself in the face with a book-filled tote-bag I put in the overhead bin. Fortunately, that blow was nothing compared to the bashing from the carrier door.
     The driver on the trip home did not take us on a tour of NYC.  Instead we went to New Jersey and wandered around there for awhile.  I assume this is how he managed to avoid the construction that had our first driver lost. He made a couple of stops, once to check on a broken down bus and once to kill time because we were going to arrive too early.  Oops…Could he have been speeding?  Surely not.
     He was however on the phone through most of the trip—after telling passengers to only use their phones in an emergency and only for a minute or two.  Interesting that his rules didn't apply to him. I wonder if he was in violation of some protocol in the Driver's Handbook.
     At long last, we arrived in Hartford. We were ever so glad to arrive in our own little city! Given our trip so far, it was no surprise we spent many minutes and an abundance of pedometer steps trying to figure out how to get to the side of the building where people assured us taxis would be waiting.  When we finally arrived at that location there was one taxi.  
     Once we were tucked inside and the vehicle was moving, he asked how much we paid on the trip in to the station.  We told him.  He thought it over for a minute, mentioned that it might be more until we protested  a bit and then he decided no, where we were going that would be an appropriate fee——and he would just not turn on his meter.  Having seen ten seasons of Criminal Minds  we started  looking for places and ways to escape.  Luckily, we still had the stench of NYC and bus fumes on us so were not good raw material for perfume (Season 6, Episode 14, Sense Memory).  We made it home safely and our girls thankfully put on a barkfest for him as he unloaded our bags.
   As is natural for writers, we discussed all sorts of ways our NYC bus adventures could be used in stories.  Unfortunately Lil Monkey seems to have beaten us to it. He swears he has a screenplay submitted to SyFy.  He's also working on his memoir called Monkey in Manhattan.

Monkey in Manhattan--At a Five Star hotel.