On Thursday morning when I got up, I decided to get one more thing crossed off my New York to-do list; a visit to Central Park. It was one more place to which I’d never been in all my trips to New York over the previous 35-ish years. To be honest, I felt more like I wanted to stay in that day but I wanted more to not have the feeling later on that I had let slip through my fingers the opportunity to do one more thing that I’ve always talked about but never actually done. I knew there wouldn’t be a whole lot to see since it’s winter, but I still wanted to at least go and walk around a bit.
I was right, there wasn’t much to see in the park but I didn’t mind just walking around a small part of it (it’s huge so there was no way I’d walk the entire thing), and neither did a lot of other tourists who were doing the same.
As I meandered through the park, I saw three different arches and I was pretty sure one of them was the arch where Kevin ran into the pigeon lady in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, but subsequent research proved me wrong.
At one point, I heard loud music and saw a large crowd gathered. I figured out that it was a dance troupe so I went to have a look. They were extremely lame and didn’t actually dance at all, but instead were trying to be clever in how they solicited money from the crowd. I spent a minute watching then decided they weren’t worth my time and continued my walkabout.
Overall, I spent about an hour and a half in the park before I decided that I could check it off my list. I was feeling a pressing desire to be at my laptop writing so I made my way out of the park in the direction of the subway station that I needed. Oh, and I saw the Plaza Hotel on the way – the same Plaza Hotel where Kevin stayed while he was lost in New York, and the same Plaza Hotel where Eloise lived (or maybe she still lives there? I dunno).
I called it a day early also because we were going on a road trip the next day. Auntie was going to spend the holidays visiting friends 8 states away and we were beginning our journey in the wee hours of the morning so I wanted to relax a bit because I would be the all-important front-seat passenger whose responsibility it is to keep the driver engaged and alert during the trip. I was also going to be the backup driver.
I actually didn’t end up writing anything that afternoon but I did catch up on my Hallmark Christmas movies, curled up in a cozy couch while wrapped up in a blanket. All I needed was a fireplace and hot chocolate to make it feel totally idyllic.
After about 5 hours of sleep, I woke up at 2:30 am on Friday, since our time of departure was 3 am. We had an estimated 16-hour drive ahead of us and we needed to get on the road before the crowd got ahead of us, or 16 hours would easily turn into more. So it was that we left Brooklyn at 3:30 am on the day before Christmas Eve.
Auntie did the driving for the first 6 hours and at 9:20 am, after a stop for second breakfast (we had stopped for first breakfast a couple of hours before, like we were Hobbits…breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper), I took over for what was meant to be a few hours but actually turned into 12. Yes, after not driving all year, I drove for twelve hours across state lines. Once I started, I kind of settled into it and felt fine continuing for the rest of the way.
In all, we were on the road for 18 hours because we made bathroom and food stops. But we made it. Auntie dozed off a couple of times but I didn’t mind because it meant that she trusted me to get us to our destination safely and that trust meant a lot to me. Almost 12 hours to the minute from when I started driving, we pulled up in the driveway of our destination. We unloaded the car and ate, then I got ready for bed and called it a day.
Although I had spent most of the day in the car, the time had actually passed very quickly. Now I was making a stop that wasn’t on the original JEXIT itinerary. What was in store for me there?