Thursday, May 15, 2008

Newark odyssey

9:35 am. Depart for Newark, to get fingerprinted for the New Jersey bar application. Random requirement requiring extremely random trip to Jersey. Roll with the punches. Appointment at 11:30, but leave early just to be safe.

10:15 am. Excellent mass transit karma; caught some kind of express train arriving at Newark very quickly. In final moments of the trip, realized that form required for fingerprinting was forgotten at home. No way to get fingerprints done without this form. Shit. Flop sweat begins.

10:17 am. On board train again from Newark to New York. Seem to be on the Rahway Local, chugging along like a children's book character and never getting anyplace. Train overtaken by a glacier mid-ride.

10:50 am. Sprinting outside Madison Square Garden, trying to get taxi without waiting in taxi line. Leisurely taxi driver apparently prefers to drive in the wake of truck or bus. Leg slapped, epithet whispered in frustration when driver actually yields on yellow. Minimal tip given.

10:59 am. Dashing up stairs, into apartment, grabbing form, back out, into new cab. Ask to go back to train station; driver says there must be a rush. Situation explained. Ask the driver if he would drive to Newark (having studied the passengers' bill of rights on the previous ride). He agrees for $50. Realize that he probably comes from a haggling-based culture. Ask him to do it for $40. He says no. Fine. Then he says $50, and he'll pay the tolls. Overcome by natural fear of haggling, proceed to train station. Why so unwilling to play hardball? Question for some other day.

11:28 am. Aboard the next train for Newark. Hopes fading rapidly.

11:55 am. Arrive in Newark, again. Board the Newark subway according to directions supplied by the fingerprinting people.

12:10 pm. Disembark and study bus station map; realize directions were wrong, destination remains more than 10 blocks away. Decide to just walk rather than wait for the cartoonish trolley they call a subway.

12:15 pm. Explore vibrant downtown Newark. Previous plans to perhaps grab a light lunch at a local cafe immediately abandoned. Malaise of city now understood.

12:35 pm. Arrive at fingerprinting facility. Hear one man ask for directions for federal parole office, then head upstairs to find fingerprinting office closed until one. But of course.

1:05 pm. Shuffle into fingerprinting with twenty other felons, parolees, bar applicants, other riff raff. Immediately evident that no one, not a single employee, cares that original appointment was missed. Did not matter in any way.

1:20 pm. Begin fingerprinting process.

1:25 pm. Fingerprinting process completed.

2:00 pm. Back in Manhattan. After additional outing to pick up bib and t-shirt for Saturday's 10K, return home at 3:30. Vow never to leave apartment again.

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