Thursday, May 22, 2014

It was worth the bus trip/s

If I'd known the trip would involve that many buses before I left home, I would have groaned mightily, taken the $500 loss on the pre-paid hotel room and stayed home.

I'm writing this to say Thank All Deities Foreign and Domestic that I did not.

This past weekend I was slated to attend the Biographers International Conference in Boston.  The organizers clearly hadn't realized that May in Boston (graduation season) means most hotel rooms are either booked solid, charging top dollar, or so far away that you might as well commute from New York.  After a lot of searching I finally found a hotel near Logan airport. It has a shuttle service so I knew I could get to the airport, then pick up the T-line which is Boston's cute little version of a subway. (They really don't like it when you call it cute and little either, lemme tell ya.)

What I forgot to do was book train tickets, and by the time I remembered, the price to Boston was $140. Each way. Normally I pay about $49.  I was so annoyed I just figured I'd punish myself by taking the bus.

So, here's how Friday began:
Subway to Port Authority.
(1) Port Authority bus to Boston (6.5 hours due to traffic and rain..normally 4.5 hours) South Station Boston Silver line to Logan.
Which is when I realized the Silver Line isn't a train. It's a bus(2). And it runs on city streets when
it comes above ground. At one point I found myself on the same street I'd been on two hours earlier. The Exact Same Spot.

(3) At Logan I called the shuttle bus to the hotel.
Start to finish: three buses. About 12 hours.

Well, ok, that was crazy but ok. This bus trip after all was designed to make me never EVER forget to buy my train tickets on time.

(4) Shuttle Bus to Logan.
(5) Silver Line to South Station Boston
Red line to UMass/JFK, whoops, no.  To the Broadway station ONE stop from South Station due to construction.
(6) Shuttle BUS from Broadway to UMass/JFK stop.
(7) Shuttle BUS from subway station to college.

Four buses.
One way.

Then that evening, retrace steps.
Total bus tally by Saturday night:  11

Sunday morning: Repeat outgoing trip. Arrive at campus an hour before class starts because the commute time was pretty good (of course when you're late, the commute time sux!)
Bus tally: 15

Return trip:
(16) College shuttle to T-shuttle
(17) T-shuttle to train
Train to bus station
(18) Bus to NY. And it took 45 minutes to go 15 blocks on 12th Ave when we got in at 7pm. And no
they won't let you off even if you tell them you're going to throw up.
Subway home.
Let me tell you I kissed my metro card and vowed to Never Ever Leave Home Again.

Bus rides: 18
In three days.

But in between those 18 bus trips to and fro I got the experience of a lifetime. I sat in on Susan Rabiner's master class on writing the non-fiction book proposal.

In case you're misled by a small electronic footprint, let me just say this: Susan Rabiner is all that and a bag of chips when it comes to serious non-fiction.  She's absolutely the best there is.  And when I got the chance to hear her talk, you can bet I leaped at it.

I'm still synthesizing my notes, and I'm obviously sharing them with clients first, but I'm sure what I learned will be turning up here in the coming days and months.

And in the meantime. make sure you have her book THINKING LIKE YOUR EDITOR. It's required reading for ALL authors, not just those writing non-fiction.

I'm really glad I didn't punish myself by not making the trip, but I will never forget train tickets again as long as I live.


french sojourn said...

I honestly think you took more buses than I did, for the twelve years I lived in Boston.

wicked pissah post today, and how bout dem red sox?

Cheers Hank

Anonymous said...

My most recent experience with public transportation involved the Tube and the double decker buses in London a few years ago. We figured it all out pretty quick, but not without logging a few extra miles to start. I still regret to this day, not buying a shirt that says, "Mind The Gap."

I admire your tenacity for sticking to the trip and it would have been interesting to know the total hours you spent riding too. I can only imagine... but I bet you don't want to...

Anonymous said...

What I love about the T is that people take dogs on it.

Jess Huckins said...

Ah yes. Boston public transit = story of my life. Glad you enjoyed your trip regardless!

LynnRodz said...

#2 brought back memories of my eight minute scooter trip to Ikea. One hour 40 minutes later I was back at the same place and Ikea was still nowhere in sight! I'm glad the final results of your trip were a lot more fruitful than mine. When I finally got to Ikea two thirds of the store was closed for renovations. Of course, it was the part I needed.

Elissa M said...

Bemoan public transportation if it makes you feel better, but I wish I had some sort of transportation options besides my car, my feet, or my horse. Especially since the nearest grocery store is 30 miles away.

But I chose to live on the edge of nowhere because the hustle and bustle of big cities gives me hives (and I've lived in or near several).

Isn't it great that all that hassle turned out to be worth it? That's the take away here-- the best rewards sometimes require us to move out of our comfort zones.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

And you had no closet!

Sounds like the last major leg of my 2100 miles vacation/concert extravaganza. All my plans foiled by a single exit closed for construction.

2 hours of looping the city, stopping for an over-priced map in the mini-mart on the edge of nowhere, 100 miles of country road after dark, I made it home and kissed my dented aluminum siding. I was hallucinating deer the last 30 miles.

But the trip was well worth it and it sounds like this one was as well. *scampers to check Susan's book*


Ardenwolfe said...

Ah. The glamorous life of a literary agent. ;)

Kevin Swaim said...

One word. Teleportation. Work on that and you won't have to ride the bus anymore.

The day I can figure out how to teleport myself to a barstool is the day my liver will revolt. :(

Janet Reid said...

Oh man, I want rocketboots.

Joseph Snoe said...

At what point do you say, "Taxi."

P.S. Thanks for telling us about Susan Rabiner's book.

Karen McCoy said...

Yeesh. Gives a whole new meaning to "And miles to go before I sleep."

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

A few birthdays ago my daughter's gift to me was arranging a meeting with Professor, TV News commentator and author of LETTERS TO JACKIE, Ellen Fitzpatrick. She is an amazing non-fiction writer and historian. As part of a book festival she was doing a reading in Vermont. Extremely gracious and supportive, regarding a non-fiction project I was engrossed in at the time, the first thing she recommended was Rabiner's THINKING LIKE YOUR EDITOR.

From the highest of rafters, audience, audience, audience - it is my bible.

If I had known Rabiner was speaking in Boston I would have picked you up at the Connecticut border and driven you to Bean Town. And, I wouldn't have even asked for gas money.

DLM said...

Janet, I would have committed suicide by the mere NEWS of a fourth bus. (I get every possible type of motion sickness there is; my idea of damnation is an airplane ride of any length whatsoever.) Eighteen bus rides is more than my wee and paltry little brain can even comprehend. I bow to your fortitude and stamina.

And also your ability to survive that with a sense of humor. Thank you for telling us the story - and so glad it had a happy ... well, middle anyway.

nightsmusic said...

Holy Crow!

You're a better [man] than I, Gunga Din...

Janet Reid said...

Carolynn, oh damn! That would have been a great road trip. Since I'm never ever leaving NYC again, I won't say "next time!"

BonnieShaljean said...

> . . . the Silver Line isn't a train. It's a bus. And it runs on city streets when it comes above ground. At one point I found myself on the same street I'd been on two hours earlier.

That's what ya get when ya call it a cute little subway

I lived and tubed around in London for 20 years. In addition to Minding The Gap (i.e. look where you're stepping when you get onto a train to make sure there's a solid surface where you intend to put your foot), I also liked the "Way Out" signs, and always wished they'd had some that said Far Out.

Adele said...

Last year I went to England. Time to fly to London: 9 hours. Time to take the bus from London to Leeds: 9 hours. Honest to Dog.