Tag Archives: Travel

A Long Time Ago… On A Bus…

15 Nov

November 15, 2015

LNMHOC star wars

It was 1983 and we were all looking forward to the new Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi. George Lucas hadn’t yet put a foul taste in our mouths with midi-chlorians and Hayden Christensen, and we were still riding the AT-AT battle high of The Empire Strikes Back. Sure, Lucas was about to shoot first with the Ewoks, but we didn’t know that yet.

Lucas had the gall, the sheer audacity, to release this film on a school day. Seriously? A school day? I had to see this on opening day but back then I never missed a day of school. Headache? Fever? Screaming heebejeebies? Didn’t matter. Unless my arm was hanging by a single tendon I was going to school. My Mom was very, very strict. (I was 12, BTW.) Cutting school was out, and pretending to be violently ill would only get me, at best, a trip to the doctor, so I was stuck having to wait until Saturday, and by then I was sure everybody in the world would have seen this film but me. I had to go.

And then a miracle happened. God’s grace shone down on me, and all copies of Return of the Jedi spontaneously combusted and the world had to wait along with me until Saturday, when new prints would arrive at the theaters. Remember that?

Well no, but a miracle really did happen. That morning I woke up and my mother told my brother (the noted cynic, Allan Keyes) and I that we were not going to school, that instead we were going to see Return of the Jedi. Whoa!

I couldn’t believe it but it was true. A little later we hopped on the bus and went to the first screening. The lines were not as crazy as I expected, but who cared? Not only was I not in school, but I was seeing the new Star Wars film on opening day!

Only one thing could dampen my enthusiasm: an old lady on the bus.

It was a little crowded. Mom had a seat and my brother and I were standing near the front. I was wearing my brand new Return of the Jedi t-shirt, which only came in an unfortunate powder blue color.

Trust me- chubby pre-teens did not look good in that shirt.

Trust me- chubby pre-teens did not look good in that shirt.

I was near the front of the bus, by the first seats which are reserved for either senior citizens or angry teens. (This was long before Brooklyn was filled with hipsters, who now sit in those seats ironically.) There was an elderly grey-haired woman, about 3 feet tall (4 if you count her grey hair pilled on her head) sitting in the seat right behind the driver and she was wearing very, very thick glasses. These were your typical old lady frames, with a string of faux-pearls running from arm to arm behind her ears, and her sight must have been about as bad it could be without her being legally blind because she leaned in close, very close, uncomfortably close, to my chest and moved her eyes across every word of my shirt, sounding out the words to herself- which is to say, very loudly.

“Staaar… Waaars…Returrrn… Of… The…The what? Jed-eee? Jed-eee? What’s a Jed-eee?”

That last was directed to my nose, since she had lifted her head out of my chest and, now looking up, was still way too far into my personal space. Even back then, 12 year old Kid Blog knew when someone was all up in his grill.

So I told her, taking a step back, that it was a new movie, a sequel to Star Wars.

She had never heard of it. Not Return of The Jedi, not Star Wars, and, almost angrily, said that it was a silly shirt. I looked over at my Mom,and my brother and I moved a little closer to them.

“Do you see that shirt?” Now she was talking to the other senior citizens around her. “That’s for some movie. He looks silly in it.” I was being publicly shamed by a random old lady on a bus. I looked at Mom, who gave me a complicated look that said to ignore her, we’re getting off soon anyway, she’s crazy. (I told you it was complicated.)

Well, we got to the bus stop by the theater and to get off I had to pass the old woman, who yelled at me to “stop wearing that shirt! It doesn’t fit you anyway!”

We got off and joined the crowd (Mom had already gotten us tickets) and I was happy to see that not only were there plenty of people wearing the same shirt, but most of them looked a lot worse, and had more pimples, than I did. Geeks in 1983 were the same as geeks today.

But unlike them, I long ago got rid of the shirt. Some of those geeks are still wearing them.

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I found Brooklyn in the Caribbean (Part 2): “On Watch”

19 Jun

June 19, 2015

So there I was, eating breakfast in the cruise ship buffet dining room. What did I have for breakfast? What didn’t I have for breakfast! Cruise ship + buffet = passengers too fat to get into a lifeboat in case of an emergency. Seriously, if the boat did go down, there would be a significant number of people clinging to the omelet station in rough seas.

So the four of us were sitting at a table next to the floor-to ceiling windows. We were in the back of the ship and I had an amazing view of the sea.

DSCF0141

I had to take this without the flash. My first attempt with the flash blinded half the dining room when it reflected off all that glass. The Captain thought we were torpedoed.

Somehow the conversation came around to watches. There was a watch sale onboard, and the prices really were good- 75% off Invictus watches, for example, and no tax. My brother was showing off the expensive watch he was wearing (NOTE TO WOULD-BE THIEVES: He keeps the watch locked in a safe, so back off!) and I showed off the classy watch I picked up a couple of days before at the $10 sale. OK, it was no Invictus, but the painted-on day and date dials saved the trouble of actually having to set the day and date. And I think Cruise Club is a pretty swanky name because hey, it tells people “I bought this $10 piece of junk on a cruise!”

There was a lull in the conversation as we all took in the majesty of the sea, Neptune’s Kingdom, Poseidon’s Paradise, the place my Uncle Lou peed, when from the next table came an unfamiliar voice in a very familiar Brooklyn accent saying “so you like watches, huh?”

This was directed at my brother, not me. Or maybe it was directed at me, I don’t know. My plan (and I implemented it beautifully) was to ignore people I didn’t want to talk to, which was anyone who was not handing me a dry towel as I got out of the pool.

It turned out the Brooklyn accent came from a woman sitting at the next table, another very senior senior citizen. She was there with her companion, who turned out to also have a very thick Brooklyn accent. Their names were Lorena and Robyn, and I know this because Lorena went around the table third-grade style and made us introduce ourselves, herself and Robyn included. And guess what? She was a former third-grade teacher. (Ever “see” a word in your mind’s eye? Even though Robyn never spelled out her name, I saw it spelled with a “y” as soon as she said it, hanging there in midair in front of her.)

The conversation was actually kind of not unpleasant. We talked for a few minutes and of course the talk turned to where everyone came from. And not only did Lorena and Robyn come from Brooklyn, and not only the same part of Brooklyn (Bensonhurst), but from 2 damn blocks away from me. Two blocks! We talked about stores in the neighborhood, schools, all kinds of stuff that I talk about at home, not a thousand miles away from home.

I traveled to the Caribbean to talk to a pair of people who live 2 blocks away from me.

I haven’t seen them since I’ve been home. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my apartment just in case they walk past my door.

 

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART 3: My Review of Saturday Night Fever: The Musical, at Sea.

You can find Part 1 right here! Click! You know you want to.

 

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