It was a dark and rainy night....a red and black creature was sliming its way across the road. I swerved cautiously to avoid it and noticed yellow blinking lights, barricades and cones ahead. I might have been in a daze, because it seemed that after I passed them I was pulled over by a police officer and given a ticket for speeding in a construction zone. I argued that there was some sort of creature in the road and that I couldn't have been speeding because I had very cautiously swerved to avoid it and I was not going fast. The eighty dollar ticket had been written up already and my protests which included abject poverty didn't fly. Something was wrong, it was in fact a bad dream and it was 4:30 a.m. when I was suppose to get up at 4 but the alarm didn't go off. Naturally juiced, I threw on my clothes woke up Eric and we headed for Portland without coffee. The later bus/train connection actually worked although I practically ran past the ticket collector in Boston's South Station to catch the train to NYC.
Trains are so delightfully spacious. I grabbed a coffee and tried to get my son into a a trivia review game with the rock and roll and trivia pursuit cards but he wasn't interested stating that he should have sat in the quiet car. Not an early riser by nature he was way out of his comfort zone. So he watched the scenery and I watched the scenery and reviewed the cards.
We arrived at Penn Station lugging bags and the Cinco de Mayo pinata and waited at the flower stand for Martha, fortunately I had her cell number because it was the wrong flower stand. I had thought of leaving our extra bags for our overnight stay in Philly in a locker but I am behind the times now a days one checks bags at a baggage check, owing to 9/11. After ridding ourselves of unnecessary weight, we embarked on our tour. Several people we passed were happy to see a brightly colored pinata which lost a few tissue paper flowers along the way. We found out where ABC studios were on the west side for the interview/test and then spent some time looking for a place Eric would agree to go to for lunch. Later I found out the lunch issue was related to a fear of public w.c.s on Eric's part but we finally settled on a restaurant and he ate french fries.
Then we were free to marvel at Olmsted's Central Park, noting trees and birds as we strolled. Martha took this picture of us at the fountain with her cell phone we both forgot our cameras. From our perch near the pond on a gorgeous day, tourists were rowing and brides were walking about with their entourages. A boat capsized and a young lady stood in the pond for a long time. We wondered why she seemed stuck there. There were several other row boats hovering and perhaps offering advise or assistance we don't know. We continued chatting and Martha regaled us with her marvelous stories, occasionally distracted by the red wing hawks. When we turned to look back the the woman was no longer standing in the pond. Eric later reported to his sister that he was disappointed in the placard bearing profit of doom we saw in central park, he wasn't near crazy enough.
That wasn't the only disappointment. After waiting up against the wall of ABC for a bit about 50-60 potential contestants went in to take the test, it seemed most of them were from NYC or NJ. If I had to guess there were maybe six batches of 50 to 60. It was a 30 question fill in the dot multiple choice and I think that I missed a couple of questions. There was a rap question and I know nothing about rap but I guessed and a couple of other questions I waffled on. Any way I didn't make it into the contestant pool. I met an older man from Wisconsin who had made a week of it in NYC, but didn't make it into the pool either. He figured that he would tryout just for fun while he was there.."Do you know what a maillot is?" he asked. He said that he was going to wait until they came to him. I think I will do the same but I might make a Cinco de Mayo tradition of going to NYC and trying out for the show. Next time I may spend more time. We went to the Empire State Building but it cost 20 bucks to go to the top and we weren't that flush so we skipped it and a slice of pizza instead. Then we caught the train to Philly.
30th St. Station in Philadelphia is quite stunning.