Monday, July 4, 2016

The weekend in NYC

I have decided to make some posts out of chronological order. I may work myself backwards, or perhaps work in random order.

First to report upon was my trip to NYC last weekend for the Pride March. As always, the march was exciting and moving, and set me to introspection and pondering the history of gay rights as I know it, from the 70s onward. Amazing progress on the one hand, still a lot more work to do on the other.

I marched with the NYC LGBT Center as is my usual. It's a fun group to march with and I had connections to the Center when I lived in NY, so it's just logical for me to join them. I had an invite to march with the City Council contingency, but since the Center has a float with peppy dance music, and the City Council is politicians marching, I passed.

Speaking of politicians... When we arrived at 7th Avenue and Christopher Street, our float proceeded to cross the intersection, but just as we marchers were to cross the road we were halted by the cops. I figured it was to let the 7th Avenue traffic pass--which they do intermittently during the march. But the traffic didn't move either. Then I noticed the mayor was in the middle of the street talking with reporters. That explains that! I managed to get up reasonably close to the action and had a very good view of Mayor DeBlasio. After a few minutes, 2 large black vans made an approach from nearby and out of one of them stepped Hillary Clinton! I couldn't believe it! Happy, happy. It made my day. I was about 4 people removed from her. She walked a few blocks with the mayor, shaking the hands of onlookers, then got back in the van and they were gone.

It was beautiful weather last Sunday, the roaring crowds rose to the occasion and showered us with many decibels of cheer. Tremendous fun. Pictures after the story.

I went to work Monday, and half the day Tuesday, leaving the office around 11:45 am to drive to my lesson. Yes, I took the car--knowing full well that my mechanic didn't sound terribly keen when I told him I was thinking of driving it down to the city a few months ago. Never mind, I wanted the flexibility since my teacher moved just north of the city last month and having the car would make getting there very convenient on my way out of the city. His new house is also readily reached by Metro North; just a 30 minute ride, I believe. I will be getting to know that Metro North line well, I am sure. "How can I be so sure?", you may ask. Because this:

That's right! I broke down. Just north of Hartford, CT on my way back home, in one of the suburbs. Sigh. Alternator died--although I did not know that was the problem when it occurred. Having just passed Hartford, the battery light and the brake light came on the dash. Troublesome, worrying. I went some miles hoping they'd go out, and lo and behold they did! Big relief. I decided then to get off the highway to get some lunch and let the car rest figuring it must have been just a glitch. Not knowing the mechanics of cars very well, I did not know what it meant when the car was sluggish to start after lunch, and I proceeded back to the highway. The lights came back on and other indicators joined them: ABS, Check Oil, etc. The speedometer started to go crazy, bouncing all around. It was intermittently sprinkling outside and when I flicked the windshield wipers, they barely crawled back and forth. I knew it was time to leave the highway again, and off I went in search of a garage. The car's condition was deteriorating quickly now and I was afraid it was going to completely malfunction. I reached a stop light with a separate lane for right turns and when I entered there the light was red. The car's idling was weak so I put it in Park to idle. That was the end of it. It was locked in Park and it would not release itself. A few moments later the engine conked out, keys stuck in the ignition. The car was dead.

Thankfully, I have AAA and they arranged a tow truck to come over. It took an hour for them to show up, so I spent some time directing traffic around my poor little car stuck at the intersection. It was almost 5 o'clock and I felt almost certain it would be difficult to find a garage at that hour, and I didn't want to spend the night in a hotel and pay some unknown mechanics to do who-knows-what for who-knows-how-much money. So I decided to have it towed home to my house. My AAA plan pays for the first 100 miles of towing and that left me to pay for 77 miles at the AAA price. It could have been worse. I think I felt worse for the tow truck driver who had to drive me 3 hours home and then 3 hours back! I tipped him well, and we shared some delightful conversation.

I've always wanted to know what it would be like to break down away from home. Now I know. Life is to be filled with experiences, and now I have a new story to tell. :) It was heartening to see more than a handful of people stop their cars and ask if I was OK at that intersection. Boosts one's faith in humanity.

Next morning I had to call a local towing company to piggy back my sick little car to the mechanic's (this one not covered by AAA, drat!), but it was all fixed by late afternoon. Just needed the alternator replaced. Apparently, I had been driving some distance on battery power alone and when it conked out was when the battery was finally drained of all!

Another adventure.

Pictures from the Pride March (Yes, a few of the pictures are a little cheeky, but I couldn't resist them! :) ):


  1. Well, Bernard, that was quite an adventure! One has to experience something like your sick car happening hopefully, no more than once in life! So good you could find all the positives in it. Glad the parade was a fun time with added bonuses...... ;). Thanks for the pics, even the cheeky ones ........ made me smile!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.