Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

It is Sunday morning and I am back home. I had originally planned to return on Saturday and then I found out that the program ended by 12:00 Friday so I decided to get off the island as soon as possible. This weekend is the annual family fishing trip & seafood party hosted by John & Lisa.

In any case, class ended on time Friday and I was back at the UMB Gouin Village units by 12:00 noon. I had packed up everything before we left for class and so I just did a quick check and then called Milestone Cab (the BEST cab service on Nantucket, gotta give them a shout out!) to take me to the Hy-Line Ferry dock in town. "Mike" the Bulgarian cabbie that Jennifer, Jolene and I had gotten the other day buzzed me down in no time and I had checked in and was on the dock and ready to go by 12:30.

I had to get to Boston's South Station ASAP to exchange my Saturday ticket and I wanted to forego taking the bus (which took 1.5+ hours) and just get a limo or taxi to zip me from Hyannis to Boston in less than an hour. However, Friday was also the day that family, friends and celebrities descended upon Hyannis to honor Eunice Kennedy Shriver at her private funeral.

(Pallbearers, from left, Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Sam Shriver, Maria Shriver, Robert Kennedy Shriver, Tim Shriver Jr., Mark Kennedy Shriver and Tim Kennedy Shriver carry the casket of Eunice Kennedy Shriver outside Saint Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis, Mass., on Friday. Photo: Adam Hunger/Reuters)

There was NO one available before 6 PM to get me from Hyannis to Boston. If I didn't get to Boston before 6:00 PM, the only train going to Philly was at 9:45 PM. I figured that there wasn't much I could do but hope for the best and would get home when I could. Shigata ga nai, ne?

I didn't have to be in line for boarding until 1:10 - 1:15 for the 1:25 ferry so I wandered about the dock shops until I saw the Nantucket Nectars Ice Cream Shop (Yes, THAT Nantucket Nectars, although the "Toms" are no longer on the island now that they made it big...) and so I popped in to get something to drink. The "Juice Guys" ice cream stand is basically a hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop with the Nantucket Nectar juices and some baked goods. They had an interesting ice cream flavor called Lobster Crunch - vanilla ice cream with red caramel and some crunchy element that I can't remember...

If interested, here is the story of the "Toms" and Nantucket Nectars: CLICK HERE

Anyhoo - I settled on a "Pink Nectar", some watermelon-peachy smoothie with vanilla yougurt whenb I noticed that standing next to me was Soleil from class who also got some kind of smoothie.

We went out to wait in line for the ferry and were idly chatting when she asked me if I wanted to ride with her to Boston. It seemed that she had worked in the area some 20 years before at the now defunct Wang Laboratories (At its peak in the 1980s, Wang Laboratories had annual revenues of $3 billion and employed over 40,000 people.) and had recently been contacted by an old co-worker in the area.

I thanked her and declined, telling her that I already had a P-B bus ticket in hand although I was also trying to get a limo/taxi to take me to Boston's South Station directly to save time and to avoid the incessant bus stops which made an hour trip by car almost 2 hours - an hour longer. I really didn't want to inconvenience her and I couldn't imagine her friend (who lived 21 miles away from Boston in Lexington, MA) would want to take a total stranger into downtown Boston.

We boarded the ferry on time and continued chatting across the sound when about halfway across, I went to check our location on the GPS and to keep Ed apprised of my status on the escape from the island. Ed & the boys were on a fishing boat out of Belmar, but we kept in pretty constant text contact via our respective iPhones.

So here I am in the middle of Nantucket Sound texting Ed back and forth when suddenly my screen fades by 50% and then out of nowhere I see the apple icon appear before the whole thing faded to blackness.

Even though I knew that there is no hope for resuscitation, I had to make an effort to revive my quite dead iPhone. The iPhone, not surprisingly, did not respond to any of the reboot/restart attempts and so I knew that it was gone. Literally in the blink of an eye, the technological marvel that had guided me all over the island and kept me in constant touch with home and work - was just gone. Still, silent, dead.

We arrived in Hyannis on time but Soleil's friend was caught in the traffic coming in for the funeral and so was about an hour late. It was after 3:30 before we headed into Boston. My chances of making it home by midnight were looking slim.

To make an already too long post short, I ended up taking the offer of a ride from Soleil and her friend zipped me directly to the Apple superstore in downtown Boston within an hour and I was literally in and out of the Apple store in 10 minutes. They gave me a new iPhone (free - thanks to the $69 protection plan), plopped in the sim card from my old iPhone and even flagged me a taxi to get me to South Station which was about 10 minutes away.

I texted Ed immediately from my new iPhone and as predicted, he was worried about me having lost contact with me in mid-text some 3 or so hours earlier.

The rest was pretty smooth sailing. I arrived at South Station at 5:15 PM or so and exchanged my ticket for the 6:40 PM to Penn Station NYC. From NYC, I would transfer to another train that would arrive at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia at 12:42 AM.

I made it home on time, with a couple of unscheduled delays but thanks to the kindness of strangers, I made it back and here I am posting my blog over a cup of Earl Grey tea with Maya at my feet and the cicadas singing in the trees.

Life is good.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's about all I can say. You are quite the survivor!!! What a crazy adventure home, glad to hear you made it safe and sound!


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