Sunday, October 2, 2011

Drop Everything and Go

On Saturday afternoon, around 3pm, I was sitting in front of my computer in my Spanish Harlem apartment watching an old episode of a British Sci-Fi TV show in something like its thirty-second season, of which I've seen the latest six. I was waiting for the newest episode to come out in some form I could watch it. I don't think I was actually eating a bowl of cereal or sitting around in my underwear but I might as well have been, if it gives you an idea of the scene.

I won't say I was bored. I wasn't. Doctor Who is good stuff, if you're into that sort of thing. But I was sitting in front of a laptop, by myself, on a weekend.

Then I got a text message. It was my friend, Barry. It said "Hey I know it's last minute, but if you want to take the train out to Montauk tonight, you're welcome to stay here."

If stopping a spoonful of cereal halfway to my mouth while I'm mostly undressed, crouched in front of a computer screen helps get the gist of the image across, feel free to imagine it that way. I knew almost nothing about Montauk. I knew it was on the end of Long Island, and I vaguely remembered it mentioned in some movie I'd seen. That was it.

Didn't matter. That was all I needed.

I jumped out of the chair, called up Barry and started pacing. He was apologetic. He wanted to hang out, but it turned out there were no trains. Since I'd need to be back in the city by the next evening, it might not be worth the travel time. There was a bus, but it either left the upper east side at 5:30 and got in at 9:30pm, or left there at 3:30. And since it was already after 3:00pm...

I thought for a moment. Back at my computer, after a little searching, I pulled up the timetable and took a good look at that 3:30 bus. It made stops all along the east side before leaving, the upper east side, the closest stop to me, was the first. It passed just south of Grand Central Station around 4:00pm. Perfect. If I timed things just right...

I jumped up, packed a bag, called Barry up again to say I was coming, and dashed out into the rain. I raced up to 125th steeet to grab an express subway to beat the bus down to grand central. I swung out in time to grab more cash from an ATM for the bus fare, and rolled right up to the stop less than two minutes before the bus itself did. I was on, and on my way.

Getting on the bus felt good. But weirdly, what felt better was running through the rain with the bag on my back, out to catch the subway. Because once I was on the bus I was safe. While I was running, I was on an adventure. And it's been a long time since I had a taste of that. I'd forgotten how much I liked it.

That said, the evening and next day was some of the most relaxing time I've had away from "The City," as everyone calls it out here. Montauk is a beach town just east of the Hamptons. Technically it might be part of The Hamptons,depending on who you ask. But if you ask the people at the kinds of places Barry and I went, they would probably not take kindly to the insinuation. But that was because we were going into the kinds of places that didn't allow cell phones, yapping dogs, or, frankly, tourists.

So my Saturday went from sci-fi TV on my computer alone to seafood, drinks on the beach, watching mysterious paper lanterns and fireworks off in the distance... it was not how I'd pictured that day ending when I got up that morning. And then of course the next morning was more good food, more beach time, and then even more good food (first ever lobster roll at the place that made them famous, along with their seasonal pumpkin crab and lobster bisque). It was a great way to spend a weekend. All thanks to one text from a good friend.

Though I have to admit, the ability to pack a bag in under five minutes does help.

Next time you have a chance to just drop everything and go somewhere. Do yourself a favor and just go.
This entry cross-posted to my acting in NYC blog: Constant Audition.