Sunday, October 02, 2005

Went to Coney Island on a mission from God




So. The biiiiig day was upon us – taking my son and his girlfriend to Across the Narrows at Coney Island.

I, being the uber-control freak mother that I am, had planned out the 12 hour day in exact 60 minute segments that, if the day had gone as I had scheduled, would have been perfect.

But rule 1043.5 in the book of mothering states that when you do have your day planned out in perfect 60 minute segments, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Sadly, the world doesn’t function on mother segments.

First off, the weather was perfect. Somewhere in my life I must have pleased some Goddess of Music, because whenever I have to attend a concert, the weather is beyond beautiful. It was about 75 degrees. Can that get any better? We left the house at 10:30 and were at Keyspan Park at 11:20. Again, perfect.

At first WarpedTourDad and I were going to hang at Coney for the day at the Film Festival, but we bagged that idea. We watch soooo many movies, and it was soooo beautiful out, we decided it would be a sin to spend such a beautiful day watching movies. We dropped them off in front of Keyspan and then made a quick jog through the Battery Tunnel over to Manhattan. We thought perhaps we’d stop at the TKTS booth in Times Square and go see a show.

Now, every time we have ever gone to the TKTS booth, we’ve waited in line for perhaps a minimum of 45 minutes. Today there was no line whatsoever. Again, repeat after me – perfect.

We got two tickets to see Jewtopia (very funny), had a quick bite to eat from a street vendor, and then saw the show. Jim was text messaging me every two hours as requested just to let me know they hadn’t been kidnapped and sold into slavery, forcing me to go on a transcontinental adventure into the underground world of human trafficking to rescue them, so the day was going too fine.

After the show we took a cab over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Medicine in Ancient Egypt exhibit, which was, again that magic word – perfect. After this exhibit we stayed for a lecture on impressionism and post-impressionism.

Here’s where things started to fall apart.

The area of the museum the lecture was in had no cell phone reception. So as the lecture started, my son text messaged me, only not to get a response. He messaged me again 15 minutes later, and again no response. By the time the lecture was over he had messaged me 4 times and left 1 voicemail message. Because I’ve successfully transferred all of my neuroses into him, the fact that I wasn’t answering had him completely freaked out. As we started to make our way out of the museum cell phone reception returned, and my phone rang to have a frantic Jim on the other end wondering if perhaps I had been kidnapped and sold into slavery, forcing him and his girlfriend to go on a transcontinental adventure into the underground world of human trafficking to rescue me.

And even though no less than 5 security guards yelled at me to turn off my phone, I assured him that we were fine. Yes, it’s rude to scream at the top of your lungs I CAN’T HEAR YOU. WHAT? WHAT? ARE YOU OK? DO YOU NEED ME TO COME GET YOU? on a cell phone in the Museum of Art, but when you are starting a panic attack, politeness goes out the window.

Anatomy of a Panic Attack:

7:45 PM We took a cab back to Times Square. We were starving and really not thinking too clearly. It had been a long day and we were exhausted. The restaurants were all pretty empty as the shows were about to start. There was a sea of empty tables at the Hard Rock, so we thought maybe we’d grab a quick veggie burger there, and then be in the car on our way back to Coney by 9:00, giving us a good hour to battle traffic back to Brooklyn. I originally had wanted to be back at Coney by 8:30 so we could grab some coffee, sit on the beach and listen to The Pixies, have some romantic time alone, just us on the beach with the lights of Coney behind us, that kind of thing, but I was so hungry and tired I really just wanted to sit down. That was mistake #1.

8:05 PM. Our drinks arrive. I think the food can’t be too long behind. I am wrong.

8:30 PM. I noticed that people who had been there longer than us still hadn’t gotten their food; I was starting to get worried.

8:45 PM. Our food still hadn’t come, we had had it. We asked the waitress to just get us our two $25 veggie burgers to go.

9:05 PM. She still hadn’t come out. I was starting to flip out. The concert was scheduled to be over by 10:00. At this point listening to The Pixies was the furthest thing from my mind; I just wanted to get back to Coney Island before the concert ended so we’d be there to get them when the park emptied. I was having images in my mind of the FDR being backed up, followed by the tunnel being backed up, followed by the BQE being backed up, followed by the Belt Parkway being backed up, followed by us arriving at Coney Island at 11:30 only to find the lights off, the park emptied, and my son and his girlfriend kidnapped and sold into slavery, forcing me to… ok you know the rest. I’m seriously considering just walking out at this point. I really should have.

9:15 PM. We finally were out of The Hard Rock (the last time ever in my life will I step foot in a Hard Rock Café mind you, are you hearing this Hard Rock Café, the last time you will get $50 from us for two veggie burgers. I hope you’re happy after all the $25 veggie burgers we have ordered from you, but n’ere again. You’re dead to me, Hard Rock Café. And by the way – your veggie burgers suck. All those times when the waitress came to our table and asked, "How's everything?" and I answered, "It's perfect" -- I was faking it.)

Still exhausted, still starving, still light-headed, and here’s where we made mistake #2. We thought the parking lot was on 43rd when in fact it was on 42nd. I’m messaging my son telling him we’ll be a little late so please stay in front of the Park near the 5 million NYC street, bike and mounted police that had been pumped into Coney for this event, but he’s not answering me.

Why?

His cell phone battery ran out.

There is the brink of insanity, and then there is the abyss.

That is the point where I fell over the edge into the chasm of total overprotective mother freak out.

9:45 PM After spending 20 minutes stumbling around Times Square like a schizophrenic crack whore, and 10 minutes waiting for them to get our car, we finally were on the FDR. And I’m flipping out, WarpedTourDad is flipping out asking me to please calm down, no concert ever ends on schedule, we’ll be there by 10:15 at the latest, but no, there is no stopping me, and he’s trying to calm me down, but there’s no calming me, and in the midst of all of this, we miss the exit for the tunnel.

Mistake #3.

Now we’re on the West Side Highway heading towards the Holland Tunnel, with no place in the world to turn around. How on EARTH did we wind up on the West Side is beyond me, but panic attacks transport you through space and time so you can be heading south on the FDR only to miraculously be heading north on the West side. There’s a traffic tip for you commuters.

I’m pretty much catatonic at this point in post-panic attack mode. There is no place to turn around and head back south towards the tunnel. Opening a vein in my neck with my own nails is a viable option to me at this point. Not even The Warriors wanted to get back to Coney as badly as I did.

But, all’s well that ends well. We made it to Coney by 10:30. They only had to wait about a half hour for us. They were not kidnapped and sold into slavery, and we were in our front door by 11:30.

But the saddest thing?

The Pixies played Debaser. And I had a chance to hear Debaser, sitting on the beach, with the lights of Coney Island behind me, and I missed it.

I dunno, but there is just something so cool about the idea of your own kid going to a concert by a band that you adored the year he was born. Isn’t that neat-o?

They had a great time though, and that’s what counts. He’s wanted to see The Pixies ever since they got back together, and I was so happy I could give that to him. And is there any place in the world better than Keyspan Park to have a concert? I think not.

Y’anno, there is a lot of controversy about the revitalization of Coney Island. I have a love-hate relationship with Coney that I’ll write about in more detail someday. In a nutshell, I love Coney Island more than mere words can describe, and while every inch of me would love to see it return to the grandeur it once was, I hope with my heart that the camp and funk that it is now somehow remains.

I’m glad that this season at Coney ended with such a fantastic blast. We’ll be back there in June for the Mermaid Parade.

I'll be calmed down by then.

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