Road Trip (Part Two)

I.  Dunkin’ Donuts Sells Egg Rolls?

I probably got four and a half hours of “sleep” between Friday (18th) night and Saturday (19th).  I was too excited about the Yankees game the following day.  Instead of forcing myself to sleep, I was forcing myself to watch The Final Destination, another installment of the movie series about not being able to cheat death. The irony of this is the series inability to die out, itself.  Not only was this movie littered with terrible effects, sprinkling the stale cake of a plot line, the unknown actors lived up to their poor abilities.

I don’t need to go on.  I will only beat a dead horse, which isn’t fun.  Horses are incredible animals and dead ones make me sad.  It would be like beating a dead… um… John Wilkes Booth.  No one liked that sonofa–

ANYWAYS.  I was pretty damn tired the next morning, as one would suspect, but I never fell back asleep  until the ride home.  I was preoccupied with The Wall by Jean Paul Sartre, a delightful collection of troublesome short stories.  I love controversial literature.

The five of us stopped at our usual Dunkin’ Donuts in the Chenango Forks area, the DD with the cleanest bathroom on the planet.  Hoping we would have gone by now, my brother and I proceeded with the classy “fart jokes” and fecal euphemisms:  Bronx Bomber, Chenango Flops, Road Stop Plops, etc.  One only has to make those comments after eating fast food and when your schedule is a bit off.

Needless to say, the stop was as nice like the many in the past and service was quick.  I tried one of the veggie breakfast burritos, and it was delicious with a nice kick.  However, the so-called burrito was the size of an egg roll.  Those deceiving pictures, I tell ya.  I ended up getting a sausage-egg-and-cheese in a croissant to accompany the egg roll, filling my stomach.  All that healthy food was washed down with a large coffee.  With my luck, it was slim, we would make it there and back before making a Deuce in the ‘Cuse. 

I was lucky.

II.  Westchester

I love road trips, especially when you can enjoy it with others.  The only issue I have with them:  stuffing three people in the back seat.  My mom, being the smallest, had the privilege of sitting in the middle of Erin and I.  You would think this arrangement would alleviate the squished factor, but it didn’t.  I was trying to read in a variety of positions to ease the stuffy arrangement.  However, this was nothing compared to the seating arrangement on the airplane, coming home from China.  The little Chinese man in the middle seat fanned out his entire paper, leaving me to hang over the arm of the chair, reading in the aisle.  I felt sorry for the other person, who was probably leaving face smudges upon the window.  The only other preexisting issue that could have come up would have been my car sickness episodes.  However, we were lucky on that one:  my father wasn’t driving.

Chenango’s Dunkin’ Donuts has been the checkpoint of many reminiscent road trips:  going to visit my relatives in New Jersey, the constant back-and-forths with Oneonta, and the once-in-a-while downstate travels;  this includes Westchester.  My first trip to Westchester was in 2002, after my first year of college.  It was a nice adventure to visit Devika and Nick (at the time), the Paganos, Rob and Jen, Mike, and the reuniting with Mooner and others.  We visited Nicole in a pet store, where there were day-old kittens; the one I picked up pooped in my hand, but there was no way I could get angry at that adorable creature.

The first night we broke bread at a diner, which put any diner up in the Central New York area to shame.  After dinner, after going to the theater and not finding a movie to watch, the duty of running to the video store (remember those?) was placed on Mike and I.  Everyone should have known better.  After sifting through walls of movies, we were debating on 61* and Evolution.  Although we wanted to watch a film about the Yankees, not everyone would have agreed:  women.  So, Mike and I decided (Ah, what the hell? Why not?) on Evolution, that gem from 2001, staring David Duchovny and Julianne Moore.  The stupidity factor was high, but Mike and I got a kick out of it, laughing at the funny parts and laughing even harder at the dumber parts. 

It was decided, due to our similar personalities, we were no longer allowed to be in the same vicinity.  Due to distance, time, and geography:  I have not seen Mike since 2005, at The Silver Bullet in Oneonta, NY.

Yet, Westchester County, is still beautiful as she stands today.  I would love to live there.  Ossining is home to Sing Sing Prison.  We have Sleepy Hollow, and that needs no explanation. What about Bear Mountain Bridge and the Tappan Zee?  There are so many nooks of the county, and so much history on top of it.  I remember my father, driving me down to Westchester, we went over Bear Mountain Bridge.  It was a nice little trip down memory lane for him.  He told me that him and his friends would hang out on the ledge of the mountainside to watch lightning storms.  I couldn’t blame him, because it’s a miraculous view.  My father, also, told me about how they used to speed; hearing this caused me to dig my fingers into the door handle. 

Across we went, over the Tappan Zee, crossing the expansive Hudson River, which was named after Henry Hudson, who was an English explorer that I did an awesome project on in fourth grade.  It was so awesome that (I think) I got a 111% on it.  I’ll have to check with Mrs. Columbus about that; I’m sure she’ll agree with me.

III.  Yankee Stadium

Finally, we arrive at Yankee Stadium.  Dobbs Ferry was a cozy place, but now we were in the meat of everything, the steak and potato of our trip.  Yes, one potato, because it is split open and filled with butter, cheese, and bacon.  Deliciousness.  Utter deliciousness. 

Unfortunately, we did not have steak and potato at the game, but we did bring our own sandwiches.  We, also, brought our own water and beer.  One of these three “food groups” could not be allowed into the game, and that is why quick thinking brought us to a Dollar General, sending Erin and my mom in to find some cups.  I understand I probably missed a moment to people watch, but it was made up by hanging out with my brother and father, standing outside the store with our arms crossed.  The looks of the two women accompanying us as they walked out the Dollar General were less than pleased. 

Hey, we didn’t need five people searching for the cups. 

Rounding the nearest corner, we set up shop and began Operation:  Get Rid of Beer.  The process was smooth and had no regrets, obviously.  We proceeded to the gates.

It’s amazing how one can feel at 29 years of age, entering Yankee Stadium, like a child entering The Magic Kingdom.  I haven’t been back to Disney in 18 years, but I know I would probably have the same excitement as I had at ages 9 and 11.  That’s how The Magic Kingdom works, boasting Walt Disney’s genius, and allowing anyone of any age to feel like a kid again, erasing all worries and troubles.  Your perspective is forever the same.

I believe I was at those same ages, 9 and 11, when I went to the original Yankee Stadium.  The first game was a win against the Detroit Tigers and the second game was a loss against the Kansas City Royals.  Sure, as a kid, I had the thought that the Yankees were always going to win at home, especially when I was attending the game.  The loss hurt.  The loss last week, also, hurt.  That’s a metaphor for life though.

A few weeks ago, a Letter to the Editor that I wrote was featured in The Post-Standard, contesting the opinion of some gentleman, who wrote in a week or two earlier, stating that baseball was boring.  I felt his opinion was stupid and wrong, aggravating me to the nth degree, sparking the drive for me to write.  Luckily, I was backed by another letter that same day.  Baseball, as it can get boring at some points, is never boring.  Just go to a game with loved ones and turn your frown upside down.  Don’t be a jackass and compare baseball to trout season opening.  Baseball is America’s sport.  Attending a game is serious family and friend time. Period.

We, also, knew of others attending the game, and we met up with them towards the seventh inning:  Kelly, Travis, Jeremy, and his girlfriend whose name I cannot remember. There is bound to be someone you know to bump into in that beginning in that neck of the woods, downstate.  The “bet” actually was to be the first person to run into someone you knew.  No prize was decided.  However, since all five of us previously knew these individuals were going to the game, taking into account we all knew them, the end of the bet was voided.  There were no winners that day, my friends.

Prior to the opening pitch, we had enough time to walk through the museum, taking a gander at old uniforms and equipment, the wall of baseballs, trophies, and a nice dedication to Ruth and Gehrig.  The line, being as long as it was, went faster than expected.  We found seats before the first pitch was thrown, but then we realized the section we were in wasn’t our section.  The 329 somehow turned into 326, and because the occupiers arrived to claim their spots. 

Our seats were better, however.

Faster than you knew it, Mr. Baseball hater, the game was over at a 6 – 5 loss, so we had to head on back to Syracuse.  We hopped the train back to Dobbs Ferry, and enjoyed the company of those around us a little bit too much.

I read some more controversial literature and dozed for a little bit of the ride.  Due to my head bobbing, I tried to position it in between the head rest and the side of the car, but that was to no avail.

VI.  Hitting The Spot

There is nothing better in this world than eating at a diner.  Comparatively, they have the most uniquely treasured atmosphere to be accompanied by great food.  The Spot in Binghamton is definitely one of those great diners. 

I love diners.

Sitting there in the blown-out-of-proportion-your-grandma’s-dining-and-den-area, cozy yet subconsciously uncomfortable at the same time, waiting for Michael Corleone to appear out of the bathroom with a pistol in hand, you are elated and starving at the same time.  After all, your hunger does seem to intensify when you walk into a restaurant.  Crazy conditioning.  You would want Al Pacino to appear to take your mind off the hunger pangs. Out of the blue, swiftly and surely, Pacino/Corleone appears with the pistol to take out you and/or the individuals you are with.  As he aims at your head, he hastily pulls the trigger, emitting glitter and a white flag with word BANG! written across its canvas.  Pacino then joins us for dinner.

That would be awesome, if it were true, but it wasn’t. We must bask in the thought of what could and never will be.

My father, donning a Mantle jersey, was tapped upon his shoulder by the passing waitress.  She was a nice waitress, compared to the wack-a-doo with the overdone and caked on eyeliner serving us.  She inquired about the game, where we sat, where we were from, and talked about her own recent Yankee Stadium experiences. 

It was a family dinner annex; not held on the usual Sunday evening, without the glasses of wine.  As the food was consumed–burgers, pancakes, and sammies (oh, my!)–the camera panned out and the lights dimmed; thus, closing out the road trip with a metaphorical dot-dot-dot, signifying the imposed What if? to confuse the hell out of the audience as they get up to leave and wondering what is to happen next.

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