Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Car 54 Where Are You

About twelve years ago, my then husband and I used to take our kids into Manhattan on Thanksgiving Eve, to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Balloons get inflated. We always worked Tahnksgiving mornings, and this was a nice traditional twist to the whole parade thing. We would hop the train and meet my sisters and their families. We would have dinner and cruise the streets eyeing the balloons. Sounds simple and fun, right? Not always.

Maybe ten years ago, we were running late from work and we scooped up the kids and literally made a mad dash for the train station. We boarded in Ronkonkoma, which is a huge depot with massive double sided parking, and plenty of crowds at rush hour. We actually squeezed in to the train, kids in tow just in the nick of time.

We got to Manhattan, met our families, and feasted our bellies and eyes on the magical sites of Manhattan at holiday time. Trust me, if it's something you've yet to do, you simply must try it at least once. Manhattan becomes transformed at this time of year in to a magical wonder land! The kids were always awed and amazed at the sites and sounds!

This particular year was no different. After dinner and wandering frrom one wonderous site to another for hours, we said our goodbyes and made it back to the train station. We arrived back in Ronkonkoma around midnight, and that's where the fun really began!

In our haste to catch our scheduled train , we broke my first rule of parking. We did not pay attention to where we parked. We had simply bolted for the train without so much as a glance at a marker! We searched that lot, with two hungry, tired, whiny kids in tow, for over two hours! We went up and down, down and up every aisle there, and by two am, as the lot was becoming more and more sparse with cars, it became quite apparent.... Our car was simply not there!

We finally called the police, and after thiry minutes of more hungry, tired, whiny kids and now hungry tired, whiny adults as well, a police car shows up, but on the OPPOSITE side of the tracks, which happens to be seperated by fences. We call the police to say hey!!!! Copper!!!! We're over HERE! to which dispatch informs us, Hey! That's a different jurisdiction, and said cop is not ALLOWED to cross the tracks!!!! Another car is then dispatched.

Finally, a police officer who is allowed on the right(?) side of the tracks arrives, and our car is officially recorded as stolen. Now all we had to do is hail a cab, and $60.00 later, we were home. Hungry. Tired. And of course Whiny!

The next morning (or really, only a few hours later), my then husband and I head to work, where fellow colleagues commiserate in our nightitme woes and misadventures.

After work, I suggest we pass by the train station again...Things always look better in the light of day. We approach the train station parking lot from a different entrance than the one we departed the night before. On the opposite side of the tracks. And lo and behold, there, sitting All By Itself, is our car. One lonely vehicle in a near empty parking lot, right where we had parked it. Apparently in our haste to board our own polar express to hell, we neglected to remember climbing the overpass to approach the train. Not only that, the first cop had practically been sitting on top of our car when dispatch informed him that he was in fact not the man for the job.

How embarassing....We actually considered leaving the car there....eventually SOMEBODY would steal it.

But no, I drove it home, with my then husband following, hoping I wouldn't get pulled over and arrested for driving my OWN stolen car!

Once home, we called the police to say "Oops a daisy, false alarm,, my bad", but apparently that's not quite good enough. And so, in the interest of good police work, we waited at our home for another hour for a police officer from I don't know which side of the tracks, came to OUR HOME to view said stolen vehicle, to verfiy that it was in fact found. It doesn't get more embarassing than that, and no, officer, for the third time, we were NOT drinking, just stupid!

Needless to say, that was our last Thanksgiving Eve excursion to Manhattan. These days the family tends to stay home, drinking hot toddies, and baking pies. And rest assurred , I check every hour to make sure those cars are in the garage where they belong!!

No comments: