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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bolt to Philly Part Deux, Amtrakin' it back!

So, that was effing crazy. a half hour after I closed my laptop we were slowing to get off the turnpike and someone hit us from behind. Before it happened I was only marginally aware that there might have been something happening. We were slowing pretty fast and our driver hit the rumble strips a little but we weren't in any danger of hitting anyone. Then, a huge thud and my neck swung forward. We were stopped again just as soon as it happened so the truck that hit us couldn't have been going all that fast though my neck did snap back a little. We all looked around and checked ourselves and made sure the person next to us was okay and then the bus driver began shouting toward the back of the bus to make sure everyone was okay as well. At this point, I had to hand the lady in front of me her shoes as they had slid back. Turning my head to look out the window behind us, I saw another car half spun around and crumpled like a tin can. A second later I heard the bus driver shouting back to the passengers to get off the bus. I went for my bag and then realized it had slid to the seat behind me. Once I had all my effects, thanking my lucky stars I hadn't opted to bring my electric guitar with me to the studio (it would have surely been stuff under the bus in the luggage compartment), I followed the other passengers off the bus. We all then gathered on the shoulder of the highway and as I turned back to look at the bus I saw it:

Our bus was the front end of a vehicle sandwich. The other slice of bread being an 18 wheeler and the meat was a smaller semi. The juice running down the shoulder I assumed was gasoline. About this time I started to notice the other cars. There was one ahead of us which had been rear-ended and I'm assuming was the accident that we were slowing down for. The other cars were off behind the two trucks and I'm not sure how many more there were besides the one I had already seen. I recall, shortly after the initial hit, seeing another car careening off into the ditch just off the shoulder. This one disappeared so I'm assuming the driver, having had such a close call and come out relatively unscathed, decided to keep on driving.

Not so lucky, my fellow passengers and I were being held on the side of the road, subjected to legal red tape. We were told to all stay together and write down our information and then someone with the paramedics, who had arrived almost instantaneously, came around and starting asking who wanted to go to the hospital to get checked out. A few people, probably litigiously motivated, took tags from this guy of varying colors depending on, I guess, the severity of their supposed injuries. I felt nothing but a little soreness in my neck and was hoping, between phone calls to Lacy and my parents, to be able to leave at some point, already hatching a plan to have Lacy meet me at the exit once I filled out the form they were handing out.

While I was waiting for someone to hand me a form, I looked down and saw about ten ants crawling on and under my shirt. Apparently, there are ant hills all over the highway shoulder and I was standing right on top of one. Those bastards bit me too!

At this point, once I had handed in my form to the bus driver and scratched all the ants off of my body, the woman to whom I had handed her shoes approached me and asked me if I was headed anywhere, complaining about the fact that they didn't want us to go anywhere. I could see we were of the same mind and I offered her a ride if we could get out of there without too much trouble. I was simultaneously coordinating said ride with Lacy on the phone. The first time we try to abscond, we were stopped by one of the guys with the tags. Yammering about there being a process and blah blah blah whatever. We feigned compliance and then waited for the next opportune moment and bolted, no pun intended. In fact, it was more of a sneaking than a bolting. All the emergency workers between us and Exit 4 on the New Jersey Turnpike couldn't be bothered with our apparent escape.

It was a short quarter mile hike to the exit and during this time, I found out that Margot was from NYC but had a biomedical business in Philly and therefore took this trip all the time. She was relatively unfazed and like me had business to attend to. We made it to the gas station on the corner of highway 73 and Fellowship Rd. and Lacy met us shortly after but not before I made a few phone calls and accidentally broke the soap dispenser in the men's room sending a cascade of that disgusting neon pink soap down to the floor. I didn't tell the management.

The ride to Philly was short thankfully. Lacy informed me that when I called her it was only about 30 minutes before I was supposed to arrive. And the session at Turtle Studios went well. We only really needed to lay down a few takes of a few different ideas on the guitar and get started with mixing it all in. The guys handed me a blue Les Paul and hooked me up to their Vox amplifier, miked me up, tweaked my sound and handed me a headset. The room was huge and filled with all manner of musical instruments, the most notable an organ and a beautiful Steinway grand. At around 12:30 I had to go back into Philly with Lacy in order to catch the 1pm Amtrak back to NYC and here I sit typing this here blog entry. Hoping to god that nothing jumps in front of the train before we get back to Penn Station…and then I go to work.

So, in short, I'm unscathed but very lucky. Just goes to show that even a semi and an 18 wheeler can't stop this train from gliding down the tracks. Notice I didn't use a bus metaphor.

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