Category Archives: My Life in Hoboken

Of Cupcakes And Late Night PATH Rides

When I was two years old, my nanny gave me a nickname that actually stuck for quite some time—Miss Serious.

All throughout my life, I felt like I have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. Though I’m ultimately an eternal optimist, (one of my favorite phrases is, “it’ll all work out”) I have this side of me that can be a little…intense.

Not in a scary way. I don’t yell with rage when I’m waiting on a line for a long time (I just secretly grind my teeth) but when it comes to things in life that I care about—my career and my relationships, I’m always pondering how to be the best I can be. And, sometimes I think about these things on the way to buy milk at A&P, and definitely on the PATH on the way and from work. Clint has on more than one occasion said to me during one of these sessions, “Such a serious face! What are you thinking about?”

This is where the problem lies—sometimes I just make a serious face when I’m thinking about silly things, like cute puppies. Another phrase I heard growing up was, “Smile, Emily! Why don’t you smile?” Now, this phrase really bugged me, because if I am in the middle of a thought, why would I smile without any reason? I suppose that even though I’m an optimist, I’m not always Mary Sunshine, and that’s ok—I’ve made peace with that.

However, I feel that I’m immediately drawn to people with sunny dispositions—people that always have a hint of a smile in the crook of their mouths, even on a day like today when it’s half raining/half sleeting, and then you realize you have a hole in your rain boot on the way to work.

Last Saturday night, on the way home from KC’s German-themed dinner party in Jersey City, I met one of the sunniest people–he could have walked right out of one of those Jimmy Dean breakfast commercials, dressed up as the sun who has a tummy full of goodness. As a conductor of the late trains, normally on the Newark line, this was the first time I’ve seen him on the PATH—but also, I’m not normally on the PATH at 3:30ish am. Naturally, I wasn’t too happy, even after a great night. It was late, and I just wanted to get home.

This conductor had one of those personalities I wish I could bottle up and sip like coffee in the mornings. So genuinely friendly, he struck up a conversation about a common interest—cupcakes, since I held a cupcake carrier in my lap. Seven, made-from-scratch German Chocolate cupcakes are a great conversation starter, if you were ever curious.

I gave this conductor one, and it made his night, and then mine. Not only did he help the time go by, which was greatly appreciated at that time in the morning, but then he also thanked me for the cupcake, into the PA system when I finally reached my destination.

To this conductor, I would like to say that although my night had already been a fun one, unexpected interactions like these was truly the icing on the cake for that evening.

It’s Snowing Gloves And Mittens

courtesy of keyinherpocket on Flickr

Ever since the blizzard a few weeks back, the streets of Hoboken have still been a little messy.

It’s not the town’s fault—it’s only a matter of time before the purely white snow turns to mucky brown and gray sidewalk hurdles, and keepers of curbs.

There’s another natural phenomenon that tends to litter the sidewalks along with the salt as soon as winter arrives. I’ve found them on the steps of the PATH station, the intersection of Washington and Second St., even in the doorway of CVS.

I’ve discovered some red ones, black ones, and white with polka dots. Some are woolen, and some leather. Have you seen them too?

I’m speaking of the occurrence of single mittens and gloves and hats (oh my!).

Over the past few weeks, especially after 20 something inches of snow, I’ve come across many a single glove. And, every time I come across one in my travels—it has to be one of the saddest sites.

My hands feel chapped just looking at them. All I can think about is how their poor owner is probably searching through her handbag, saying over and over…I just had it! I seriously just put it back in my bag…where…where??

Maybe I’m so sensitive about it since it’s happened to me many times. It even almost happened to me the other day. There I was, taking off my wool, insulated, cozy glove to take out my Smartlink card, and before I knew it, I’m standing in front of a train, staring at my other hand—which was supposed to have my other glove in its grasp.

I also then made another discovery. I answered my lingering question as to how there are so many lost gloves—it’s because you can’t ever feel anything when you’re wearing gloves. I had pinched the glove I took off in between my thumb and pointed finger, but no matter.

As I stood there, in disbelief that I yet again lost another glove, while trying so hard to piece together the puzzle before any coffee that morning, a good and decent citizen of Hoboken walked over to me, and told me I dropped this—my glove.

Do you see what we all need? If everyone had someone like this, a little guardian glove angel to let you know when you’ve dropped a mitten, not only would the world be a better place, but also, the streets wouldn’t be so littered with woolen orphans.

Town resolution for 2011, perhaps?

It’s Time For The Domesticator…

Sometimes, nothing seems more comforting than to move it into the kitchen and whip up some tasty baked goods. It also helps that I have an affinity for whisks.

The urge to domesticate can strike when you least expect it. Last Tuesday, all Maria and I could think about were chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, and banana tahini bread.

We are not bakers. I cook once or twice a week; Maria is famous for her assembling practices, namely, crackers and cheese. She also does not understand how I never get sick of eating hard boiled eggs at 8 am. But, we pushed our differences aside to make room for a night of baking. Good thing too, because we don’t have a ton of counter space.

About two hours later, including an extra run to a bodega at 10:15 pm when I realized that I bought pumpkin pie filling instead of real pumpkin (d’oh), the discovery that Maria was actually following a vegan recipe, Rach’s realization that all-spice actually exists, and a sink full of dishes, our doughnut-shaped apartment was filled with the scent of thirty-two muffins, and one square loaf of banana bread, with a corner missing. (We had to sample.)

It was a good Tuesday.

Pocket Full Of Kryptonite

Sometimes…just every now and then…between my empty Metrocards and hair bands…I wish my pockets were full of very ripe tomatoes.

Red means STOP!

It’s not that I have some sort of odd fetish, or that I suffer from sudden urges to  devour tomatoes. This would be a method of self defense.

The thing about overly ripe, wrinkly tomatoes is that they are incredibly juicy, and have the ability to explode quite nicely on a windshield, or hood of a car, which, incidentally, would be my target.

You see, I recently had a little tete-a-tete with a car who did not stop at an intersection. Although the driver initially slowed a bit while I was in the crosswalk, he then did this move where he actually started to accelerate–and I was still playing the chicken crossing the road. Had it been a truly rolling stop, I may have been knocked down, along with my bag of groceries, which this driver knocked with the grill of his sedan.

Once, when I was nine years old, a cement truck ran a red light and t-boned our family Volvo station wagon. (RIP Snow White.) Since then, I’ve never been so close to being involved in another hit—on foot.

Hoboken has very congested little streets—but that’s no excuse. No matter who you are—driver or pedestrian, you have to look out for the other. Due to this one driver who almost hit me, I wince anytime a car is trying to turn when pedestrians have the right of way, and I never trust any stop sign. Should any car edge up a bit while stopped at a light, my heart beat quickens, and I have a minor panic attack.

Hence, my idea for the tomatoes. Luckily, this driver looked up when he heard me make a sound. But perhaps I would have made a bolder statement had I started to pelt his windshield with overly ripe tomatoes. Or anything in my pockets.

Also, I apparently need a louder scream. Frozen from fear, I thought I had made a noise like a scream, but it could have easily been a duck quack. We never know how we’ll react in a high-adrenaline moment. I made a noise to sound alert—but I’m not quite sure if this is what stopped the driver, or if it was the flailing of my left arm.

I hate to say that this was just one bad driver, and that I feel safe crossing most streets, but I truly don’t in Hoboken. So, if a tomato thrown at a car is the only red sign that will take some of these drivers to stop and take notice that the pedestrians do have the right of way, perhaps that will be my pocket of kryptonite.