NYC Ramblings and a Last Hurrah with my Eponym

I hopped off a bus in a sun rising Chinatown less than a week into 2015 after having spent the eve in Indiana with Marilyn, this was my first time stepping on the New York streets in a year or so. The idea was to get my kicks as normal, meanwhile a month's out plan for South America by way of cheap Florida airline tickets with Marilyn was in the works.

This breeze through New York would be a bit chaotic than normal in terms of sleeping every night. Friends from before were scattering as significant others morphed, ideas of moving had risen and generally times were changing. I stayed with one great old friend in Queens for the first couple nights, mixing in some beers and solo wanders around Manhattan between linking up with other friends.

I stayed with another friend a night beyond that along with his girlfriend and her family, but had to be up and out early leaving me absolutely zonked after the long great night. At one point I hopped on the N train just to sleep my way down to Coney Island and slingshot back all the way to Astoria where I met up with a fling from precisely a year prior.

I went out with her and wound up spending that night at her place, doing the deed and getting out of the cold for the night, a much better alternative to my backup plan of riding the subway all night for sleep again.

I continued on like this, staying with yet another friend who got punched in a bar fight trying to help the bartender, ramble, ramble, ramble just digging the city and chaining nights together in one place or another for no reason other than to get kicks reconnecting with the frays of flings and friends still attached to the big city in one manner or another.

A short train ride eventually got me up to my dad's north of the city for a couple nights to catch up there, good times and relaxation had by all, then my mind was southbound. My dad dropped me off at an onramp in that direction somewhat reluctantly, I believe it was the first time he'd actually set me off on the road to thumb out, despite my hitching lifestyle having extended back some eight years.

All the same I wasn't even sure where I was precisely heading; I had potentially one last friend to catch up with and hadn't heard from him, beyond that I was Maryland bound to see my Uncle. I hitched one ride to White Plains where I paused and pondered my situation just long enough to hear from that friend in Connecticut, in fact my oldest friend despite our lack of frequent contact.

He came and scooped me up and we caught up swapping stories, I particular was interested in hearing about his Peruvian trip and iowaska adventures. After some catching up he rode me to the NYC bound train. At this point I'd worked out my plan, which was to ride back to the city, spend a quick night with a friend there and ride the dirt cheap Megabus to DC where my cousin and uncle would be making a medical trip to.

So that's how it went down, one last good night in New York and a four hour bus ride come morning.

Now, my uncle, whom I'm named after, was apparently on his way out with a brain tumor. I hadn't seen him in a number of years, but always looked up to him and was eager to see him now. I burned some time at the Dubliner and eventually my cousin and uncle rolled up and picked me up.

He seemed fine to me, the same uncle I'd remembered smiling, cracking jokes and laughing at his perceived absurdity of the constant medical visits, scans, pills and so forth. He blamed cell phones for his brain tumor and was determined to write a book, I had no idea if their was any science behind this, but he was pretty convinced.

We rolled back to Maryland and got some burgers and beer and I couldn't be happier to be kicking it with him. We tried to go to Flying Dog Brewery, a local spot that actually makes one of my favorite beers, but they were closed so we hit another spot before heading back to the house.

Eventually he went to bed, I remained downstairs with my cousins and aunt, they immediately started discussing him. Basically it was an analysis of what he'd done that day, how he'd been behaving lately and all with the tone of the ticking clock that was his life nearing the end, trying to make sense of it and cope. I didn't like it, maybe I just didn't understand it. To me he was with it and the cool uncle I'd always known, but I suppose I hadn't been there day-to-day, I didn't know all the medical facts behind the whole deal, I didn't want to ponder his imminent demise, I wanted to sip beers with him and kick it, laugh and love.

My cousin had to head back to Boston the next day, but Kenny and I got to make that Flying Dog trip on our own, they indeed had plenty of my favorite beer, the Gonzo Imperial Porter, my uncle had them fill up a growler to bring back to the house.

The next day I was set to head out by thumb, but my uncle offered to get me a bus ticket south instead, "We can drop you off in DC when I get zapped".

"Getting zapped", was his daily doctor visit. I cruised with him and my other cousin on down to DC and we parted ways. I left with the same impression I always had of him of being a bonafide bad ass, thinking my family was all crazy for counting him out. God damn medical realities, though, he passed later that year. I couldn't have had a better last trip with him, though, his spirit is mine and I live on with more than just his name. Party in Peace, we adventure forward.

January 4, 2015 January 16, 2015

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