I should’ve just been a recluse. Who goes to college these days anyway? Introversion would not be this difficult or this terrifying.
These are just a few of the thoughts floating about in my panicked brain as I wandered through the streets of New York City…at night…by myself.
You might be wondering how I got here. Well pull up a seat and let me tell you a story. It all started last night when I decided that I was going to put my sleep cycle back in order by pulling an all-nighter….yeah…I don’t know what I was thinking.
I sat up doing homework last night, wondering how I was going to get myself to start falling asleep at midnight or earlier instead of staying up until three in the morning. That’s when I got the brilliant idea to drink caffeine all night so then the following day I would be so exhausted by night time that I would just naturally fall asleep at nine or ten o’clock. Brilliant!!
Other than watching the five-hour long BBC version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and writing my high-school soccer team a very extensive letter, I really accomplished nothing. At around four o’clock in the morning I found myself sound asleep in my bed. Four hours later, my alarm went off and I was completely conscious and awake when I turned it off.
Wow. I actually woke up on time! I feel great!
Five seconds later I went back to sleep without even realizing it.
I awoke two hours later with a start, clumsily fumbling for my iPod to see that I was running late for church. In only fifteen minutes I had changed into heels and proper church attire and was making my way out of my dorm for the subway station. My train, however, was not in service, as I was informed by a strip of pink tape marking off the stairs to get to the G platform. My brain went into panic mode.
I ran to the other side and took a train for two stops before I had to get off. I was told by the conductor that I needed to take a bus. Well, I had never taken a bus by myself, but if it was anything like the subway, how difficult it could be to manage, right?
Once I exited the station I realized that there was no bus stop in sight for at least two blocks either way; the heels on my feet were waving a finger at me, telling me if I walked they would not make it easy for me. Regardless of how I felt, I began to walk. Pretty soon a woman came up to me and asked me if I knew where the B61 bus stop was. Laughing to myself, I told her I didn’t know and that I was looking for a bus stop too. So me and this woman began going down block after block looking for a bus stop. I tried to call Maria so that she might be able to tell me what to do, but her phone kept going to voice mail. At one point I looked up from my phone to see that the woman had disappeared and that I was alone again.
Standing on a sidewalk, knowing that I had missed Sunday school and half of morning service, I contemplated just giving up and going home. I rationalized that I could just write the Bible Study lesson and homework as a way of making up for not attending church. But then I was convicted by a frightening truth; wasn’t giving up just what Satan wanted me to do?
Determined, I continued to walk down block after block until I found a bus stop that could take me to Caton Avenue, a street that was a very short distance from church; I had to wait half an hour for it, though. Huffing, I stood next to the bus stop, holding onto my Bible and journal and trying not to look like I was about to cry. That’s when I spotted a Dunkin’ Donuts across the street. My stomach reminded me that I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. Crossing the street with apparent eagerness, I walked into the Dunkin’ Donuts and stepped in line. It was getting to be fall, so they were selling apple cider, my favorite.
When I stepped up to the counter, I ordered a medium iced apple cider and a cinnamon coffee roll. As one of the ladies got my breakfast, the gentleman ordering next to me was reprimanding the other lady at the cash register. She had done nothing wrong, yet he was being absolutely disrespectful. Me and the woman getting my order exchanged glances and stopped what we were doing to stare the man down. He glanced at both of us and shook his head, taking his change and walking away. The woman who he’d been insulting just shook her head.
I momentarily wondered, as I was waiting, how someone could make such a big deal out of something so small as ordering a coffee. He had treated the woman like she was stupid, as if she had no clue as to what she was doing. Little did he know that the only one who looked foolish was himself. He should try decaf.
A few moments later, after I had consumed my heavenly tasting cinnamon roll and drinking my glorious apple cider, I was sitting comfortably on a bus that was traveling towards church. I just felt so embarrassed; how could I possibly have thought that pulling an all-nighter would have fixed my sleep cycle? That sounds like something Lucy would think of as a way to keep Ricky from being so grumpy, thus improving his mood so that she could perform on stage. No.
I also felt embarrassed about not having the discipline to just wake up when I needed to, whether I had gotten enough sleep or not. But above all of these feelings, I just felt tired and upset.
When I finally got to church, exhaustion overtook my entire brain and I couldn’t think clearly at all. I had arrived between the afternoon service and the morning service, a time in which coffee and donuts were being served. I grabbed a donut and stopped to eye the coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker, but my present state of mind demanded a caffeinated slap in the face. Surely enough, I took a Styrofoam cup and filled half of it with black coffee, a quarter of it with cream, and another quarter of it with Domino’s sugar packet. I downed the cup, thinking about how pleasant it tasted despite the absurd amount of cream and sugar and the pathetic amount of actual coffee. In only a handful of minutes there was an unnatural buzzing sensation in the back of my head. I decided I wouldn’t drink anymore coffee.
After the afternoon service (which was very refreshing), me and two other ladies went to a place called Yogurt Land. I combined the flavors of Red Velvet Cupcake Batter and New York Cheesecake, dumping the toppings of raspberries, kiwi, strawberries, and cheesecake bites on top. I am very much in love with frozen yogurt.
Now comes the horrific part of the evening. As you know, the G train, which I normally use to get home, was not running today. One of the ladies I was with told me to get off of the F train at Jay St. and transfer to the C. I did so and found myself traveling in the opposite direction I wanted to be going. I then continued to get off and get on different trains until I was headed in the right direction. Once I thought I would stop near my desired destination, the train I was on passed it and continued to another part of Brooklyn. I had finally had enough of being on the subway and went out into the night.
Stupid, stupid me.
Thankfully, the GPS on my iPod told me where I needed to go, but I had a long, lonely walk ahead of me in darkness, being passed by many formidable strangers. As I walked, great panic struck my heart. I began to talk to God, asking Him for comfort.
Call your mom.
I blushed in the dark, feeling as if I should be responsible and mature enough to do this on my own. I shouldn’t have to call my mother every time I panic.
Call your mom.
I was almost crying now because of anxiety, finally giving in to pulling out my phone and calling my mother. The moment her voice greeted me on the other end, my heart melted and I desperately wanted to sob but didn’t think such an act of vulnerability would be wise considering my present surroundings. I told her what was wrong and just asked that she talk to me while I walked, so that I wouldn’t feel so incredibly frightened and alone. She spoke cheerfully and told me about her day. She asked me about my day. She talked about this blog. Before I knew it, I was only a block from campus.
She talked with me until I reached my dorm. Then (as if she knew exactly what I needed) she prayed with me over the phone, and the tension in my muscles evaporated and I was once again overcome by the exhaustion of the day.
I at least can say that, while I never want to experience fright or discomfort like I did today ever again, I am so tired that I will have no problem with going to sleep earlier tonight.
God sure has a sense of humor 🙂