On Monday morning, after a long night of not-quite-sleep reminiscent of being 8 and waiting for Christmas morning, I hauled myself out of bed at 6. I was on the road by 7, headed north.
View Directions to Staunton, VA in a larger map
The top line, where they split, was my route going to NYC, the bottom my route home (I ultimately changed my mind on the drive home from a third route, as my guess that there might be more places to stop on US highways rather than interstates proved to be drastically wrong).
More precisely, I drove to Iselin, NJ, where there’s a big giant train station for the NJ Rail, with covered and monitored parking garages and an inexpensive train ride into the city.
At first, driving was okay. I had a new book to listen to, and was super excited.
This quickly became despondency, however, as I realized I was going to be in the car forever and might die.
After a full seven and a half hours of driving, I had learnt two important things:
1. New Jersey is AWESOME. They pump your gas for you and it’s miraculously much cheaper than every surrounding state, and their roads are very nice. The single toll I had to pay at any point was a mere $.75 to cross a bridge into NJ (just that direction, too).
2. I have been lying when I say I don’t hate driving so much anymore.
However, I fucking love trains. They take you places with an extremely predictable route and schedule, and you don’t have to do anything but sit quietly and stare out of the window. Just being in the train station made me excited.
The ride from NJ to NYC reminded me of nothing more than the couple times I took the train out to some of the suburbs of Melbourne on exploratory missions. Parts of NJ looked distinctly like Footscray.
Once in the city, I realized that even with the traffic, I’d overcompensated for time and had to kill about an hour. This was managed with a browse through the large bookstore just outside of Penn Station, and then the subway ride down to SoHo, and a bit more shop browsing there as the pub was ridiculously easy to find.
I felt very fancy ordering a prix fixe menu, though none of it was awesome enough to warrant writing about, except the couple behind me who insisted on loudly referring to it as the Price Fix menu. Er…French, ur doin it rong.
My first impression of Kate was “Peach princess!”, and that’s what stuck with me for the gig (despite the creepy drunk man at the table next to me who shouted through the gig his enthusiasm and how much he loved her–later, his companion would regale me with a story about how she spent $4000 to fly to Adelaide to see Kate, because she wasn’t going to fly coach, you know, and couldn’t grasp the idea that the price she paid for a pair of tickets was actually slightly below average for a pair to a Kate gig).
There was very little dancing, which is saddening–I hate that she seems to think American audiences won’t enjoy her antics, but maybe she’s right. She’s so much more alive when she performs in Australia, though, to my eyes–more manic, flaily, stompy-dances. It was a great show, though, and Keir was very sweet, though the story she told about him being confused for Ben Folds was probably pretty accurate (unlike the rest of the stories, which she’s been recycling for 3+ years).
The show was sold out, so there was a massive crowd to buy her seriously under priced CDs and get them signed, so I only had a few moments to say hi and get my pilfered setlist signed before she had to leave. While I was waiting, a very nice man asked me out, which was…strange. Apparently he has a terrible habit of asking out queer girls, and was very apologetic and sweet. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually been asked out before. With Kit it all just sort of happened.
As it was apparent Kate was not going to ask me to be her groupie at this time, I started the journey home.
The train was delayed leaving Penn by about half an hour, though I was glad of it–there was a serious concern everything on that track might be cancelled for the night, so half an hour suddenly seemed like nothing. I made it back into the car and started the drive home. It was…long. There was a lot of coffee and Dr. Pepper and a moderate amount of junk food. I spent the time between 3 and 5:30 singing along loudly to Kate to keep myself awake–at one point doing only the harmonies, for the challenge of it (it proved not to be very challenging, unfortunately) and for the day when Kate decides I need to be her back-up singer.
I slept for a very long time when I got home.
My name is Ali, though sometimes it's Eliot.
I have many tumblrs, which you are welcome to also visit:
Fuck Yeah, Kate Miller-Heidke - the only active Kate fan site, which is baffling.
The Branden Rose - the only active Monster Blood Tattoo fansite, which is less baffling.
I also have a semi-successful etsy shop, which you should visit, below.
A brief history: