Saturday, March 7, 2009

FYI - Do not Travel From Woodside to West Hempstead

Last week I was surprised to discover that Q was up from NC and staying with her Mom for the month. So when she called to invite me out for a visit I leapt at the chance for some good eats and an old fashioned girlie sleepover.
Q instructed me to meet her late Saturday afternoon at her family’s Deli in West Hempstead and since the train stopped directly in front of their door it would be an easy peasy trip on the ol’ LIRR. Saturday came , I packed my overnight bag with PJ’s and some dirty laundry (even at 38 I still live like a college kid)and I headed off to the Woodside LIRR station for my 40 min ride to West Hempstead (or so I thought). From Woodside my first stop was Jamaica and when we arrived there were 3 trains already waiting to take on their transfers. I spotted the Hempstead train 2 platforms away but as I turned to climb the stairs of the overpass the loud speaker announced “Last Call For The Train To Hempstead” – CRAP! I ran across the overpass then down the other side, leapt into the awaiting train and popped down into a seat as the conductor rattled off the list of stops. Hmmmm I don’t think he said West Hempstead? I asked the other east bound travelers if the train stopped in West Hempstead, they looked at me with wide eyes and yelled out “NO!”. “Ding – Stand Clear of the closing Doors Please”. Yikes! I grabbed my bag and flew through the closing train doors. Turns out from Jamaica you take the Long Beach train to Valley Stream then take the West Hempstead train to …. West Hempstead. So I waited the 20 minutes for the LB train then another 15 minutes in Valley Stream and finally I arrived at West Hempstead.
After exiting the train it all looked odd to me. I hadn’t been to the Deli in about 10 years but NOTHING looked familiar. I walked a few yards to the next large intersection and I was totally confused (and freezing cold). Ok no big deal I’ll just call Q and have her point me in the right direction.
G: Hi Q I just got off the train, which way do I walk?
Q: What? You are here now? I don’t see the train.
G: Yeah I just got off the train in the front. I am standing next to a really seedy hotel and some gas stations.
Q: Where are you?
G: (Louder and slower) I just got off the train in West Hempstead and I’m on the corner of Hempstead Ave.

Q: Hold on. (faintly I hear her ask, “Is this station West Hempstead? What? Oh it’s not? What is the station right here? Oh it is? Oh.) Um G yeah you should have gone to Lake View not West Hempstead. I know I said West Hempstead but I meant that’s where the Deli is. Do you know where Lake View is?
G: Yeah Q (now rather annoyed, her family has owned this Deli for like 35 years) Lake View is two stops back I’m at the LAST stop in West Hempstead.
Q: Um Ok just stay there and I can leave in about 45 min. to get you.
G: WHAT?? I am not standing out here for almost an hour, you’re kidding right?
After a quick exchange of words Q decided that she better pick me up ASAP. I in turn headed to the closest gas station and convinced the attendant that it would be totally OK for me to hang out in the shop. There I stood glued to the window of the service shop waiting for Q to pass by in about 5 min. After 10 minutes I called to check in on her, she said she knew where she was going and rushed me off the phone. After waiting almost a half hour Q arrived. She informed me that she had driven 2 train stops WEST – not EAST like I told her. Really Q… really? Why am I not surprised. As I directed her BACK to the deli she was pleasantly surprised to discover that my gas station haven was located on the same street as her deli, just two traffic lights away.
Edited for time:
The hookah in the shop
My gas attendant’s love of Britney Spears
The constant threat that my sweet candy ass would be sold to the next car load of “full serve” Armenian customers.

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