Stupid girl

23 02 2009

I knew it was wrong. Don’t do it.

That’s what my gut said (in translation): don’t do it.

I did.

Nothing major, and it all turned out fine. But I did something that I knew, even as I was making the decision to to do this—that is, before I actually did the stupid thing—was the wrong decision.

I took the train east instead of west.

Backstory: I live in lovely Lefferts Garden. My friends, who live in Bushwick, invited me over to watch the Oscars. (No, I don’t really care about the Oscars, but it’s been awhile since I’d seen E. & T.) Even on a good day, the trek to their apartment is. . . not direct. The easiest route is to head into Manhattan, then grab a different train back into Brooklyn. This weekend, however, the trains are rather more messed up than usual, so while I was able to reconfigure my route on the way to their apartment, I was reluctant to follow that same path back to my place.

Hence the bad decision. I knew the Brooklyn-Manhattan-Brooklyn route would take forever, so sought less indirect route. HopStop (the handy-dandy public transport site) suggested a particular train-bus route. Okey-doke.

Only what sounds reasonable at, say, 5 in the afternoon, is somewhat less so after midnight. I took the train east, got out, got turned around, eventually found my way to the bus stop, discovered I’d just missed the bus (which I would have made, had I not gotten turned around. . .), and proceeded to wait twenty or so minutes for the next bus.

Hm. Where am I? I look at the bus map. Cypress Hill? Ocean Hill? I look at my handy-dandy Brooklyn NFT map. Maybe Ocean Hill. Or. . . ohhhh, shit. Brownsville.

Brownsville and East New York are the worst neighborhoods, crime-wise, in New York. I know this, knew that by taking the train east I would be skirting (I thought) these neighborhoods, but thought, what the hell, I gotta know.

So there I was, standing at a bus stop on a windy night, watching the trash blow by. And no, I wasn’t much comforted by the frequent police drive-bys.

I don’t like to pile on so-called bad neighborhoods. Kids grow up in these neighborhoods, adults go to work, there are schools, grocery stores, etc. If a five-year-old can go to kindergarten in a bad neighborhood, I can catch a bus.

Then again, those five-year-olds are not usually standing around a wind-swept street after midnight.

Everything was fine, of course. The bus came, I got on, I got off, I walked home.

But as I was standing, waiting, I was wondering why I was so insistent on taking this route home. Sure, the Manhattan run would take time, but I’d be waiting on a peopled train platform. Inside. With lights. What’s a little lateness compared to safety?

I don’t understand why I do this, why I make what I know to be the wrong decision. I don’t regret the big decisions—too much is at stake, mental-health-wise, to second guess, say, a move to NYC without a job waiting—but the small ones I gnaw to the nibs. Perhaps these stupid choices are a way of inoculating myself against future regret: If I make this wrong decision this time, I won’t always be wondering (against my gut) if it wasn’t really the better decision.

Sigh. No, I guess that doesn’t make much sense; I’m trying to make sense where there isn’t any.

But I know I’ll keep doing this, I’ll keep jumping when I should have crouched, and it’d be nice to have a reason for such unreason.