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.


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2 responses

24 02 2009
lucretia

We are each two people, corresponding basically to the left and right hemispheres of the brain, plus what body parts each side controls. These two people are very different, have different skills and different goals.

I know my left hemisphere thinks it knows everything; lately I’ve been trying to teach it how to shut up so it can hear the other one.

26 02 2009
absurdbeats

Hm. Do they ever communicate?

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