I get bus anxiety. I suppose it stems from my limited riding experience. To put it in perspective, I got my driver’s permit at 16 years old and was cruising myself and my friends all over Long Island by the age of 17. My father would gas up “my” car every few days for those 11 years (not joking) until I moved out of the house at age 26. I never pumped gas before that. And even then, living in Ridgewood, Queens, I had wheels. My father upgraded his Hyundai and gave me his “old” Hyundai Elantra so I could get around (but really to visit him and my mother).

I rode the bus on few occasions in the Ridgewood days. Sometimes I would weigh the fear-factor – riding the bus vs. parallel parking in downtown Brooklyn. The bus won sometimes. In other instances – say when I was planning on having cocktails– I’d chance the bus instead of an extra hour on the subway.

As a Rockawegian, I’ve been riding the bus more frequently – about three times a month. Matt takes the car to work, so I don’t have a choice sometimes.

I have several bus anxiety triggers. Getting on the bus and not having enough money on my metrocard is a primary concern. To deal with this issue, I’m forced to bring $5.50 in change pre-counted and separated into two pockets – for safe measure. The new select bus service machine is very scary to me. My first encounter with THE MACHINE went horribly wrong.  I thought it dispensed Metrocards. A nice gentleman waiting at the stop explained and helped me get my ticket. In the nick of time, I hopped on the Q22. Bus in motion, I presented my ticket to the driver and he gave me the “raised eyebrow”. “That’s for the express.” I was baffled. The bus driver sensed my confusion, realized I was bus ignorant and didn’t kick me off, thank the good Lord.

High level fears include missing the stop. If I’m taking the bus off the peninsula, I track my location on my phone so I know exactly where to get off. I thought this was pretty witty but 6 months ago,  I was on the bus and it blew right by my stop. I ended up in a part of Brooklyn that could’ve been a Class M planet the Enterprise was about probe. I called Matt right away, panicky and he said “Did you forget to request a stop?”  “No, the stop was on the route” I told him. I learned then that if passengers aren’t waiting to board at a designated bus stop, the bus doesn’t stop. In the past, I guess I just go lucky. Then there’s the back door. I hate it. It’s really hard to open. I fear the bus driver won’t see me pushing it to get off. He’ll start driving away and I will fly out into traffic and die.

Lesser fears, annoyances and social editique… It’s hard to walk on a moving bus.  It takes me a while to get all my quarters in the machine, so the bus starts moving while I’m still standing. 3pm is the most annoying time to take the bus, I learned. The school kids get out and the bus is chaotic. It’s so crowded I’m afraid I won’t get out of my seat in time to exit at my stop. Lastly (I should know better) I learned it’s weird to check your lipstick on the bus and then take a selfie. But I had to for the sake of this column.

Readers, you may be thinking just Uber or take a Lyft.  Well, my mother tells me I could get abducted and killed and left for dead somewhere (probably in the Class M section of Brooklyn) if I “take one of those”, so I don’t Uber alone. I know it’s a bit irrational but every time I go to pull up the app, I see an SUV episode flash through my mind followed by my mother’s voice “DON’T TAKE THE CHANCE PAULA… DUN DUN!”.

Lucky for me it’s biking weather now. For the summer anyway, I should be able to avoid the bus and all the unpleasantries it brings.


Emotional Support Peacock – DFD

Previously published in The Wave.

We’ve had a handful of exotic visitors this year in Rockaway. Over the winter, the Snowy Owl spent a couple of months relaxing in Breezy Point. Several seals hit the beach recently, beating the summer crowds no doubt. In April, two dolphins joined a group of surfers at the line-up for a swim. Rockaway attracts the extraordinary and seemingly is a landing pad for the kooky and creative – humans and animals alike. So when my friend Matt Johnson posted a picture of a peacock at Rockaway Roasters, I thought “There’s a peacock down for the day (DFD). The summer season is upon us.”


@dexerthepeacok visits the beach and Rockaway goes-wild.” Matt’s instagram photo is humorously captioned.

I asked Matt about his reaction when he spotted the colorful, 5 ft long fowl. Birds of a feather, his reaction was similar to mine. “I was having a lazy morning after a late night out, watching the parade of people and pets through the coffee shop window. At one point I looked up from my phone and saw a peacock staring back at me from the other side of the glass. Weirdly, I wasn’t even that startled – I immediately assumed it must be Dexter, since I’d read about him getting kicked off a flight on social media over the winter and have friends who have seen him strolling around Bushwick.”

Matt was right. This was the same peacock that was denied a seat (paid for and all) on a United Airlines flight out of Newark bound for LA in late January. Dexter’s caretaker, artist Ventiko told the airlines the fowl was an emotional support animal but that didn’t fly with authorities. Forced to take the long road, Dexter and friends drove cross country to LA. Ventiko documented the journey gaining over 16k instagram followers (@dexterthepeacock).

The incident struck up a heated debate on social media about what constitutes an emotional support animal.

I wanted to know if Matt had a chance to speak with artist Ventiko.  “I didn’t really get to have a conversation with Ventiko – Dexter’s entourage was hustling into an Uber [I wonder how that went?!] for the next leg of their journey – but I did compliment Dexter and said to her that it’s always nice to meet a celebrity. She replied, ‘Of course *he’s* the celebrity. *I’m* not the celebrity.’”


Photo courtesy of Rockaway Rosters employee Hector-Tabora

I contacted Ventiko, eager to hear more about  Dexter’s Rockaway adventure. I learned he was just down for the day but Ventiko responded “…We would love to! …we will be back soon to create magic with @anyaferring. Perhaps we can coordinate a get together?” Next time Dexter hitches a ride to Rockaway Beach, we’re going to meet, for an official interview. Stay tuned!

tagged in animals, birds

Yoga in the Garden


The Beach 91st Street Garden will be hosting a FREE yoga glass. Everyone is welcome. Please bring your own mat (there will be a few extras just incase someone doesn’t have one) Bring water, wear comfortable clothing and please let us know if there are any injuries or anything the instructor should be aware of.

They kindly ask before class if you are not a garden member to fill out a waiver.

If anyone would like to donate to the garden you may on the day of the event or here: https://www.gofundme.com/b91garden

A big thank you to garden member and instructor Dana Healy!

grams of the week

Here’s a recap of the best instagrams of last week. If you want the day to day follow me here!

john the cat sleeping

It’s Monday. How many of us wish we could still be under the covers like Johnny?

tomato sprouts

I’m growing mini glorified tomatoes! I haven’t grown veggies from seeds in years. It’s so much fun watching them grow. Now, I have much more invested in these baby plants!

toliet rockaway beach

I spied this red seated toilet under the el by the Surf Club. I had to post it!

The Finally Burger Cuisine By Claudette

Finally, I’ve tried Cuisine By Claudette’s new veggie burger – The Finally Burger. Guys… It’s legit! First off, it tastes very burger like; its juicy, unlike many veggie burgers I’ve had, often dry. The Finally burger is huge, so when you order it, be hungry. Check out other eats on Cuisine By Claudette new website. They deliver too!


tagged in instagram