My Eternal Sunshine Moment in Coney Island

You’ve seen the movie, right?  Jim Carey and Kate Winslet as the dysfunctional Joel and Clementine.  There’s a scene at the very beginning of the film where Jim Carey is about to hop on the train to go to work, but at the very last second, he jumps on a train to Montauk instead…in the dead of winter.

That was me yesterday, except I don’t have an actual job to skip and Coney Island is no Montauk.  Plus, I’m not nearly as awesome as Jim Carey.

To start at the beginning, I woke up in the morning feeling restless and gloomy.  My “real” job doesn’t start until mid-January so I have a lot of time on my hands.  I usually go into my brother’s office and help out with writing and editing on the week days, but even that didn’t seem to be enough for me yesterday.  My dad once quoted the phrase: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”  I can definitely see how bad decisions could form when you’re bored enough, and we’ve all had our fair share of those, so jumping on a train to deserted Coney Island instead of bustling Tribeca seemed like a good alternative.  Just impulsive enough (It’s not exactly the nicest part of town in the winter, even without all the damage from the hurricane), and I’ve really missed the ocean terribly since moving back from Honolulu, so I thought, Beach day….why not?

There were twelve long stops on the N train and some panic before I actually arrived.  I started to get a little nervous when I found myself all alone after the last rider hopped off at 86th street.  The automated voice said “Next stop: Coney Island”, and I quickly stuffed my headphones into my purse and zipped up my sweater (It was a warm day for December). Suddenly, the train came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the track just moments after the stop was announced, and I thought “Oh my god, I’m going to be stuck inside this train, all alone, halfway between 86th street and Coney Island forever.”  The train jerked forward again, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Then it halted again.  This time for longer.  I rolled my eyes.  Was this my punishment for being ungrateful for the day that was originally planned out for me?  Maybe I was destined to sit in an office staring at a computer screen on this particular Monday, and I just messed the whole thing up.

Finally, the doors opened, and I burst out onto the warm concrete.  Toto, you’re not in Hawaii anymore.

The streets of Coney Island were covered in garbage and most of the shops and restaurants were closed.  Nathan’s Hot Dogs had a sign up that read “After 100 years, we aren’t going to let a hurricane get us down!  We’re rebuilding!”

I began to really question if this was the dumbest idea I’ve ever had, which would be an impressive title in itself.  I started to walk briskly in a direction that seemed, well, like it couldn’t get any worse.  I didn’t see any clear paths that led towards an Atlantic Ocean, but I did see a still roller coaster in the distance so I made that my destination.  Once I arrived at the closed-down amusement park, I was relieved to find a trail of sand that finally brought me to the boardwalk.  The ocean did look beautiful and I had the urge to run and jump in, but don’t worry, I’m not that crazy.  Instead, I strolled along the water’s edge in my boots that were definitely NOT made for walking on sand.  I picked up some seashells and thought about stuffing them in my purse and bringing them home to my roommate as a souvenir from my adventure, but I decided against it. No one needs dirty sand sitting at the bottom of their bag.  Eventually, I settled down on a bench where I knew I could take some great pictures, and I sat there contently with my headphones in.   Before I left (which didn’t take long, because even when I’m enjoying something I have a hard time sitting still) I pulled out my phone and sent Mel a text that said, “Guess what I did today instead of going to work?”  to which she replied:

“Oh My God, interview Jennifer Lawrence?!?!”  

…My day didn’t seem so cool anymore after reading that, but my long stroll along the deserted sand in the dead of winter did make me feel almost as awesome as Jim Carey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Coney Island
Coney Island

4 responses to “My Eternal Sunshine Moment in Coney Island”

  1. Aww, your adventure (and this blog!) are just as awesome as interviewing Jennifer Lawrence!! You had a great life experience, and that’s all that’s needed on a gloomy day. Wish I could have skipped work and joined you! ❤


  2. I liked hearing about your adventure, but I would have liked it even better if your “sunshine moment” hadn’t been bracketed with references to Jim Carey (whoever he is…sorry!) and the movie world! So many of us don’t have a clue about what living through that storm was like, and hearing about the aftermath, from the point of view of a casual observer coming upon it suddenly, is pretty powerful…. Jackie


  3. I feel so superior for knowing who Jim Carey is…I think it was very gutsy of you to take off into the unknown bowels of Brooklyn on your own and walk the deserted beaches. A girl like you, so beautiful, should have a boyfriend to walk the beaches with. I confess that I worry about you in that city so full of ‘diverse’ experiences. I like this piece of writing. It’s got voive, I mean verve.


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