Leave it to me - someone who bragged about my rather detailed plan for contingency commuting - to mess it all up somehow.
I leave my apartment and find an actual real live yellow taxi out on the street (instead of the ubiquitous livery cabs). I hail it and ask for the G.W. Bridge bus terminal. Along the way I see a woman waiting at a bus stop and decide to tell the cabbie to let her in. Turns out she's headed pretty far downtown as well. I tell her my plan, and she decides to join me instead of meandering her way downtown otherwise. Unfortunately, at the bus terminal, we missed one Hoboken bus, and - not recalling my N.J. geography too well - decide that we can get on a Hackensack bus that had just arrived, which I stupidly assume will get us nearly as close. I later realize that I was confusing Hackensack with Weehawken, which is actually rather close to Hoboken. Oops!
I felt really bad, but she seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing. So we got off on West Main Street in the town of Bogota (pronounced like Americans would, not like Colombians do, as I learn from a woman in the convenience store) and call a car to take us to Hoboken. Turns out it would be too expensive to do that, so the jaded but chatty and thoughtful driver drops us off at the Rutherford train station instead, where we catch a NJTransit train within a few minutes. Two stops later, we're finally in Hoboken, where we catch separate PATH trains and head back into Manhattan. So I spent more money that I'd like, but I made a new friend. And if I have to do it all again tomorrow, I'll get it right this time and more cheaply.
UPDATE: The ride home went as planned, except it took 2.5 hours! I'm officially tired of this strike.