NYC: Day 1
A rough day indeed.
I am in New York and it is very sad. I took the bus down yesterday. The ride was fine until we got into the city and hit marathon traffic. Stop and go, stop and go. I could have walked faster, biked faster.
AT LEAST there were some hotties on the bus. At least. The girl across the aisle from me with a delicate profile and great brows. She looked like her family immigrated from Europe more recently than mine. As if you could tell. (Though I have noticed: in NYC, none of the hotties speak English.)
She did research the whole ride. Snooping at her laptop screen — what else is there to do on a five hour bus ride? — I was inspired to Wikipedia the Internet of Things. And I did learn.
The best, the truest love came when she took out a tupperware of salad and ate with just the front tongs of a broken plastic fork. Bitches be efficient. I had felt haughty and superior when we stopped at a Burger King earlier and I spent my time stretching and jogging around the drive-thru.
I packed more food than clothes for my trip to New York. Granola bars and Halloween candy and homemade banana ginger cookies. An apple, an orange, chili lime cashews. But damn did that salad smell delicious.
The other hottie sat right behind her. A jockey boy in all gray sweats. When we were leaving the bus he put his hand over mine. I don’t know if it was an accident or not. But he didn’t move it.
We were finally released at 34th and 8th, in front of the New Yorker, the Tick Tock Diner, the place in New York I am most familiar. I hustled through the streets with the aggression that seems so inappropriate in Seattle. I found myself a subway. And soon I was in quiet, lovely Astoria.
Friends, beloved friends were waiting for me. Offered me cookies and the latest and greatest in YouTube twerk videos. We updated each other on existence. I spoke last, figuring there would be time for everything. First up: Banksy, Halloween, people from high school who recently overdosed.
I was hungry; I was given maple whiskey. So I sipped and I listened and, eventually, found myself at Sugarsomething, a Southern, New Orleans-style restaurant a la Maxie’s. I got the muffaletta, ate half, and saved the rest for my forthcoming biking (mis)adventures. And lo, but did I prefer it mushed, soggy, cold, congealed, eaten in Brooklyn sunshine on someone else’s stoop.
At dinner it was, finally, my turn to speak. Haltingly I shared my life of bikes, restaurant management, Greek food, getting laid. Writing is easier. When I speak I feel like I’m taking up too much space.
The next morning I saw no one. The apartment is big enough for three people to prepare for their days uninterrupted. I had a house key. I had a bike. I had ultimate freedom. The bike, though, was not my own and the seat was comically low. My knees scraped the ground and my helmet bobbled like an overripe tomato on the vine. But I was biking! In New York City! On a dedicated bike lane!
I stopped at the first bike shop I saw. They raised the seat and removed the rust — all for free, like in Seattle. I don’t understand the bike economy but I love it. I even got a NY bike map to hang on my wall at home.
Then my war with Google Maps began. I typed in Williamsburg, thinking of thrift shops and Americanos and artisanal donuts. I found myself surrounded by hasids and brownstones. Searched some more and biked an hour south into fried chicken and Checks Cashed Here. Ate my muffaletta; north again. Around and around and around.
I cut off too many cars, ran too many red lights. I biked in concentric circles, ever tighter. And then my phone fell out of my pocket and a bus ran it over.
Even then I was not afraid. I have a life proof case! I thought. Buses are a part of life! I thought.
That is when I gave up on the day I wanted to have.
I didn’t cry. Holding it in hurt my throat so badly I could barely speak. I tried to ask for directions but could only squawk. I was lost in New York City. I biked over the Williamsburg bridge to a Sprint store in Manhattan. They wouldn’t help me. I took a subway three stops north to a Sprint store in Chelsea. They wouldn’t help me. (despite insurance, despite warrantee, despite life proof case.) That’s when I started to cry. That’s when I called home: dontworryimfineBUT
I was advised to go to the Apple store. A few blocks up, a few blocks left. It was busy. I waited across the street at a diner — The Diner — where I occupied myself with watery milkshake and watery coffee and writing all this in my neatest script. As the caffeine hit my bloodstream my mood improved. I started smiling at strangers, and continued once I noticed how confused and uncomfortable everyone seemed to feel. Look at me! my smile shouted. I’m friendly! I may or may not be a murderer!
Two hours and $300 later, I had a new phone. Same as the old one, minus my music and notes. I found the bike. I found my friends. I went out for delicious ramen (with poached egg and pork belly and kimchi) and later had hot whiskey cider. Over noodles and booze we shared our shitty November 4ths. My friends had not fared much better than I. One lost half a tooth (really a filling but what are teeth but fillings these days) and the same happened to a friend of hers in a different state. Of course I blame Mercury for everything.
I went to bed drained, sated, hopeful for tomorrow.