Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Gotham

I'm back to the land of grey skies and polite people. Hi Seattle!


Here is what I have to say about my trip to New York.

There are two things I love in life. Well, more than two, obviously, but in the long list of things I love, these two would be near the tippiest top of the list. One! Walking. Two! Art of all kinds. You know what New York is all about? Walking and art of all kinds. Nordic Boy has this same list of loves, but also has a third thing, and that is buildings, parks, bridges. Man made structures, if you will. We were in hog heaven. I get annoyed with the New Yorkers who are all "nothing but nothing is better than New York and anyplace else might as well be a festering boil on a donkey's ass" but goddamn it. It's got things I love so much it hurts. So FINE.

Relatedly, I always find it a little annoying when New Yorkers brag about the quality of their bagels. Yes, YES, you have better bagels than everywhere else, we HEAR YOU. Yet what was the first thing we did when we woke up that first morning? Get our asses to Absolute Bagels. And stood in a long line. Because oh my god. Bagel bliss.

You know how, in tv shows that are set in New York, people are always somehow running into people they know everywhere? Like in Seinfeld, or Sex in the City, or Friends (and yes I can make a reference that is less than 5 years old but just not right now)? I always feel sort of skeptical about that. In all of those masses of people, like you are really going to keep running into crazy Joe Davola everywhere? What EVS. Biogirl and I used to work together when we were in college, and we had this cuckoo boss. Let's call her Rowena. After we both quit that job, we always wondered what would happen on the day that we run into Rowena somewhere. It's sort of bound to happen, right? We dreaded the awkwardness that would ensue. We had the same social circle as Rowena at one time, and we frequent the same sorts of places, and Seattle ain't that big. This was over 10 years ago, and we have never run into Rowena. Ever. So in New York? People are running into each other everywhere? Well, as it turns out, I found that they do. First of all, Nordic Boy and I kept running into my friend Linda everywhere we went. Linda was in town from Seattle to attend Book Expo (as was I), but we saw her everywhere. We were walking in Central Park- hey Linda! And walking near Madison Square Garden- there's Linda! It was buh-nay-nuts. Also, the first day I went to Book Expo (which was attended by about 20,000 people, no lie), I looked up and who was walking by me but E. Lockhart. Ms. Lockhart is the fine author of one of my all-time favorite teen books, and I got the chance to eat dinner with her a couple of months ago when she came to my liberry. So although I don't know her, I sort of know her. Anyway, I chatted with her and she was awesome because she remembered me (or she was awesome because she pretended really well to remember me; I will accept either one as a testament to awesomeness). Then! As I was walking around the joint, I stopped at the Minnesota University Press booth to snag a free copy of the new Ellen Willis book. The rep at the booth and I had a 10 minute conversation about the book, and Ellen, and suchlike. The whole time, I was thinking: do I know you, booth guy? I think I know you. I had a name tag the size of a saucer on a lanyard around my neck (so stylish) stating my full name and where I was from, so I figured if I knew this dude, he could clearly see my name and hence recognize me. He had no such name billboard on his person. I walked away from that conversation and later it clicked. Biogirl's friend from when she lived in California, who I am now friends with too, in a Facebook sort of way: that was that lady's husband. Who I met many times when visiting Biogirl in California, and hung out with, and got into hijinks with. I wanted to be mad that he didn't remember me, but I didn't remember him really either so I guess that wouldn't be fair.

THE POINT IS. I ran into people I knew among the throngs of people in New York. So maybe it makes sense that Carrie keeps running into Big and Aidan everywhere.

Nordic Boy and I also felt super proud of ourselves for accidentally showing up at Moma during their free-admission night. Ha ha! Saving money! We then promptly went to their cafe and ordered a lemonade and an apple cider and didn't look at the prices and paid $20 for that. Rookie mistake.

Trump Tower is gaudy, y'all. I know, this is shocking news.

There were some celebrity sightings, which are totally boring, but let me just tell you one. Ok, two. I saw Mrs. Brady. And that lady is so short and tiny, you guys. And her head is really big. That is not a nice thing to say, but I just have to. Also, Mike Holmes. The only reason that one is interesting (if you even know who he is at all, which likely you may not) is that he was walking down a Manhattan street totally dressed in his get-up- the one he wears on his show. I always wonder with people who wear the same thing on their show all the time: do they dress like that every day? Like, did Captian Kangaroo wear that red jacket to go to the Olive Garden or Kmart or anything? Well, Mike Holmes is committed to his outfit. I just want you to know that.

Speaking of Kmart, Nordic Boy was totally fascinated with the entrance to Kmart in the subway. Like, in an out-of-proportional way. Leave it to a midwest kid to be that impressed with a Kmart.

We saw The Motherfucker with the Hat, which was good, except for the Motherfucker with the unsilent cell phone sitting right behind us. THREE TIMES. The cell phone rang three separate times.

When we saw How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, there was a row of teen girls behind us that were having the straight up vapors over Daniel Radcliffe. Like I thought there might be fainting. And whenever there was cause to clap at the end of a song, these girls screamed so loud that it blew our hair forward. I didn't know that humans could make sounds that loud. Turns out, the powerful mix of Harry Potter and teen girl hormones is a magical amplification system.

Best New York moment: a sunny day, in front of a beautiful little cafe. Tables are set up on the sidewalk, people are eating. Things are happy. An old woman wearing a bedazzled headwrap and Sophia Loren sunglasses walks by and loudly says, to no one in particular: "I don't know WHY we have to always have this kind of SHIT right on the sidewalk. GAWD."

Saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wanted to lick the clothes.

Also wandered in to the Cooper Hewitt design museum, which was showing an exhibit of Van Cleef and Arpels gigantic brooches and other ridiculous jewels. The crowd in the museum was even better to look at than the exhibit. It was like me and Nordic Boy were lost in a sea of Mrs. Howells.

Going to New York can kind of wig me out a little bit, seeing as how I spent the first 20 years of my life basically being told I was going to end up living there by all of my mentors. Then I did live there for dance school for a while, and when I left, it was only for a breif period- at least that's what I thought at the time. It was like my adulthood was geographically a given in my mind until I was about 20 years old. I never thought to picture myself anywhere else. The vision of my future adulthood that I always had in my head as a kid was me living my life in New York. No one questioned that around me, and the adults in my world actively steered me in this direction, so I didn't question it either. So when I go there now, it can feel strange. To be so far from what I was literally trained to be. I don't have regrets about where my life has ended up- I am happy with who I am now and how I've chosen to do something totally different. But being there, especially in certain specific spots (Lincoln Center is particularly ouchie, for example), it's not regret I feel, but it's something equally uncomfortable. A queasy feeling in my stomach, and sometimes a little mist in my eyeball area. Who was that kid that I used to be? Where did that all go? Whatever the answer, there is no going back. And that can be hard to process for me. I don't think I have ever reconciled that for myself. I don't think I'm supposed to.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled Seattle-ness.

8 comments:

Marty J. Christopher said...

I completely agree with you about NYC. I love it, but I hate the attitude. It's sooooo ridiculous. I also hate how damn small everything is! I am 5'10 and wear a size 10 shoe. I feel like King Kong maneuvering the city.

Marie said...

I went to New York for the first time last spring and thought it was just lovely. I loved walking everywhere and just taking int he sights.
I had my own celerity sighting too! I saw Obama! Well, I saw his motorcade go by. We were too impatient to wait to see him leave the building he was in. The snipers all around were pretty cool though!

Librarian Girl said...

Marie, you are an official badass. Snipers all around are pretty cool? I am impressed with you.

dizz said...

"I wanted to lick the clothes" = me snorting tea out of my nose. It's a good look...

urbaninfogirl said...

"...lost in a sea of Mrs. Howells" is probably the best thing I've read in weeks. That's some good imagery right there and I thank you for it.

-R- said...

I like that Mike Holmes sticks to the uniform. That makes me happy for some reason.

Matt said...

What a great post. Another one that sneaks up on you. Lots of fun, lighthearted, two-mice-in-a-basket-of-cheese stuff and then the last paragraph pulls back the existential veil and we are forced to peer into the maw of...of...whatever that is...our indenture to time, the YouCantGoBackness. I get that. I was never hell-bent for NY, but I was the Pulitzer Prize winner-to-be long before I knew what that was, and sometimes I wonder what happened. Extra points to you for not using the phrase "Big Apple".

Cathy said...

I love NYC also AND made the same mistake at the MOMA, a $10 diet coke! Made me smile to read your article, but particularly that comment :)