New York, New York


OK, so it’s been too long since I wrote. You can either:

1. Sue me.

2. Ask for a refund of your blog subscription. Heck, I’ll even give you DOUBLE what you paid for it.

I was quite busy getting ready for a business trip to New York City. Yes, that New York City. The big one. Way up north.

During a successful whirlwind trip to tell folks how great our hospital is, I made a few observations. I know that will shock you, since I’m typically so unobservant and reticent to share.

First, it’s still very cold in New York in late March. Those tiny sting-y things were ice pellets, with a side of snowflakes. Ewww.

Second, cab drivers in New York City aren’t crazy. They’ve gone waaaay past crazy. Far beyond stark-raving mad. They’ve left insane in the rear-view mirror. I can’t decide if they’re suicidal or homicidal. Or both, simultaneously.

Years ago, I met a new friend in L.A., a fellow editor gainfully employed as a bigshot at Los Angeles Magazine. She was a lovely person, quite sane and smart and funny and rational. (Hi, Helene.) Or at least I thought so, until I got in the car with her. Then she turned into a whirling dervish of madness, zipping around and beeping her horn and zooming here and there. In L.A., no less. Eight lanes of traffic at a standstill, and somehow we’re zipping down the road anyway. Amazing.

Turns out she grew up in New York City, and her dad was a bona fide “medallion” cab driver. I mean, these guys deserve Special Forces recognition. She learned the art from him. Kind of like learning to sketch while sitting at the right hand of da Vinci.

(My friend is really still quite sane and smart and funny and rational. And she still drives like that, 20 years later.)

So, it’s a given that the cabbies never slow down, even when facing yawning chasms of winter potholes. Add that to the fact that I got hit by a semi truck just days before this trip, and you begin to understand how my three days went. Thank goodness for meds.

I kept desperately hoping that each cab we entered would suddenly explode with flashing lights and music, then the driver would turn around, and it would be Ben Bailey saying, “You’re in the Cash Cab!” Then he would ask us trivia questions for the duration of our ride, and we would win money by answering them all, and we would appear in perpetuity on Discovery Channel at 2 a.m. every Saturday morning.

I was sure we’d win, because I was accompanied by two very smart people, and because I have a lot of useless factoid flotsam and jetsam in my head.

(Flotsam: floating debris from a shipwreck. Jetsam: ship cargo thrown overboard on purpose. See? We’d win!)

Alas, no Cash Cab for us.

However, we did get to go to several trendy, hip and cool restaurants, including Buddakan, which was reportedly in the first “Sex and the City” movie. Haven’t seen it, but now I’m going to Netflix it, so I can pause it and say dramatically, “Well, the last time I was in New York and at Buddakan…”

Yes, I know what you’re wondering: “How did Holloway get in to those trendy, hip and cool restaurants?” It’s OK… I was wondering that myself for a while.

Fortunately, those two smart people I was with were also trendy, hip and cool, and they browbeat the maître d’ at each place until he caved in and let me pass.

Our hotel was also quite lovely and hip and urban. Unfortunately, being as how it still gets cold in New York in March, they were still running the heat in all of the rooms. Heavy heat. Hot heat. Steaming heat. Heat with absolutely no obedience to that little box on the wall with the numbers on it.

The hotel engineer’s solution? Open the windows. Of course, being a hotel with a legal department, the windows only opened a few inches. Hmmm. It wasn’t enough space to actually make a dent in the heat wave. It was, however, enough space to allow the endless din of a thousand trucks, cabs and drunk tourists to pour into the room in an endless stream of noise vomit.

On hour No. 3 of trying to sleep in the sauna that was Room 3606, I became desperate. I started to let my mind wander, which is seldom a good thing and which one day will result in my mind wandering off for good, never to be seen again.

I figured that maybe if I opened the door and swung it back and forth from hand to hand a bunch of times real fast, it would create a backdraft that would miraculously suck a massive wave of cool air into the room through the three-inch slit in the windows. (It’s not my fault I never took a meteorology class in college.)

Yes! Genius! So I dash to the door, whip it open and commence to flinging it back and forth. Swing! Swing! Swing! Swing!

This one time, I missed catching it with my left hand, since in my haste I had forgotten to put on my glasses. I don’t think the large crash as the door hit the closet mirror woke up everyone on the hall, just the people on my side.

So, I’m standing in my doorway, sweaty, winging the door to and fro, when I hear the stairwell door open. It’s some poor business dude, coming in late. Squinting hard, I can tell that he’s had a hard day, because he’s kind of slack-jawed and his eyes are kind of glassy and glazed-over. Poor Business Dude, I think. He must not have made that big sale.

Then I realize that perhaps, just perhaps, the fact that his expression is because he’s walked into the hall to be confronted by a tiny woman swinging her door to and fro.

“It’s OK,” I say reassuringly. “No fire! It’s just hot in my room. Real hot. Hot enough to start a fire, probably. Ha ha ha ha!”

He gives me what appears to be a weird look — I couldn’t really tell, since he was all fuzzy and blurry — mumbles something and sprints off down the hall. “Gee,” I think. “He’s not from the South. Could’ve at least said ‘hi.’ ” Then I remember, charitably, that he’s probably had that bad day, and I turn to wave at him in case he looks back.

That’s when I realize: when I had dozed off into a heat-induced coma during those first three hours in the room, I had apparently shed my PJs in a desperate attempt to survive.

Uh, oh.

Poor Business Dude has walked into the hall to be confronted by a tiny woman swinging her door to and fro — wearing no PJs.

That obviously accounted for the slack jaw and the glassy eyes. I hope he’d had a lot to drink that night at his Business Dude dinner. If not, I’ll bet he will from now on.

All in all, it was an eventful trip. Successful, too, because lots of media folks did hear about the cool stuff we’re doing at Children’s.

I also reconnected in person with a friend from way back, after initially reconnecting months ago via Facebook. (Hi, Marjorie.) It was wonderful, warm and easy like Sunday morning.

I have decided that I’m never going back to New York City without taking along my colleague who put this trip together. (Hi, Allison.) Seriously. Even on vacation, she’ll have to go. She’ll just have to abandon her husband and kids for a while, because I can’t imagine experiencing NYC without her. If Attila the Hun had her organizing his affairs, the Battle of Châlons would have been a different story.

I mean, how else will I ever get into Buddakan?

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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