Monday, March 24, 2003

My Weekend in Nueva Dork

As most of you know, I met up with Robert Anderson in New York last weekend. Here’s the travel recap for your enjoyment. Oh, and those of you who know Rob: he’s undergone a spiritual conversion to the extent that he permits other people to hold the remote control. I’m as shocked as you are. Old School Robert made some brief cameos, mainly by critiquing the ass of every girl we saw.

Day 1: Getting There is Half the Aggravation

I think I will simply avoid traveling until teleportation comes into vogue. Delta Shuttle: Serving Brie While You Suffer.

My flight was scheduled for 8:30, I boarded at 8, and we sat on the tarmac for over an hour. The lady sitting next to me was my new best friend, and she offered loads of ideas on places to go in Manhattan. Unfortunately, she also realized that everywhere she suggested has gone out of business. Moreover, she fell asleep and spilled a soda on my book. Wait, she spilled MY soda on MY book.

I arrived at LaGuardia to discover that no one works at this airport. Seriously, the place was desolate. Rob’s flight was arriving at a completely different terminal in 45 minutes. I asked a random security person how to get to this mythical terminal, and a nearby pilot offered me a lackadaisical wave. He gave me a “follow” gesture, so I followed him out to the parking lot where he promptly vanished. Into thin air. I don’t think he was a real person. I decided I would walk to the other terminal, by gum, until I realized it was several miles away. I asked a man for directions, and this is when my Getting Lost superpower got crushed by my Miraculous Rescue mojo. This man was a police officer/air marshal/State Department antiterrorism expert, and he gave me a ride to the other terminal. Yes, I asked to see a badge first. And yes, he was cute, but I was too chicken to get digits.

The other terminal offered a song collection I will call Songs You Never Wanted to Hear Again. “Life in a Northern Town” was a highlight, followed by two covers of “More Than This.” Robert arrived and we got into our cab. The hotel was awesome. We stayed at the Renaissance Times Square in a top floor room. Our view was spectacular: we could see everything, including a Playtex billboard. Girls, nothing will ever make you feel so inadequate as a pair of 50-foot boobs right outside your window. Rob was in boy heaven. The room also featured a bathroom telephone, minibar, and Silent Toilet. That has got to be the scariest invention ever, as I firmly believe that plumbing should be noisy. Rob was in awe, but that’s mainly because he’s purchased every piece of consumer technology that has come out in the last five years. If Sony put out an Electric Ear Cleaner with IPod compatibility, he’d buy it the day it came out.

We decided to go for a walk around Times Square, which was unbelievably Vegas and tacky. But in a sublime way. The concierge had recommended Whiskey Bar, because apparently we look hipper than we actually are. Cover was $20 and drinks were $7, allowing us our first opportunity for Country Mouse sticker shock. I would also like to thank Snoop Doggy Dogg for his unrelenting chokehold on youth culture. We took another walk around the neighborhood, where we saw a geek superstore. Merchandise included a wide assortment of pewter Dungeons & Dragons chalices, and a Lord of the Rings sword set. Confidential to Roxanne and Dave: I know you want Glamdring for a wedding present, and I will make that dream possible.

We returned to the room, and I got my worst night of sleep ever. This may be the most significant personality difference between Robert and me: you could fold him into the shape of an origami paper crane, stuff him into a locker, and have a marching band practice outside, and he’ll sleep like the dead. I wake up if someone two rooms over sneezes, I can’t sleep if I’m facing a wall, and I can’t sleep if any of my hair is touching my neck. The high-tech gel mattress kept me up because it does not “conform to your body” if you barely weigh triple digits. Instead it just bores holes into your spine. Being on the 26th floor freaked me out. Rob’s halfhearted efforts at snoring kept me up. Dude, just snore and get it over with. I’ll still be your friend.

Day 2: Homoeroticism, Bondage, and Sore Feet

We got up and walked to the Empire State Building. Not to be unappreciative, but it’s not that big a deal. We also had to navigate around a bunch of war protesters to get there. We got on the subway, and I lost my City Mouse cred forever by having Rob be the navigator. We took the subway to Tribeca to go to a sushi place called Zutto, but it wasn’t open for lunch. We walked to (Greenwich Village? Soho? Damned if I know) and ate at a place called Sammy’s instead.

After lunch, we got back on the subway and took an unintentional side tour into Queens. One thing I will say for New York is that it offers the best mass transit people-watching ever. The winner was an old lady with a sideways wig and a beard. After we’d made our way back to Manhattan, we got off near Madison Avenue and looked at rich people. The stereotype is beyond true: every woman there wears black, is 10 pounds too skinny and carries a little dog around. Also, every store carries lime green merchandise. Lime is definitely the new pink, which was the new gray, which was the new black.

We walked into Central Park, which offered plenty more people-watching opportunities. The high point was when five mulleted Gerardo lookalikes took off their shirts and laid out on top of a hill, while several dozen people gawped and giggled. Robert was deadset against my asking for their phone numbers. I want a Gerardo boyfriend!

We decided to watch a street performer named Magic Brian, who pulled Rob up to be his assistant. To his eternal credit, he was a good sport, bantered with the guy, and went along with the show. The highlight was watching Robert strap a half-naked Magic Brian into a straitjacket. Homoeroticism and bondage in one fell swoop! Awesome.

After the show, we walked toward FAO Schwartz and Robert was checked out by a sixteen-year-old girl with unwashed hair and a Spiderman t-shirt. I suppose he’s got Sugar Daddy Mojo. After FAO Schwartz, Old School Rob appeared and tried to get us kicked out of Toys R’ Us by shaking the Lego Chrysler building and yelling “Earthquake!”

After a nap at the hotel, we went to Radio City for the Dave Matthews Band show. I was one of only 10 women there with short hair, and I was definitely the only person in red leather pants. The show was great - though I’m not a big fan (Rob is, to the point that Mr Addictive Personality has been to 67 shows and can identify every tour shirt at 100 paces). It was acoustic, Dave was amusingly tanked and had a great rapport with the crowd, and it was just plain fun. The crowd was almost entirely populated with rock show That Guys. You know, That Guy Who Always Wears a Baseball Cap, That Guy Who Can Make a Beer-Can Bong, That Guy Who Yells “Freebird”, That Guy Who Keeps His Hand in the Back Pocket of His Girlfriend’s Jeans, That Guy Who Wears the Concert T-Shirt to the Concert, and That Guy Who Is Stoned and Dances in the Aisle. There were also lots of silly drunk girls, fans who take things way too seriously (one woman who sniffed, “First timers!” when anyone talked or even sneezed), and the person who yelled the same song request over and over. There was no anti-war jeremiad from Dave, and I kept my giggling and fanboy mockery to a minimum.

After the show, we went to a boxing-themed bar called Jimmy’s Corner. This place had the cheapest beer I’d seen in town. We stayed until the people behind us had managed to thoroughly sit on my head and blow smoke into my eyeballs. We decided to get dinner, only to discover that all the restaurants were closed. City That Never Sleeps, my ass. We grabbed some pizza slices and beers and went back to the hotel. We vegged for a bit, until a historic moment occurred. I Was Allowed to Hold the Remote Control. No man in the history of the universe has allowed this. Who is this strange New School Robert?

Day 3: Goodbye Kitty!

Sunday morning we dragged our asses out of bed and grabbed a Reggae Taxi over to the airport. LaGuardia had actual employees this time, and poor Robert had to travel like the proletariat. He had to stand in line for non-assigned seating, and was only offered Goldfish crackers instead of his customary First Class cocaine and strippers. At least, that’s my personal theory about First Class, since I can’t see through the curtain.

The funniest part of the whole trip was when we sat down in the exit row to accommodate Robert’s Enormo-Legs. I was wearing my Hello Kitty t-shirt, and the flight attendant asked if I was 15. I politely explained that not only was I old enough to sit in an exit row, I could drive, vote, and buy beer, and this fall I will be old enough to run for Congress. To his credit, Robert only giggled for thirty minutes. The his brain short-circuited from mockery and he went catatonic while listening to Snoop Dogg MP3's. Oh, and I got revenge of sorts: Hertz assigned him a Buick le Grandpa for the week.

So, that was my trip. I hope you guys had as much fun reading the travelogue as I had writing it.

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