Last year, I went to New York City for the first time. Gretchen and I stayed with our friend Dan, who lives in Brooklyn, and it was unusually hot for November. On our first day in the city we went to the Museum of Modern Art, because it’s free on Fridays, and there isn’t a lot to do in the city that doesn’t involve spending money.
The Museum of Modern Art is stupid. When we went, there was an exhibit that was just a microphone in the middle of the room with people walking up to it and screaming into it.
I liked the Van Goghs, and there were a couple of other cool exhibits, but I have to say I was really turned off by the “Pencil Line on Masking Tape” installation, which was exactly as simple and idiotic as it sounds. I was also unimpressed with the 10 foot tall pieces of newsprint with crayon scribblings that weren’t even as good as some of the crap that my friends doodle on the table cloths at the Pub. Not to mention the few times that I did find myself becoming intrigued by a piece, I was abruptly roused from my interest by the amplified screams coming from the main floor. That museum goes on a pretty loose definition of “art” if you ask me, but it was interesting to say the least, and free, so who can complain?
A bonus to being in NYC was that it gave me an excuse to guilt Colin into meeting up with us. After finding him in front of the Museum of Natural History looking uncomfortable in the middle of a gaggle of kids on a school trip, we walked around Central Park, which looked gorgeous with the fall colors. We went back to the museum, which was also free and also slightly disappointing, and Dan and Gretchen made a point to “lose” me and Colin while we struggled to out-wit each other by criticizing the exhibits. What’s up with the metal rod up that dolphin’s ass? None of the other fake sea creatures need poles to stay suspended! And why is that hunter-gatherer wearing penny loafers?
Our main goal after the museum was to go to S’mac, but because we were extremely impatient and had been walking a LOT already, we became discouraged when we found ourselves at the take-out location, which had no seating and a line. The real restaurant is on the same block, I think, but we were too crestfallen to figure that out at the time, so we made our way to an Indian restaurant that Dan liked instead. After a wild goose chase to find a liquor store, we drank whiskey on the Staten Island ferry and I saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time.
When we parted ways with Colin on the subway, I felt weird, sort of like I had fallen into an episode of Sex & the City or something.
“And then,” Gretchen said, “he went hurtling out of my life, just like a speeding subway train!”
We laughed, but I felt unsettled. It was strange seeing him for the first time in over two years, but at that time I was still too dejected, confused, heartbroken, and apathetic for our reunion to really mean anything to me. I wondered vaguely if I should have tried to hold his hand on the ferry, but instead I just passed him the whiskey-Coke bottle.
That night Dan, Gretchen, and I went to a hole in the wall bar/concert space where a band that Dan knew was playing. The live music was awesome, and the bar had my favorite beer on tap, and everything about it felt really gritty and “New York.” It was the point during our visit that I was the most jealous of Dan for the new life he has in NYC. I fell in love with the drummer-vocalist in one of the bands and cursed myself for not having enough cash on me to buy their CD. I promised myself I’d Google them later, but I never did.
After more walking, more drinking, and me getting more than a little cranky about our failed attempt at snagging some late night tacos, we ended up gobbling down sandwiches in a cab on the way back to Brooklyn. The next morning Gretchen and I dragged ass and left for the airport about an hour later than we had planned, and as the train made all of its individual airport stops we started to panic because we realized we would probably miss our flight. When we got to the ticketing area the woman working gave us our boarding passes and told us that if we ran we might be able to make it, so we took off IN THE WRONG FUCKING DIRECTION and ended up making a huge loop around the airport, running around like a couple of idiot small town girls lost in the big city. Obviously, that’s exactly what we were.
We ended up missing the flight, and the man at the gate more or less laughed at us when we came panting up to him. “She shouldn’t have let you through,” he said, and I huffed and puffed in my best attempt to convey annoyance because I was too out of breath to actually speak. We were able to catch the next flight to Columbus, and missing the flight was a learning experience, I guess. But our other travels have shown that Gretchen and I just aren’t very good at big cities. More on that later.