What is it about New York? What is it about this ridiculous city that makes me land running, and won't let me stop until I get on the plane again?
Two weeks ago, I hit the Big Apple for the second time. And for the second time, I saw exactly none of it.
I can tell you where the good bathroom is at the Javits Convention Center, and I know that my hotel was at Park Ave and 42nd. I know that Times Square has a lot of lights, and if I craned my neck at the right angle as I was climbing into a taxi every morning, I caught a pretty glimpse of the Chrysler Building.
Other than that, I can only be proud of the fact that my company won the Best New Product award at the giant trade show in which we were exhibiting, and that I managed to last five days in New York on only 19 hours of sleep.
There was one thing of note, though; one tiny little thing. It was about 6:30 on Saturday evening. Day two of the show had just ended, and I was exhausted. I was in heels, my knee felt like there was knife sticking out of it, and it was raining. There I was, standing on a corner, limp and wet and bedraggled, clutching some files and my purse with one arm, the other waving in the air trying to hail a taxi. Five minutes passed trying, then ten, then twenty. One of my English colleagues was under a nearby canopy trying to save his new suit, and another was standing on the next corner, ready to push an old lady out of the way of a cab if necessary. My perfectly flat-ironed hair was nothing but a memory.
Eventually - a long, cold, miserable eventually - we hailed one of the famous yellow cars and crawled into the back seat. We said nothing, but I knew we were all contemplating the long and social evening ahead of us, and the endless day after. Jamie was already nursing the sniffles, I had a knee that was beginning to swell, and Niels was wearing the kind of fatigue that only comes from having to be nice to idiots all day long. The idea of retiring to our respective rooms for the night was nothing but delicious.
But then, we pulled up to our shiny, grand hotel, and a doorman stepped forward to open our door and help me out of the cab. For once, the sidewalk ahead of us wasn't teeming with people, and we could get to the front door without having to fight somebody for it. The rain had stopped, and the scent of ozone and warm street-vendor pretzels filled the evening air, reminding us that we hadnít seen sunshine or food in a long time.
We paused for a second and looked at the small patch of sky that could be seen between buildings. A woman with a ridiculous hat and a small dog click-clacked by. A limo pulled up, for no reason at all. We looked at each other, and grinned.
"So I'll see you down in about 45, yeah?"
"Right. Maybe an hour, but no more than that.
Meh. It's just a goddamn city, after all. It's New York, but it can't kill us.
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