Three days in New York City hardly seems like enough time to get into trouble, but I sure tried, because we all know that I leave the house so rarely, traveling to an actual city is a major pilgrimage for me. It requires THOUGHT and PREPARATION and MASCARA. All of these things are slightly foreign to me, but I soldier along as best I can.
So! When we last left off, my journey TO the city had been blessedly uneventful. My first meal there was delicious, and I skipped out on a late night of karaoke to attend to my beauty sleep. [Sidebar: I can't hang this on my 40th birthday, but maybe around 38 or 39 it seemed like I suddenly had An Eye Issue, by which I mean I often wake up with dark bags underneath them which could easily accommodate a week's worth of groceries, and which laugh at the various ever-increasingly-expensive Bags-Be-Gone gels and treatments I stupidly keep buying. I really don't believe in plastic surgery but I'm beginning to understand the allure. I would like to have a bagectomy, please, but only if it doesn't leave me looking perpetually surprised instead of just exhausted.]
I was off to a very responsible start. Of course that wasn’t terribly long-lived.
Oh, the first day of the conference was great. I was the model of decorum. I wore my contact lenses! My hair was glossy and straight! I totally pretended to be a grown-up! And when we had a break between sessions and the fancy cocktail party, I went upstairs to rest rather than going out gallivanting, because I was tired (am delicate!) and figured I’d be out late later.
The trouble began when I went up to get a drink at the party that night. I was all dolled up, see, wearing 5″ platform stilettos (hey, man, NEW YORK! Where else am I gonna wear ‘em?), and the person in front of me ordered a Cosmo. I’d been intending to get a glass of wine, but I saw that pretty pink drink and said, “Oh hey, I’ll have one of those.” Maybe the bartender liked my shoes, but I am pretty sure there was no lime juice and only a whisper of cranberry in my drink. It was pretty much a martini glass full of vodka, a fact I sadly realized about three sips later, around the same time I discovered that all of the hors d’oeuvres ALL contained wheat and there was nothing there I could actually eat.
Yes, Virginia, half an inch into my drink and I was… uh, well, a little tipsy. (I am an extremely cheap date.) But hey, I was chatting with people and enjoying the music, and eventually a nice server brought me some gluten-free goodies to munch on, and I drank the rest of my drink, and eventually it became clear that more food was required, so a bunch of us decided to go out and find someplace to have dinner. Luckily, everyone agreed to change back into regular clothing and sensible shoes before we headed out. Unfortunately, the “very close and reasonable” Italian restaurant the concierge sent us to was about 20 blocks away and the appetizers were $20.
In my slightly-inebriated state, rather than being outraged by the prices (we were there for a THRIFTY BLOGGER CONFERENCE; which part of “reasonably-priced” in that context was confusing?), I found the whole thing terribly amusing, or rather, I did, until the waiters had completely ignored us for quite some time and discussion of a walk-out came up. There was a lot of “oh we really shouldn’t” and “won’t we get in trouble” (yes, we’ll be sent to the principal’s office), and finally Brittany said, “If I stand up, will you all come with me?” And because we are BRAVE LITTLE TOASTERS (or was that brave and a little toasted?) we all but saluted her, and when she stood, so did we. And then we ran out before they could yell at us.
We ended up having dinner at a nearby diner, and it was delicious. Later, people went out dancing, but I stayed in the hotel because 1) I am a terrible dancer, 2) see the sidebar about eye bags, above (also, I was tired), and 3) it was raining out and my carefully coiffed “conference hair” (read: flat-ironed) had taken quite a beating. So while other people went out on the town, I stayed in and re-ironed my hair. ROCK ON.
I did this because the next morning we went on a very-early-morning bus tour, and I knew I wasn’t going to want to mess with my hair in the morning. So we went on that and had some more conference and then the work part of things was all over. After a little down time, a bunch of us got all dolled up again and headed out to see How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Now. This is the part of the story where I need to introduce you to my new BFF, Ruth. Ruth and I have spent some time chatting online in the last few months, but this weekend was our first time meeting. I already knew I liked her and I already knew she was tall, but—as these things often go—KNOWING and EXPERIENCING are two entirely different things. It turns out that Ruth is 6’2″ and drop-dead gorgeous, and you would really, really like to hate her beautiful guts, but you can’t, because she’s a total sweetheart and also hilarious. She is also completely, totally, utterly smitten with Daniel Radcliffe.
Conversation as we sat in our seats, waiting for the show to start:
Ruth: I just love him so much. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND.
Me: You know he’s, like, TINY, right? He’s practically an elf.
Ruth: It doesn’t matter. I LOVE HIM.
Me: You could fit him in your pocket. He won’t even come up to your boobs.
Ruth: I can make that work.
The lights dimmed, and the music started. In no time at all, Daniel Radcliffe was being raised onto the stage, attached to a couple of ropes. And Ruth started SCREAMING HER HEAD OFF. The show was excellent, but sitting next to Ruth completely geeking out made it a million times better. There’s a particularly big ensemble number in the second half that caused her to scream, “I LOVE YOU, HARRY POTTER!” at the end, and I desperately hope that he heard her.
Naturally, Ruth and Brittany decided to stay and stalk the stage door after the show, but the crowd was huge so I opted to head back to the hotel with some of the other folks from the conference. While I was watching rats as large as the squirrels ’round here scurry around on the subway tracks (YES REALLY ICK ICK ICK), Brittany and Ruth were totally getting Daniel Radcliffe’s underpants. (Not really. Turns out he kind of ran off after the show. Word is that John Larroquette—who, frankly, I thought was the real star—was much more gracious in terms of photos and autographs and such.)
I had noble intentions of getting to bed early that night, but it was not to be. We ended up staying up late (like, 3:00 a.m. late) talking and talking and talking some more, which meant that when we got up on Saturday morning to Go Do Touristy Things the bags under my eyes had overpacked and brought along a couple of extra, auxiliary bags. Nevertheless, as more patriotic conference-goers headed off to the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero, I put Erin in a headlock and demanded that she go thrifting with me. We stomped our way all over Chelsea and found all manner of discarded designer clothing, scary muppet-fur clothing, and even the same sort of useless dreck I wonder why my local Goodwill even bothers to put out.
It was great fun, and we paused to meet up with Ruth and Deidre and eat lunch, then shop some more. (Shop may be a bit of an exaggeration. I ended up buying some tank tops for Chickadee and that’s it. Sigh.)
All good things, sadly, must come to an end, so Ruth and I split a cab back to LaGuardia and prepared to say goodbye. But! Our insane cabbie drove us there SO FAST that we had some time to kill, so we sat down in a little bistro because Ruth wanted a beer and I wanted some ice cream (shut up). Our waiter was an adorable young man named Patrick who fell instantly and deeply in love with Ruth, and for the first time since college I remembered what it feels like to be someone’s wingman. (Shockingly, I was never the girl being hit on in the bar. Weird, right? HAHAHAHA.)
Patrick flirted shamelessly with Ruth, bringing her some beer “samples” when she couldn’t decide what to have, and those samples constituted about 10 ounces of beer. He also brought me a scoop of gelato which I believe was scooped out with a shovel. (I didn’t finish it. THAT’S HOW BIG IT WAS.) At one point he even commented on how sexy her tattoos were. SMOOTH, PATRICK. He was also completely undeterred when I pointed out that her heart already belonged to Harry Potter. Eventually we chatted him up and learned that he actually hails from Georgia, not too far from me, and he’s in New York because (of course!) he’s an actor.
It was actually a delightful way to end the trip. Ruth and I parted amidst promises to do this again VERY SOON, and my flight home was totally boring.
I feel a little like a Martian when I’m in New York City, but this was hands-down the best trip I’ve ever taken there. Having fellow dorks to enjoy it with does seem to make all the difference. I would love to do it all over again, just as soon as I’m recovered from this trip. Give me about a year.