In which we take NYC by dork-storm

By Mir
October 17, 2011

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.


  1. Brittany

    Trying to think of something witty to say, but I am still recovering from NYC too. Thanks for all the dorky fun, and for being such a fabulous roomie.

  2. Aimee

    I bet he did hear her scream “I love you, Harry Potter!” and that’s *why* he made a quick getaway ;)

    It sounds like an awesome trip — frankly, I’m impressed at your dedication to your hair’s smooth flatness. And to unpacking those eye-bags.

  3. Ruth

    And yes, it really happened exactly that.

    But I much prefer the title “Little Men I’d Like to Place in My Pocket”

    Mir, you are truly a delight and I am so, so, so happy my first-ever trip to NYC was with you. Can’t wait to see you soon my friend. What trouble shall we get into next? ;-)

  4. Liza

    I don’t know Ruth, but just from your description, I am totally charmed. Your adventure WRT Daniel Radcliffe sounds like when I made Polly Pagenhart help me unsuccessfully stalk Rachel Maddow, at the last NYC BlogHer.

  5. Caitlin

    hahaha fun recap! those cosmos will get you. but you’re right, their pretty pink power cannot be ignored.

  6. Megan

    Somewhere my darling niece is deeply, deeply happy because SOMEONE shouted ‘I love you Harry Potter’ when they had the chance. Thank you!

    Now, if it had been, say, David Tennant and there were the slightest whiff of Tardis in the air I would have SO been there!

  7. Little Bird

    Please tell me that the next time you will be in Chicago for any reason whatsoever, you will announce it here! After that description of your adventures in NY(and years of reading your blog of course) I want a chance to wittness the fun first hand! Besides, I know where all the reasonably priced places that have gluten free options are! And they have those pretty pink drinks too.

  8. Shannon

    Great recap, and yes I do agree with you that John Laroquette (i am sure that spellng is wrong) was incredible in the show, just how I loved to watch him on Boston Legal! He was hilarious.

  9. Mary Fran

    I was in NYC this weekend as well, with my Mom and 20 year old niece. We stalked, I mean, hung out outside John Mayer’s apartment in SoHo, because that’s what my niece wanted to do. Alas, we never saw him, but I talked her into buying him a birthday card and giving it to the doorman. She was too cute.

  10. Chuck

    Glad you had fun! I never have spent much time in NYC in spite of the fact that the airline I work for has a large hub there. Maybe someday.

  11. Erin Huffstetler

    Wow, Mir. I’m amazed that you managed to get that many words lined up in the right order. My brain is too sleepy for that today. Definitely a fun trip.

  12. Heather

    I miss NYC – I was lucky enough to live there for almost 10 years after college and there is just no place like it. I love the story about How to Succeed and the Harry Potter fixation because when I saw it many years ago – it was Matthew Broderick and his soon to be wife Sarah Jessica. I was very excited because I adore Matthew and had seen Sarah Jessica in a road show as a Von Trapp child for my first Bway style show. I am glad you had a great time

  13. Katie in MA

    At least NYC came through with blog fodder even if the airlines now seem to be charging extra for the pleasure. Perhaps you should take Ruth on the plane with you, too? It would be worth the adventure even if it was completely round-about for one of you. :)

  14. bob

    I was going to same something of the same thing Heather did – I went to see HTSIBWRT the last time I went to New York – Mathew Broderick played Finch. I guess it’s been longer than I thought since I was there (those senior moments…….) At that time, the show-stopper was (I think this is right) Brotherhood of Man – Lillias White brought the house down.

    One of these days I’ll be able to take Laura. She wants to see Spain first. Hmph.

  15. Jenan

    Glad you didn’t have misadventures this trip – partying is overrated and sleep is always wonderful. BTW – the reason Goodwill Stores put out dregs of stuff is because they now sell the good stuff online – and leave the dregs for the locals who donate and shop at the local stores. Kind of a bummer.

  16. elz

    Dude, conference Mir rocks! I wish I had been there, just to see what fun and shenangians you found (or found you). Ruth sounds totally awesome-I would have peed myself laughing when she yelled at Harry!

  17. Alicia

    The Huz and I went to see How to Succeed back in early September. It was John Larroquette who completely skimped us and dashed away. Daniel Radcliffe took so long coming down the line we left before catching sight of him. Maybe they take turns… or maybe Ruth frightened him. Though, I must say, ROCK ON, RUTH! Love her enthusiasm!

  18. mamaspeak

    The visual of Ruth screaming, “I LOVE YOU HARRY POTTER!” just made my day. I had to look and see if Ruth really was as tall as you claimed (and um, wow. Dude, why aren’t you modelling?) Since she really is that tall, the visual of her putting Daniel Radcliffe in her pocket was rather believable and all the better. (Excuse my crappy grammar, I have no excuse other than that I feel like crap & I’m lucky to have the energy to read & write.) Thanks for cheering up my day.

  19. Varda (SquashedMom)

    And when you DO come back next year, my dear? We simply MUST hang out. (This is my hometown, after all, I really do live in Manhattan.) But please, don’t come during ComiCon week again, unless you want to put on the elf ears and REALLY geek out with me. ;-)

    Sounds like a great visit. I’m so glad my fair city treated you well.

  20. Brigitte

    I tried on platform spikes once and couldn’t even stand up . . so I’m stuck being my 5’0″ self. Ruth sounds fun, but I would have needed the cosmos; sober, I would have been mortified and hidden under my seat! ;-D

  21. Rachael

    I’m laughing too hard to comment… but please understand, I’m not laughing AT you guys. I really should get out more. Maybe I can find some crazy conference for transcriptionists who work from home and have kids.

  22. The Mommy Therapy

    Sounds like a blast, you are making me desperately want to go to NYC.

    I haven’t been since I was in junior high, and I have a feeling I might enjoy the experience a whole lot more as an adult than as a 12 year old barfing during Cats and begging her parents to take her to Bloomingdales.

    Glad you had such a wonderful time!

  23. Daisy

    Dorky is good. Nerdy and geeky are all good, too.

  24. Debra

    I love thrift shopping when in visiting cities! I found the biggest GW I ever seen in Miami. We found the best deals there on leather and fur and sweaters made with high-end yarn. I would love to go back.

    Dallas thrift shopping was a HUGE

  25. Debra

    (sorry about the break, my netbook is so wierd sometimes)
    Dallas thrift shopping was a HUGE disappointment! Not worth the time or effort at all.

  26. Heather

    I think I want to go to New York with you ;)

  27. Claire

    Wow!! LOL
    I have been following Ruth’s fabulous blog since April and this just made me laugh so hard. I love NYC and just picturing all of this is too funny!! Thanks for the post!!

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