At the beginning of August I went to New York City for the largest blogging conference in the world. I love New York. I love it in a way that cannot be adequately expressed with a heart on a T-shirt.
I love that you can buy Thai food at 3 a.m. I love that you can walk down the city streets with cabs honking and swerving around each other and become lost in your own thoughts. The hive of activity becomes soothing white noise and leaves your mind free to drift. I love that you can be anonymous and anyone you want to be while standing in a city of millions of people.
I love New York, but even the Big Apple wasn’t a big enough place for 5,000 women to gather. The conference reminded me of a million sleep-overs I attended as a girl– it was really fun. Until it wasn’t anymore. (That’s my BlogHer recap.)
As a child my mother usually had to come and get me at bedtime. In New York I ducked out of sessions and wandered anonymously around the city and was amazed at the peace of mind I had from simply being a face in the crowd.
And let’s be real – when I say “wandered” I mean wandered.
I was, as my sixth grade science teacher, Billie Seals, used to say, “Lost as a ball in high weeds.”
It’s no secret that I’m directionally challenged. You are probably thinking, “Well now… it is New York City! You shouldn’t be embarrassed about getting lost in the Big Apple, I mean it could happen to anyone.” But you would be wrong.
I walked for four blocks around the city trying to find a particular restaurant for a meeting before giving up and calling Zeb.
“I’m lost.” I said in lieu of, “Hello.”
“I knew I should have put a LoJack on you before you left.” I think he was kidding.
“I wish you had. My GPS hates me. I’ve been wandering in a circle for 30 minutes.”
He paused, “You do realize the restaurant you are looking for is one-tenth of a mile from your hotel?”
“Obviously. That’s why I left 30 minutes early. Help me. People are starting to stare.”
He laughed and tracked my phone online, giving me directions until I safely found my way to the restaurant.
Our conversation was mostly this:
Him: TURN AROUND YOU ARE GOING THE WRONG WAY.
Me: No I’m not. I already walked down that street.
Him: TURN. AROUND.
I turned around and guess what? BOOM. There it was. When I reached the entrance I turned and realized I could actually see inside the hotel’s lobby from the restaurants front door– it was that freaking close.
I made it back to the hotel totally unassisted. *high fives*
The days I spent actually shopping and wandering around the city, I depended on Sister Wife (best friend, we share everything but clothes and husbands) for navigation. She lived in Paris for a semester in school and grew up in the French Quarter of New Orleans. So she’s bilingual. She speaks English and Directions.
When anyone starts giving me directions with, “Go north…” I want to slap them hard– just once– across the face and say, “Do you kiss your MOTHER with that mouth?”
Sister Wife navigated the subway system with relative ease and worried about me when I walked from our 6th Avenue hotel to shop on 5th Avenue. That’s right. One block.
She was right to be concerned.
I texted her this:
Sister Wife: I’ll save that for when you make it back.
She’s always one step ahead.
I did in fact make it back to the conference AND across the street to the Warwick Hotel where I got to meet my lovely agent, Jenny Bent, live and in person for the first time. (I signed with her three years ago-ish.)
Sister Wife’s mad nav skillz kept us on track as we shopped all day on Sunday. After walking for about 10 hours we threw in the towel and took a cab to dinner at Basta Pasta (thank you very much Jessica Bern who when I asked her where we should eat Sunday night, took my phone out of my hand and called and made me a reservation. I still dream about the sweet potato gnocchi.)
It was pouring rain so after dinner we hailed a cab. (Don’t we sound so fancy??) We hopped in and Wifey said, “We want to go to 37 West 17th Street.”
The rain drowned out the driver’s voice and his accent was unfamiliar, so I repeated the address thinking he might have had the same problem understanding us.
“We want to go to 37 West 17th Street,” I said loudly.
He enunciated perfectly. Slowly repeating himself so the rednecks in the backseat could understand him, “THAT’S WHERE YOU ARE.”
“Oh. Well, um. Thanks for the ride?” I squeaked out as we collapsed in the backseat laughing.
I enjoyed the city, the shopping and the food but I’ll be thrilled to no longer need my husband, a satellite and a cellphone to walk one-tenth of a mile without getting lost.