A Story of Human Endurance in the City Coated in Kindness
By Jenny Bundock
This year, over the reading week break we university students get, my partner and I went to New York City.
I’m not sure how many of you have been to New York, or how many of you have gone in February, when it is cold as death and raining non-stop, but this is the New York I have come to know. Previously, my only exposure to New York came from watching all five seasons of Sex and the City. Turns out this is a terrible representation of New York in the winter. I don’t think Kerri Bradshaw even owns a heavy coat.
My impression of New York was built on lies. I’m going to share with you my damp, slushy experiences with New York in an attempt to balance this false “perpetual dry weather” myth associated with New York. The day that we arrived in Newark, things seemed to be looking up quite nicely. Our flight the day before had been canceled, so we got to finish the third season of The Wire, (which we were sad we had to leave unfinished) and then leave blissfully in the AM the next day.
It was bitterly cold in Toronto, but I was excited to get on the ground in NY State, because for some foolish reason, I thought it would be milder there. I was dead wrong, but I’ll get to that. When we landed in Newark, our plane had been delayed, so the cab we had arranged to take us to Manhattan was tied up when we were finally on the ground. This could have been terrible except that they sent a stretch limo in its place, for no extra charge. (The limo was from like 1994, so it was being held together by electrical tape and staples in the back, and our driver had just finished a McDonald’s lunch, which he’d thrown over his shoulder into the back with us. But we still felt pretty classy.) When we arrived at our hotel, the first thing in our agenda was food. We walked a whole two blocks to the first place with a neon “pizza” sign, and being very excited, and in full-blown traveling Canadian mode which entails being over to top friendly, patient, chipper, and soft-spoken to Americans at all times, so that they feel naturally surly and inferior to our good-natured happy selves. You all do it. I know you do.
Anyways being as gentle and happy as possible I inquired about if a pizza slice I was interested in had any meat on it. “Hello there, beautiful day isn’t it! How are you feeling today? If possible can you please tell me if this pizza in the front is vegetarian friendly?” He responded with a short, annoyed “What?” and the woman behind the counter saved me from getting a pizza cutter imbedded in my face when she saw I was about to speak again by responding “There’s no meat there Hon” I took that one, and no one said another word to me the rest of the time.
Dylan and I ate our pizza and tried to map out our ambitious goals for what we wanted to see. We decided to walk as much as we could to see the city, as well as to cover as much ground as possible by doing two major landmarks a day. This was going to be an excellent trip!
On our way out to dinner, I began to notice I was developing a gigantic headache, I ignored this first sign of trouble and wandered out to dinner with Dylan, taking in the sites, our favorite being the drunkest man we’ve ever seen out in public. He could barely walk and was holding himself up by leaning all his weight onto the buildings, when one would end he would nearly fall over. We followed him to a wine store, which he basically crawled into, only to be tossed 30 whole seconds later. The best part was that it was Monday night at 5:00 pm, and he was in a full suit and tie ensemble, complete with shiny shoes. Our invented back-story for him was that he got canned for sleeping with his secretary who, it turns out, was only 17.
During dinner I felt increasingly sick, eventually dizzy, and on the way home we stopped to buy $30 worth of meds to cover whatever symptoms of mine could build overnight. Also concerned that I hadn’t pooped in a while, and fearing getting constipated from travel, I decided to take a couple “gentle female laxatives” which were apparently: “coated in kindness” or so said the pink box (awwww). Little did I know I would wake up at 3:00am, crawl painfully into the bathroom, start yelling with pain, loose consciousness while trying to reach for the door, and wake Dylan who would then find me passed out face-down on the carpet in the space between the bathroom and our bed.
For the record, I don’t recommend starting your vacations off this way or taking laxatives right before bed.
Eventually I stopped passing out randomly, complaining about my poor stomach and crying like a three-year old around 4-4:30 am, and being all tuckered out from keeping Dylan awake, I curled up in bed till noon the next day.
Next week: The Thrilling Continuation!