Monday, August 3, 2009
If You Can Make it Here . . .
Killing an afternoon in New York before my big interview tomorrow on the Today show. I should buckle down and write, but I'm far too wound up: How will I do? How will I look? Will I make any sense? So, instead, I do my favorite thing: take to the city's streets and people-watch.
Here's why I love this place ... at least to visit. In the span of a couple of hours, you see it all here. And more:
A man in a business suit and tie stands shouting in the street, exploding multiple F-bombs and using the universally understood New York City hand gestures for a traffic dispute. The delivery guy whose big truck is blocking the road shrugs and ignores the screamer.
Two young guys dressed like kitchen workers play chess outside with a plastic board, speaking occasionally in Mexican-accented Spanish.
A well-preserved blonde saunters past on Madison Avenue, chattering into a cell phone in French. A shopping bag dangles from one arm. The leash of a pampered white Maltese is on the other. Her tight Bebe t-shirt is bright green, the same shade as the bow on the little dog's
A group of men play a rolling-ball game called petanque in Bryant Park. The best player has on a t-shirt advertising Vieuve Cliquot champagne. Another guy is in droopy blue jean shorts and a sideways ball cap with lots of bling. I'm amazed to see a third in a camouflage hunting cap and a shirt with a logo from the world bull-riding finals. Then I realize this is New York, so he's probably wearing that redneck outfit ironically.
Mama, we're not in little Himmarshee anymore.
Still in the park, I look longingly at a merry-go-round with French music, Le Carrousel. I'd love a ride, but I pass by, too uptight to ante up my $2 and join all the kids. I continue my walk, and see a dozen more New Yorkers carrying on in their unusual manner without regard to what people might think. I circle back to the park. I'm in New York to go on TV and promote my book to a national audience. If that's not taking a shot at the carousel's brass ring, I don't know what is.
I pay my money and choose my horse. A palomino, with flowers on its pink saddle and hooves painted gold. The bell rings, the ride starts. And as I go up-and-down and round-and-round, I realize not a single New Yorker bats an eye at a middle-aged woman on a magical horse.
It's the best 2 and 1/2 minutes I spend all day.