Sunday, August 24, 2008

Returning to New York, Part 2

Saturday- I slept in and took my time getting around. No one called to hang out, and my leg felt funny. As such, I didn’t want to walk all over, so I hopped the subway to TKTS in Times Square and bought discount tickets to Gypsy. I’ve had a long-standing wish to see Patti LuPone perform. After getting tickets, I had just enough time for a burrito at La Paloma (my favorite restaurant in the theater district).

Then it was time for the show. I love Broadway theater. I sat in the dark, listening to the overture. It was an old-fashioned score, with no synthesizers, hooray! Before I knew it, “Sing out Louise!” Patti Lupone was there, a stone’s throw away, walking down the aisle and up onto the stage.

It’s a long show, 3 hours, but I loved every minute. Patti, the actress who played Gypsy and the actor who played Herbie all brought home Tonys for the show. I’ve now seen three versions of the show, and this versioun had the feistiest Herbie and the most nuanced Louise/Gypsy. Her transformation was the most gradual, with steely strength glittering throughout.

LuPone’s “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” was a show-stopper. What’s the cliché? A tour de force. That’s the best way to put it. As amazing as everyone was, though, I didn’t cry. I almost always cry at Broadway shows. Huh.

After the show, on my way home I ran into a Free Tibet rally. New York never lacks surprises. That night, my leg was still giving me trouble, so had some muscle relaxers with my supper. As a result, when Riza called me to go out with her I couldn’t sufficiently rouse myself.

Sunday- It was my last chance to hang out with the girls. I ate a picnic breakfast in Central Park while reading poetry by Symborska. After checking out of the hotel, I strapped on my bags, the big pack in back and the small bag in front—a look I call the pregnant camel. By the time I got to the train, a twinge was forming in my back. After getting off the train, I accidentally walked four blocks in the wrong direction. When I realized my mistake and began trudging toward Putanesca for brunch, the twinge in my back became an unbearable ache. I flagged down a taxi…which took me the whole remaining three blocks to the restaurant.

We settled down to gorgeous brunch food (I went for Eggs Benedict) and mimosas. It was Carolina, Laura, Riza, Madrid, Laura’s friend (who I’ve just met, but about whom I’ve heard enough that I should know her name by now) and me.

Our conversation was quite lively. Laura revealed that a good friend of hers had cancelled her wedding. The young woman’s fiancé had absconded with her car. She had known him for years, and upon his departure discovered his secret past.

“So,” Carolina quipped, “I’m staying single forever. Good plan?” Although it made us all uneasy about trust in relationships, it made Carolina and Riza feel better about recent relationships or potential relationships gone awry. Oh, they are not the only ones to choose a man and discover he’s the wrong one.

At one point, Laura asked if I was taking the bus to Virginia, and I confirmed that I was.
“Just don’t get beheaded.”

She explained that she takes Greyhound a lot, and it made her mother nervous, because a psycho had stabbed, decapitated a young man on a Greyhound bus. He even ate part of the corpse. Ew.

“I don’t think we’re dealing with a murderous cannibal with brand loyalty!” I replied. The gang all laughed, but Laura filled us in on the sobering details.

The other passengers couldn’t stop the murder, but they managed to get off the bus and lock the murderer onboard. When the police got there, he had and ear and a finger in his pocket. He was in jail now, but the passengers all noted how normal he’d seemed before the attack. Don’t they all?

Madrid later told of us a “perfectly normal” guy in a grocery store who, unprovoked, informed her, “Your tits are gorgeous.”

“Perfectly normal, hmm?” Someone replied.

“Is that an ear in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?”

Eventually, we’d had enough dark comedy and moved on to other things, including Paula Dean. I did my impression of her Southern drawl everyone, focusing on her obviously-faked surprise when her sons “unexpectedly” visit: “Well boys, I didn’t know you were comin’! You wanna help yer Mama in the kitchen?” It’s all done as if the boys have no idea that their mother is filming a cooking show. Heh. That’s my pet peeve, but Laura’s is that everything Paula Deen makes seems to contain a pound of butter.

All to soon, we had to go our separate ways. We all hugged and Carolina gave me a ride to my subway station. Only after she left did I discover the station was closed for repairs. I had to trek several blocks with my way-too-heavy bags and take one train to catch another. Then I went to the wrong bus station (there are two in one block) and barely made it to the right one on time. Then, they didn’t want to let me on the bus, because my ticket was so old. (I won it in a silent auction at Christmas, but no one told me there was an expiration date.)

There was a lot of arguing in Chinese, which led me to panic a bit. I could have calmed down, but I find that being too calm is sometimes the wrong tack. Generally, if you want help you, there are a few choices. You can be direct and calm. This is the best, most dignified choice. I tried that three times with the ticket-takers to no avail. I’m not at all scary looking, so intimidation was out. I went with a combo of offering the money in my wallet ($20) and genuine emotion—I was on the verge of tears.

I would never fake crying, because I think it’s sick and wrong, but if you’re genuinely upset, you have a good chance of getting help, because some people have a desire to be helpful, and others want to get you out of their hair. One of the guys told me to get on, and I rushed to do so before the argument could start up again. I even got to keep my $20.

Late that night I finally made it to Norfolk. Todd took me home where, thankfully, unlike at Christmas, the apartment was unscathed. Also: Moxie lives! She's scraggly, but she's alive. Hooray!

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