Since when did I become a tourist in my own home town??? Someone literally should have just handed me a camera, fanny pack, and an I LOVE NY t-shirt because it wouldn't have even come close to screaming tourist as loudly as my actions did when I was home!
I had to make a trip to NY for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in mid-December. I NEVER pass up the chance to go home. Not just because it is home, but because it is NY - the coolest place ever. I should have realized that I needed to review my NY savvy when I had to take out the subway map in order to figure out what trains to take to get to Grand Central Station ~ a place that I used to work . So, once my mom made the list of buses and subways for me to take (thanks, mommy!), I was on my merry way.
I had to dress business casual and I figured that, because I was in NY, I definitely had to keep up with the clothing. I would be traveling through the city via subway, you know. Unfortunately, that also meant that I would have to wear heels. And most of you that know me well know that I will take my comfy New Balance sneakers over heels any day. To my surprise, I was the only one on the subway rocking the "business attire with sneakers" look. Flash back to Jane Fonda in 1980's Nine to Five movie. Apparently, my December 21st birthday is not the only thing I share with Ms. Fonda. We share fashion sense. The saddest part about the whole situation was that, even with my sneakers on, I was still being outrun by the fashionistas in their 10 inch stilettos!
I also did not receive the IPOD memo. It appears as though the right to passage to get on a NY subway is that your ears must be adorned with the ear buds of an IPOD. I really wish I would have gotten that memo because I would not have had to listen to the man playing Silent Nite, Jingle Bells, and I Have a Little Dreidel on the Melodica for 30 minutes. My favorite part of the ride was when we got stuck on the 6 train in the tunnel for 25 of those Melodica blasting minutes. Then, when the doors would open, there would be someone playing the steel drums so it would be a duel between the Melodica and the steel drums. Plus, when you are the only person on the train not wearing ear buds, guess who the Melodica player wants to talk to in between sets?
When I get to Grand Central Station, I just kind of stood there, in the middle of the walkway wondering where the heck the stinkin Metro North was. How was it that I worked there but had never seen the Metro North??? When I got up to the counter, I purchased my ticket and asked the ticket lady if I would have to switch trains in order to get to my destination. She oh-so-politely replied, "Not if you get on the right train." Well, thanks lady. That helps me a whole lot. She really ticked me off because she is the kind of person that gives New Yorkers a bad name. As I am looking at my ticket, there are about 6 different numbers on it. None of them being a departing time or a track number. I wait on line to ask the man at the other booth what the numbers on my ticket mean when 3 people who were foreign just step right in front of me and start asking the man a million questions in very broken English. Is waiting on line not a universal thing??? I thought the smile and waiting on line were the only things that were universal??? They step away from the booth just in time for me to find out that my train had just left and it would be 45 minutes before the next one left.
I finally get to my destination in one piece (after asking the conductor about 20 times if I was on the correct train), change into my heels while in the cab from the train station to the office, train some people how to use the computer system, and get back to the train station. I wait for the train to get there and then ask about 20 different people if this train went to Grand Central Station. It was at that point when I was on Metro North heading back to GCS that I realized that I was missing yet another element. A fancy schmancy phone. I looked around and everyone was bopping their heads to their IPODs and checking their facebook pages. And there I sat with my pink Razr phone in my pocket, New Balance sneakers on my feet, and Woman's Day magazine in hand. That is when the song "Which of these things is not like the other" from Sesame Street started to play loud enough in my head that the woman next to me with the IPOD, fancy phone, and Manolo Blahnik's could hear it.
Once I made my way back to common ground - Grand Central Station - I realized that I had one more problem. There were a whole lot more people going in the opposite direction that I was going. It kind of looked like a video going in fast forward, but this was the actual pace that these people were going. When it came time for me to go through the turnstile, I panicked. Plus, it did not help that someone was playing Led Zeppelin on the violin. It made it seem like people were moving a whole lot faster than they really were. I was going to be polite and wait until there was a gap in the people headed out through the turnstile, but 3/4 of the way through "Whole Lotta Love", I realized I was being very unrealistic. So, I put my big girl pants on, stepped up to the turnstile, and told the person that was getting ready to mow me down, "No, you just need to wait!" I felt like I had suddenly morphed into my mother. That was one of my proudest moments that day.
Needless to say, I made it home 2 hours later in one piece, but freezing cold. On my trip home for Christmas, I went into the city twice and I was much more savvy. Julie took me out for my birthday and I was able to meet her in one piece donning my IPOD. I wore my Uggs because it was really icy out. Julie had heels on. She is such a show off :-) Then, I met Julie, Yasmine, and Kathleen along with their significant others another evening. I made it there in one piece as well. This time I showed up with, not only my IPOD, but heels as well!
So the next time you are on the subway and you hear Dolly Parton's voice singing "Nine to five, what a way to make a living" chances are, it is not the person's IPOD next to you. It means that somewhere in a nearby subway station, Marisa is strutting her stuff!