Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Close encounters of the New York kind - part 2

I open one eye. Then close it. Then open the other one.
Where am I?
Oh yes, on my friend’s sofa-bed in New York.
What time is it?
Nine-ish. Sunday. Hmm. What shall I do with my day?
Hang on a minute.
I’ve made a plan. I was supposed to meet the Brooklyn hipster at midday at a gallery.
Maybe he was drunk when he agreed to do this. Should I text him to double-check the plan is still on?
Maybe in a bit.
Had a bit to drink last night, so should probably have some water, as I might be a tad dehydrated.
I unzip the sleeping bag and stagger over to the sink. I swig some water and stagger back to the sofa.

That doesn’t feel good.
No, that really doesn’t
Well there goes that intake of water.
Oh my god, my head is pounding!
Maybe I should drink some juice instead and take an ibuprofen. Then I’ll have a nap for an hour, get up and go out to meet this guy. After I’ve double-checked that he remembers who the hell I am.
Oh...oh no...quick!
If only I had topical ibuprofen as I don’t seem to be currently capable of retaining anything in my stomach for more than two minutes.
This is not good.
How can I get rid of this blasted headache?

Ok, I’ll text him. He’ll reply, saying he wants to cancel, and then I’m off the hook, and I can resume talking to god on the big white telephone.
And maybe sleep for a bit too.
He replies.
We’re still on for midday.

A shower. A shower will make me feel better. And more human. And less nauseous.
Unfortunately, this proves not to be the case.
My friend laughs when I tell her I’m off to meet a guy in my pitiful state.

“It’s fine,” I tell her. “I’ll just put an emergency plastic bag in my handbag.”
“Emergency plastic bag?”
“Yes. In case I need to be sick again.”
“Nice one Holly.”
I quickly find a bag capable of suffocating a small child, i.e. one without safety holes in the bottom, or leakage holes, as I prefer to call them, and stuff it into the depths of my handbag. Just, y’know, in case...

I rule out taking the subway (being trapped in a tunnel when you need to vom is not a good look) and plump for a cab.
At least I can jump out in an emergency.
Or wind down a window at the very least.
Half way into the cab journey and I’ve already wound the window down.
Only for the breeze of course.
I barely make it to the gallery bathrooms in time.
And sadly, in the States, toilet cubicles are not very private.
Oh well.
Maybe people will think I have morning sickness and will feel sorry for me.
No, I think I’d rather people thought that I was hungover than pregnant.
Do I look fat?

The hipster shows up.
I feel rough.
He claims he also feels rough.
I reckon I can win the “who feels the roughest” contest, but decide that this may not be a competition I want to win. Or at least brag about winning.
I then feel compelled to tell him that if I suddenly run off, fear not, I’m not abandoning him, I’m just going to be sick.
God. I disgust myself at times.
Thankfully I don’t end up running off.
Of course, this means that I shared that information for nothing.

We move listlessly through the museum, which turns out to be a bit like the Wallace Collection in London. I highly recommend that you do not visit this place hungover. It won’t help you and frankly, you won’t help it.

We headed out into the fresh air and walked across to Central Park.
Walking through the park, we saw a number of tents.
Ooo. What’s that? Is there a festival on?
No, it looks more like a marathon.
It’s the Colon Cancer Challenge 15km run.
Seems to be over, thank god.
Don’t think I could bear to be surrounded by sweaty healthy jogger types. That would be too much to bear.
But look. What’s that?
A blow-up tunnel.

The hipster suggests we walk through it. We get closer. It appears to be a colon.
A giant, infected, inflatable colon.
I’m instantly impressed that he also thinks that it would be funny to walk through this.
Although as soon as we start looking at the inflatable growths on the inflatable colon, my stomach starts doing flip-flop manoeuvres. I indicate that I’ve probably seen enough and we head back into the sunshine.

And I don’t get sick.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Close encounters of the New York kind - part 1

I met him on the subway.
Well not really on the subway, on the platform to be precise. He was walking along with some friends and I asked them where the interchange was. They pointed me towards the end of the platform and that was that.
In typical New York style, the change between subway lines proved less easy than it looked. After exiting the station, I walked three blocks (get me, with my Noo Yoik lingo) to the interchange station, only to be told that I didn’t have the right type of ticket to change lines (?) and that I needed to buy a new one. “That’s the spirit”, I thought to myself, “Fuck over the tourists who are spending money in your city.” This was the brown-icing on the shit-cake of a day I was having. As I headed to the ticket machine, I saw him again with his friends, entering the station. We smiled as we passed each other.
After much faffing on my part, I finally got myself to the Guggenheim, joining the snaking queue of canny people who know the times different museums offer ‘pay what you wish’ deals. (I had hit up MOMA the night before.) As I drifted along in my line, I saw him again. “You made it!” he called across. His friends looked puzzled, wondering who the hell he was talking to. “It’s the girl from the subway.” I waved and carried on.
From the top floor of the spiraled gallery, I looked down to survey the building design and the weaving crowds of ant-like people making their way around the space. And then, I saw him again, just one floor down. And with that, he looked up and saw me too.
I waved.
He waved.
This was now incredibly embarrassing and a tad corny. But it was also kind of cool, because it was the kind of thing that happens in a really predictable rom-com yet never happens in real life. Until now. (It’s best to not read those last two lines in a cheesy movie trailer voice-over style. Thanks.)
I strolled down to meet him. We started talking. I gave him my sob-story (the friend I was staying with had been struck down with flu-like symptoms and was confined to bed, so I could either stay in her flat weeping or roam the city alone. I chose loner option no.2). He replied with “Well we’re just hanging if you want to hang out with us” (or another Americanism to that effect), and I said “Sure, if that’s ok with you”, and then he introduced me to his friends.
So then we hung out in Brooklyn. And drank...quite a lot actually but more on that later...and then, and then, and the end of the evening he walked me to a cab and offered to meet at the Frick Museum the following day at midday, so I wouldn’t have to spend Sunday in New York on my lonesome. And with that, I sped back to Manhattan.
To be continued...