New York, New York

Monday, February 13, 2012

I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do first.

Take a picture of myself eating a two pound cookie from here?

Use my phone to flip through Urbanspoon to see what random little deli had the best matzo ball soup?

Tweet my location from Central Park or that Valentines chocolate shop (and eat insanely delicious sweet and savory pies) in the southside seaport?

I was going to New York with no agenda, no children, and as it turns out, no phone. More on that in a minute.

The trip was a godsend. A lovely girl who has become a good friend invited me to tag along on her girls' getaway, and just like that, I had my ticket out of Memphis, the big city fix I'd long been craving, and my very first trip away from baby. Caleb and my mom were both amazing enough to take fulltime baby duties so I could have a quick breather, and Friday I was off to the airport. I'd picked up a cheap computer/carryon bag, a knockoff of a leather anthropologie bag I'd been drooling over, packed a carryon rolly suitcase, and I was ready to go.

Except when I walked out to the car, bags and keys in hand, I realized it just wouldn't do to spend one and 1/2 days in NYC with a cheap looking bag as my purse. So I marched back inside, switched to my old but still lovely leather bag, and promptly left behind my phone at the house.

I realized my mistake when I pulled into the airport parking lot. I just sat there, staring at my bag in dumb shock. I had no idea what to do. There was no time to go back home and get it. I was meeting my friend in the city, and I now had no way to contact her. I was supposed to call her when I landed to get our destination address. I didn't have her number anywhere on my person. That's why we have phones! I was supposed to meet another friend at a concert in a park later that night. How the hell was I supposed to track her down? How did we ever function, let alone leave the house, without our mini handheld computer/phone/cameras?

How did we survive the eighties?

I ran inside the airport and headed straight for the bank of payphones that for some reason are still exist - and work! - in the main terminal. I had just enough quarters to make one phone call, and being out of practice, I let it go to voicemail, eating my only quarters and my only chance to get through to Caleb before he left for work. It sounds stupid now, but my next move was to try and switch to an afternoon flight. I'd be taking a serious chunk out of my already super short trip, but how else could I contact my hostess? The truly helpful agent and the many $$$ we discussed talked me out of it, and I made my way to the terminal, scrounging quarters from the giftshop and trying to find working payphones to call Caleb again, a much trickier task out in the A terminal hinterlands. In the meantime, my name kept being announced over the PA system, and I finally made my way to the gate agent who gave me a very important message: my husband called. I should call him back.


I sat at the gate, sweating and furious with myself. The plane was minutes from boarding, so I did the only thing I could think of. Smile wide and ask a stranger if I could borrow her phone. She very kindly did, and Caleb thankfully answered. He'd already texted my friend to inform her that I left my phone and brain behind, and then I wrote my friend's number on my hand, because clearly I was a grownup ready for her big trip to the city.

As the plane touched down, my lovely seatmate let me borrow his phone to call my friend. I got the address, a big sigh of relief, and confirmation that sometimes it is a life affirming thing to depend on the kindness of strangers.

There was lots of eating and lots of walking. There was a broadway show (Stockard Channing! Justin Kirk!) and Eataly and late night dinners. There was snow and a borrowed blue fedora that garnered many a compliment from NYC shopgirls. I had no map, no camera, no way to tweet my thoughts about Strawberry Fields or Bergdorf's "sale" section or that perfect pasta I ate Saturday night while wearing my favorite pink dress.

And maybe that was the point.

I wasn't able to take any photos of my time in New York. That's okay. I captured the best part of the trip, which was the coming home.



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