So on Friday morning I had a hot date with a little someone I like to call Sleeping In. I got up at 10:15. I cannot remember the last time I slept that late without having been up with the stomach flu or a raging case of post nasal drip the night before. It was fantastic. Kristin lives about two seconds from the George Washington Bridge which, aside from taking one into New Jersey, apparently provides gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. It sounded like the perfect late morning walk. I put on a short sleeve shirt, black slip on shoes and my dress pants with the intention of catching the subway on my way back and heading downtown for the rest of the day. I walked outside and immediately turned around and walked back in. It was raining and it was cold. I opted to trade out my short sleeve shirt for a sweater. I had an umbrella and it was merely drizzling so I decided that a brisk walk was still in order. I walked the seven city blocks from the apartment to the entrance to the pedestrian sidewalk. Once up on top of the bridge I realized that my idea might not have been the most clever. It was quite chilly and the wind was insane. I had to lean sideways to avoid being blown into the guardrail. As far as providing me with breathtaking views of New York City, well, let's just say that it was so foggy I could barely see the other side of the bridge so taking the time to stop and smell the skyscrapers was out of the question. Being that I was alone up there I started talking out loud to myself.
Maybe you should turn around. It's pretty windy up here. Heck no. You're just moments away from adding another state to the list. What the, holy crud...
My umbrella bent and blew and popped out and then back in and then nearly blew out of my hands while one of the spokes jabbed me in the face. Still, I pressed on. I was about halfway across when I realized that this was a horribly stupid decision. Had it been a nice day it would have been a wonderful stroll but standing halfway between New York and New Jersey with ridiculous winds blowing me toward the guardrail, I decided that the trek was anything but wonderful. I looked behind me. I could turn around and be back in just a few minutes. I looked in front of me. I could keep going and be in New Jersey in just a few minutes. Once there I could find a coffee shop, get dry, and catch a bus or call a cab to take me back. Nevermind that I had done zero research on what I would find within walking distance at the other end of the bridge. I pressed on. I could feel the back of my pants getting soaked and my purse, which did not have the benefit of the umbrella, was dripping. I made it across, touched the side of a very beautiful, very green, very wet, New Jersey cliff, looked up and saw a park area that would have been a great place to sit and stare at New York had the sun been out, and continued on in search of my coffee shop. Suddenly and quite without warning, the pedestrian path ended in a series of construction tape and manholes. I stood in the rain, my umbrella blowing in all sorts of unfortunate directions, and stared at the complete lack of a pathway. I had literally been deposited straight onto the New Jersey turnpike.
This is not good. Told you. Well, you'd better turn around and go back. But I am soaked and freezing. And apparently also borderline schizophrenic.
I peered in every direction, looking for somewhere I could get out of the rain. Here is where researching what was on the other end of the bridge would have come in handy. Here is also where it would have been good to have turned around halfway across the bridge. I temporarily considered hitchhiking. I decided I'd have a very angry husband, a livid father, and a friend back in the city who would probably call off the friendship if I tried to pull such a shenanigan. I turned and faced the bridge. Wind hit my face so hard I almost flew backward. I realized that, on the way over, the wind had been at my back, pushing me forward. Now it was playing defense. I didn't stand much of a chance. My umbrella caved in. I closed it. What was the point? I stepped onto the bridge and got shoved into the guardrail that only went about as high as my hip. Death by being thrown off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River did not sound like the way to go. Sitting down in the rain and wind and catching my death of pneumonia didn't sound too good either. The GWB is about 9/10 of a mile long. I prayed that God would help me cover the distance faster than I could on my own. I considered running but what with the black slip on shoes I didn't think it was a particularly good idea. By the time I reached the center of the bridge, my pants were so wet they were falling off from the weight. Believe me when I say that they could not have been wetter had I decided to take a swim in the Hudson. They could have been as wet, but not wetter. They were at maximum capacity. My shoes were like two tiny swamps and my heels were aching with the assurance that the blisters I had conjured up the day before had ruptured. My sweater was soaked straight through. My hair was clinging to my face and neck. I was shaking violently. About three quarters of the way a car pulled over and honked. I didn't look toward it because I know, if I had, I would have seen the dry people inside and climbed in. Again with the angry friends and family members. I figured it was better to be wet and in the rain than wet and in a car and possibly raped and murdered. It was probably a really nice person who wanted to help the poor drowned rat. It's just that it might have been a kidnapper.
On the way to New Jersey I passed two men on bicycles. On the way to New York I passed no one. Not a soul. Unless you count the two guards at either end of the bridge who sat inside their little shelter looking at me like I'd fully cracked up. By the time I got back to Kristin's apartment I looked like I was convulsing I was shaking so violently. My hands were so numb it took me forever to properly work the key. I realized that, amidst all the rain covering my face, it was also covered in snot. I peeled my clothing off and discovered that my under garments were also water logged. It took a good ten minutes of standing in the shower to regain feeling in my fingers. I used the blow dryer on my shoes and my bra. I put new clothes on. I could have turned around on several occasions. I could have taken a bus or a ferry to begin with. I could have made sure there was something on the other side. I could have called someone and had them call me a cab. Instead I walked nearly two miles in a torrential downpour, blowing precariously close to the edge of what would have been almost certain death, just to say I stepped foot in New Jersey.
After that little fiasco I went downtown. I bought bandaids for my poor little heels. It was still pouring down rain and I went into FAO Schwartz. Having walked a few blocks from the subway station I was soaking once again. I spent an hour in the toy store waiting for the rain to let up. I was about ready to get on a plane and fly back to Salt Lake City. It was then that I determined that I quite love New York City when the weather is nice. New York City in the rain, however, is a horrid experience. FAO Schwartz when you have very nearly frozen to death and are missing your toddler is also not the best of stores. The rain did relax a little though and I was able to walk the few blocks to Rockefeller Center. I spent another hour browsing the stores there before meeting Kristin at the Helen Hayes Theatre to get our Xanadu tickets. Then we stuffed ourselves silly at John's Pizzeria before our show started. Xanadu, it was decided, was like an acid trip without actually dropping acid. I have never participated in any kind of drug experience so I have no idea what a drug trip is actually like--nor do I want to. But this show was so bizarre, so oddly hilarious, so fantastically 80's that I kind of felt as though I had taken some kind of mind altering substance. The understudy, Patti Murin, played the lead female and she was obviously so happy to be appearing as Clio/Kira that it just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even if the girl behind me did throw her light stick at the back of my head at the end. Patti Murin lists, on her official resume, the ability to burp on cue as a talent. I, too, can burp on cue but never thought of it as something I should list on my theatrical resume. That alone is enough to make me love her wildly.
We had hot chocolates at Europan after the show and headed back to the apartment after midnight. It was only drizzling and the frozen, drenched escapades from earlier were just a memory of a time I decided to be an idiot...
Stay tuned for part three~