Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New York State of Mind

I'm finally back to posting again, apologies for the long delay. I didn't get back home from New York until early in the morning on Saturday, then drove to Houston and back on Sunday for my sister's graduation. More to come in the days ahead, but I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on my trip to the Big City.

  • I was immediately reminded of my favorite Dave Barry quote (paraphrased):
    I recently returned from New York City, where under the Universal Vehicle Code I learned it is illegal to sound your horn except to convey one of the following three Emergency Messages:

    1. The light is green.
    2. The light is red.
    3. I hate you.

  • Riding in a cab in New York City is akin to surfing. You flow around obstacles, surging along with the momentum behind you, constantly feeling as if you're an instant away from toppling into the rocks.

  • Wandering aimlessly down Broadway looking forlorn and helpless is not a good way to hail a cab. Apparently some kind of action is necessary beyond a wistful longing. Who knew?

  • As I passed by Madison Square Garden, I was awed by the thought that this little island already full of millions of people additionally carts in thousands and thousands of more people for huge events like basketball games, concerts, plays, and more every single day. Unreal.

  • The hotel room was $330 a night, which was the cheap rate, and it was about the size of two king size beds. Literally. The layout was pretty chic, though, it reminded me a lot of my nephew Nick's photos of his Hong Kong apartment -- everything in the unique best place for it, without a wasted inch. I like good design, and that room was the quintessence of ergonomic, compact design.

  • It is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between Times Square and the Las Vegas Strip. For a moment there I thought I had teleported myself across the country.

  • Continental Airlines continued its unprecedented streak of never once getting me out of an airport on time or without some other sort of foul up. The plane left New York an hour late, yet we arrived only five minutes late in Austin. Why? The pilot said they had "shortcuts and overages" included in the flight plans because that flight left late so often. Here's an idea -- why not run your airline right in the first place and you don't have to build in slack knowing that you're going to screw it up? Give Southwest a call, they seem to have figured this out nicely. Maybe that's why they make a profit every year.

  • I saw Bill Russell, arguably the greatest center in NBA history, in the New York airport, not three feet from me! I have GOT to get a camera in my phone. I'd have asked for his autograph or something, but he was being escorted by a five foot three inch blond woman who looked like she could've kicked my ass, so I didn't.

  • New York is an amazing place, full of spirit and energy and some of the best food in the entire world, all literally just blocks away. I don't know if I could ever live there, but I can see what makes it appealing to people.

What really struck me during the whole trip is how adaptable humans are. People are just people, wherever you go and however they live, whether it's on a hundred acres in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by donkeys and horses, or in one of the biggest cities in the world where literally millions of people live in a few square miles. But regardless, we all have the same dreams and hopes, the same longing to be free and live our lives as we wish, the same dreads and despairs, the same needs and desires.

It's now where you live, it's what you do with that life that really matters.

Well, that and having a camera phone so you can record your brushes with greatness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you either hate the big city or you love it. Nick loves the bright lights and all the action, and I had to laugh at your analogy of riding through traffic like you're on a surfboard. That happens in Houston except all the surfboards have a gun strapped to them and a forever-in-place one-finger salute. Can't wait to hear more details about the trip!! -- Denise