Things That Happened To Me In New York

Think of some things that give you a sinking feeling. Here, I'll help you out: pouring yourself a nice cup of coffee and discovering you're out of half and half. Shutting the front door behind you and realizing you've forgotten your keys. Getting ready to pay the taxi driver in rush hour in the middle of Manhattan and not being able to find your wallet in your purse. Ooh, did that last one make you shiver with horror? Welcome to last Thursday night!

There I was, see, on my way to a party my pal Maggie was throwing at the Ace Hotel. I'd come in on a redeye that morning, had lunch with my in-laws in Connecticut, napped somewhat awkwardly on their couch---I'm not the most comfortable napper at the best of times, let alone when I'm worried about drooling on my mother-in-law's pillows---and taken the train in to the city with Sean that afternoon. I'd exchanged my sweaty clothes for some slightly less sweaty ones---New York was hovering around 95 degrees last Thursday, a steep forty degree incline from the chilly breezes I'd left behind in San Francisco---and hopped into a cab to head downtown. On the way, I chatted amiably with the cab driver as he casually tried to kill me. I debated setting up an impromptu Foursquare account so that when I perished in a gory automobile accident, someone could at least trace my whereabouts via GPS and send an ambulance.

Eventually, the cab pulled up a block away from the hotel---the cabbie refused to take me to the front door; I'm assuming it was something to do with a one-way street and not the fact that he didn't want to be seen with me in such a hip establishment---and I reached for my wallet to pay. This is where you should insert a thunderclap of doom.

My wallet wasn't in my purse.

Picture me: sweaty, late, my hair doing some unfortunate flicking-up thing, and the world's most irritated cab driver staring me down in rush hour traffic while I scrabbled through my bag. "It's in here somewhere!" I promised, my voice rising desperately. "I had it.....I swear I had it! Oh god, I'm sorry! This is awful! Can I take your number and meet you somewhere you later?"

"No," said the cabbie. "You have to pay now."

(How useful! Why, let me just pay you with this invisible money right here. Oh alright then, here's my wallet, I was just kidding around, seeing if I could get the ride for free. You got me, buddy! Guilty as charged!)

I continued scrabbling through my bag. Did I perhaps have an emergency twenty stuffed in a crevice somewhere for occasions like this one? Would the wallet just magically appear if I cursed loudly enough, perhaps in several languages? No and no, it seemed. But hey, I tried.

And then finally, mercifully, just as I was about to call Sean and see if he could take his own cab through rush hour traffic to wave his credit card in my face, a woman appeared outside the taxi window. She wanted my cab. Sure, no problem, I promised her,  although could she just wait a second while I scoured my empty bag a fifty-sixth time and said a quick prayer to St. Anthony? I was close to tears at this point, a little panicked, and apparently it was starting to show.

"Listen," said the woman. "Just let me pay your cab fare."

Oh, I protested of course. I protested long and hard---You couldn't possibly! It's awfully kind, but honestly, no. I couldn't take your money!---but it was hot and it was rush hour and my cab was the only empty one for blocks around, and this woman wanted it, thirteen dollar surcharge courtesy of the Crazy Wallet-Forgetting Lady be damned. "Really," she said, "just let me pay it. I hope you find your wallet."

Internet, do not let anyone tell you that New Yorkers are a brusque, unfeeling bunch. This lady saved my bacon, and she wouldn't even give me her business card so I could mail her a check once I got home. "It's just a favor," she said, and I carried that with me all weekend, trying to repay it to someone else.

When I got to the party, I called Sean (who located my errant wallet on the hotel room nightstand), borrowed twenty bucks from Zan for the return journey, and drank enough champagne to turn the whole thing into a mildly amusing anecdote at my own expense.  It wasn't hard, that last part. There was a whole bathtub full. 

The rest of my weekend in New York wasn't quite so fraught, thank goodness, and I spent it with so many wonderful people, some of whom I'd met before but don't get to see often enough, and some of whom I just felt like I'd met before because I've been reading their words for years. It's funny, this blogging thing, isn't it? We make these friends inside the computer, follow their lives as though reading a novel in serialization, and then one day we meet them and we think yes! It's you! You're exactly how I thought you'd be! 

My whole set of pictures from New York is here, but here are just a few that tell the tale:

 It was lovely meeting you. And you and you and you.

Aug 11, 2010

Be sure to pay it forward. Awful nice of the lady, that cabbie should have been a little more understanding. Looks like you had a nice time!

Sarah Brown
Aug 11, 2010

It's been my experience in New York, over and over again, that while New Yorkers have a reputation for being rude, they're really usually just BUSY, and time and time again have stopped to help me in ways that went above and beyond the call of just being a decent fellow human being. I'm glad you had the same experience!

Aug 11, 2010

Yes, I second what Sarah said. New Yorkers, while maybe not possessing the warm hospitality of our friends in the south, are kind and generous of heart and will leap over small building to help out a stranger ina bind. Glad everything worked out for you and that your wallet wasn't lost-lost!

Melanie D
Aug 11, 2010

Fun post - looked like a fun night! I'm so glad you shared the cab story, what a nice ending to something that could've been just horrible! I'll bet you obsessively wallet-checked the rest of the weekend, yes?

Aug 11, 2010

Misplacing a wallet is a very terrible feeling. Just this past weekend in fact, I lost my wallet in a bus in NYC. I was returning from a weekend away and had to trek 40 blocks with my bags since I lost my cash, credit card, and subway pass.

Fortunately a nice boy found it, found me on facebook, and returned my walltet with everything (even my coupon to Starbucks) in tact!

Sometimes you just get lucky I guess.

Aug 11, 2010

As a New Yorker very protective of her city, I was worried that the Descending of the Bloggers would result in many a post about what's wrong with this city (and oh, there are a lot of things wrong. Including the fact that we do not have a climate of gentle breezes and perpetual 70 degree sunshine. If only).

I'm glad to see that one of our own helped you out when you were in a bind. As Sarah said, we ARE busy, but usually not too busy to assist someone with directions, a reminder that only the taxis with the middle light on will stop for you or, yes, a cab fare. As a result, that person will usually go back home and say "wow, New Yorkers are actually quite nice!" It's like we're doing PR for our own city. (We'll take the check any day now, Bloomberg.)

Glad you had a terrific time!

Aug 11, 2010

Oh hurrah! I'll admit I was worried as Laney was that New York would be judged sweaty, rude and insane by our visiting sisterhood - particularly if people didn't leave midtown! - so I'm glad to hear that you saw a really common side of all this piled-on-top-of-each-other-ness, which is that we're pretty readily there for each other in a pinch.

Also, it was so great to finally meet you even briefly!

Aug 11, 2010

Can I again say how impressed I am with Sean that he remembered meeting me TWO WHOLE YEARS AGO? He's a keeper.

Aug 11, 2010

I think your site eats my comments. Sob!

To try again before this one disappears, it was super lovely to meet you (finally!) and next time I hope we get more of a chance to really talk.

Aug 11, 2010

Also, the cab story made me want to throw up. Scrabbling through your purse and not finding your wallet -- panic sweat! I agree with Sarah about New Yorkers -- we're rushed and abrupt but reliable and responsive when someone's in a bind.

Aug 11, 2010

Losing your wallet is the all time stomach turning worst dreams it means losing your identity...oh wait it means the same thing in the awake world...
As my go to person for all things travel looking forward to more NY stories. I'll be there in Sept for the first time and I have a list of things I must do--that keeps changing. BTW I totally love the photo of the steps "Everything is going to be alright" where is that!???

Aug 11, 2010

That's the kind of thing that warms your heart all the way to your toes. (Yes, I realize that made no sense, but I think you know what I mean.)

Aug 11, 2010

What Sarah said. The only thing that makes me weary here is when people get SO BUSY with their own lives that they forget to slow down and appreciate everything around them. Or when they start to forget that other people exist here too. Still, for the most part, New Yorkers do get a way worse rap than they deserve.

Also, I'm starting to think that the picture of me above is an exact replica of the face the transvestite makes when Shannen Doherty hands her/him a party invitation in Girls Just Wanna Have Fun:

Aug 11, 2010

I love seeing you again! And Sean! You two are so adorable! I'm glad we got to chat for a bit at the bar on Saturday!

I agree that I don't believe New Yorkers to be rude, they just move at a faster pace than the rest of us.

Sarah Brown
Aug 11, 2010

I would just like to thank everyone in this comment thread for saying "I agree with Sarah" so many times. Wonderful for my self esteem. Drinks for everyone!

Aug 11, 2010

I'm glad your story had a happy ending, but what I really need to say is that I have now read the words "saved my bacon," a phrase which heretofore I have neither seen nor heard, TWICE IN ONE DAY.

That funny little turn of phrase appears not only in this blog entry, but also in the 1948 mystery novel "The Franchise Affair" by Josephine Tey (which if you haven't read I highly recommend that you do), right there on page 203.

I love little coincidences like that - almost as much as I love stories about the inherent good in people. Hooray for nice New Yorkers!

Aug 11, 2010

I was in NY as well this last weekend (not for BlogHer though) and many people gave me their seats on the Subway when they saw my huge pregnant belly... I too was impressed with the kindness of strangers.

Aug 11, 2010

Way to restore my faith in New Yorkers! I lived there and was a perfectly nice New Yorker myself but years of living in other places and hearing nothing but bad raps for them sort of poisons your mind after a while!

Aug 11, 2010

I have to go to BlogHer next year - this looked like so much fun and I was in NYC the weekend before...
the wallet story made me nervous for you! i can't imagine being in that situation - glad a friendly New Yorker helped you out! (in my experience, New York City dwellers are WAY nicer than many of the people you'll meet down here in the supposedly friendly south...)

Aug 13, 2010

so happy NY came through for you. I find it is a City of extremes - very little middle ground. That being said, I was very happy to meet me you Saturday night.

Aug 13, 2010

Hope to be at BlogHer next year and would love to have a cup of tea.

Oct 28, 2010

or nanny really do i technomaRine maori mrm52n or nanny really do i repLica corum

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