8 April 2001

New York Retrospective

The business trip to New York happened on Tuesday. I tried just about everything I could think of to escape, short of gnawing my own leg off, but nothing worked. So I had to go.

The worst part was having to be at the office on Madison Ave for a meeting starting at 08:30. This meant getting up so early that it really should have counted as part of the previous night.

I tried to compensate by going to be ridiculously early on Monday. It almost worked—I was reasonably awake and capable of thought. However, I felt strangely detached from the universe; everything seemed somehow unreal. By the second meeting, I had a disturbing revelation—I became acutely aware that everyone in the room was American, except me. I thought I’d finished with that feeling some time ago, but sleep deprivation can apparently make it return.

By the start of the third meeting, I was flagging a bit. I looked for a can of Red Bull, but had to make do with Mountain Dew. In the event, I needn’t have bothered; the third meeting was a washout.

That evening we ate pretty good Mexican food at a really expensive Mexican restaurant. Central Park is still just as unimpressive as it has always been. Call me picky, but I think parks ought to be green, with flowers—not just brown wastelands scarred by roads, with scabs of grass. Not even the smell of horses can make it seem like countryside.

The comfort of the small hotel room was about what you’d expect from, say, a respectable motel chain. Unfortunately it was a big-name hotel located in the middle of Manhattan, and was therefore a lot noisier and about five times more expensive.

The taxi driver on the way back to LaGuardia was a comedy stereotype. He leaned on the horn repeatedly, seemingly confident of its ability to clear the road ahead of him. When it failed to do so, he yelled at the vehicles in his way instead. He sped down narrow streets, and at one point ran into the back of the car in front. When confronted by the driver, he brazenly explained that he had no idea how it had happened, that he’d had his foot on the brake and everything.

So all told, I had more than enough authentic New York flavor to last me until the next occasion when I’m dragged kicking and screaming back to the Big Sewer.

© mathew 2017