M. Giant's
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Tuesday, March 25, 2003  

Hey, New York subway system? I get it, okay? I have gotten it through my head that despite the fact that you glide so smoothly underneath the stop-and-start gridlock of Manhattan streets, time does actually pass between my descent into and emergence from your echoing bowels. I get it. You don’t have to watch me appear on your Cathedral Street Station platform that I have all to myself and then strand me there while at the rate of two or three people per minute, the entire population of the Upper West Side joins me in peering hopefully up the tunnel. Duke Ellington told me to take the A-Train, damn you, and you’re not helping. I’ll even take a C, I don’t care. But don’t think I don’t know that you’re hoarding all the trains up in North Harlem, because I’ve seen enough of them going in that direction that their accumulated weight is probably threatening to tip the Battery clean up out of the river. I gave myself 45 minutes to travel seven miles, an unheard-of measure for a chronically late person like myself, and I don’t appreciate the way you’re forcing me back into a habit I’m actively trying to resist. I can just hear myself whining, “My train was late,” and even I don’t believe it. So that’s bad enough. But then, when you finally get me to 14th Street so I can switch to the L, which I do, you make me sit there on a motionless train for another eon or so. The train isn’t even on, or running, or whatever it is that subway trains do, and everybody else in the increasingly crowded car is spending their time looking at, looking at some more, and eventually winding their watches rather than talking to each other, so the only sound is that of additional geological layers being added somewhere overhead. And just when I start to think I’ve been buried alive in a huge mass coffin, the motor hums to life—then stops again. By this time I could have taken a cab to where I was going, taken one back, and walked back to my destination. On my buttcheeks.

I don’t think I could live in New York. The pace is too slow for me.

It turned out okay, of course, because they didn’t exactly dock me points for tardiness when I finally arrived; I wasn’t the last one there by any stretch. And I got to meet and hang out with some very cool people. It’s always fun to meet other Damn Hell Ass Kings in person. At least, it has been thus far. Maybe Pamie would beat me about the head and shoulders with a mop handle if I ever met her, but my past experiences with fellow DHAK-ites make that seem kind of unlikely. Or maybe that’s just what she wants me to think.

In any case, transit vagaries and Pamie’s violent tendencies aside, I had a very nice time in New York. Again. Lawre and her boyfriend (the latter of whose soon-to-be-published book you can and should pre-order here) were gracious and generous hosts; allowing me to crash on their futon for a couple of nights was only one of the many kindnesses they extended to me. For instance, they also introduced me to Shabu Shabu, a dining concept that would make me rich if I had the wherewithal to bring it to the Twin Cities. It’s like Mongolian Barbecue in that you pick your own ingredients, but instead of giving it to people who fry it up, you drop it yourself into a steaming soup pot built right into your table. The results are outstanding, provided you don’t screw it up for yourself—and if I managed to avoid that, you’ll do just fine. Now that I’ve said that, someone else in the Twin Cities can get rich off of it, and they’ll be getting rich from me eating there all the time, but the food is good enough that I won’t care. So get on that, idea thieves.

Our five-day visit in October seemed to fly by. This time I was out of the house for only sixty-four hours, but despite having gotten to spend time with friends old and new, as well as my younger sister, by Sunday evening I was eager to get home. The only explanation for that is that home was where Trash was. If she’d been with me I probably would have agitated to stay another week.

By the end of that week, I think my two-and-a-half days’ worth of clothes would have been stinky enough to walk home themselves. An observation that should in no way be interpreted as undercutting the romantic intent of the previous paragraph.

posted by M. Giant 3:48 PM 0 comments


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