M. Giant's
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Friday, July 18, 2003  

New York Stories, Part Five

I want to sincerely thank my wife Trash and her friends CorpKitten and Chao for sharing their stories this week. Can you say “thank you,” class?

Oh, and don’t worry. I haven’t been slacking off this whole time. I’ve been using the time off to write and edit a novel, which I’ll begin serializing next week.

Now over to Chao.

The day [June 11] started with a huge wake-up kiss and tag-team action from CorpKitten and Trash. Oh wait, that was still in drunken dreamland. What really happened was CorpKitten left quietly (for her) and Trash and Chao slept, in separate rooms still, until at least eleven or twelve. [it was 10:30, and then STILL in separate rooms, just to clarify –Trash] They quickly realized they must check out and do rapid-fire sightseeing or they wouldn’t see much else of NYC.

They went down to the check out desk and asked the Super Mario Brothers if they’d hold their luggage while they toured the city. They were cooperative and held the stuff, in what actually turned out to be a secure room. Who would’a thunk it?

Trash and Chao score a taxi and head to Chinatown. Let me just say everyone who told me how cool NYC’s Chinatown was is a putz. It was not impressive. Yes, there were Asian people galore, but if I was walking through NYC’s Chinatown, I may not even realize I’m in Chinatown. Just blah. (Consider the three of us had been to San Francisco’s Chinatown the previous year and it was waaaaaay cooler than NYC – closer to Asia you see…) So Chao’s main mission in Chinatown was to score some obscure and cheap videos/DVDs down on Canal Street. So the cab drops us off on Canal Street randomly and Trash and Chao start walking. Whoops, we go two blocks and run out of Chinatown. See, I told you it was impressive. So head down a block and go back up Canal Street. Cross the street and go a block and run out of Chinatown. At this point, both comment on how bad this place blows. [Chao is right. I first saw it when I was in 10th grade, and then it rocked. But now? Kinda generic, really –Trash]

Trash and Chao then find themselves in Little Italy, which butts up against Chinatown without any transition between Asians and their distant relatives, the Italians. They stop at a quaint little Italian restaurant café for some “real” Italian food. Note here that Chao was just in Italy, not a month ago, so he’s down with “authentic” Italian food. And believe it or not, it was pretty darn close (and wonderful food). After dinner, Limoncello was ordered – a traditional after-dinner liquor. They say it helps you digest your food (because it’s pure grain alcohol with lemon juice in it, about 80 proof). Trash’s face curls up with the sourness then she cries because it burns so bad. Wussy. [OK – yes, I did make a face. But damn! Have you ever tasted that crap? And of course, he keeps swearing that it is all wonderful, when it tastes like something a lemon puked up. -Trash] So Chao downs his Limoncello and then asks Trash if she’s going to finish hers. No? [HELL no –Trash] Then consider it drank, drunk, or drinked. Two little shots of this stuff doesn’t seem like much, but alas, it makes one stagger when one stands up, seriously. Great stuff. I highly recommend it!

Trash and Chao head back to Canal Street to track down some video and DVD items. Chao is into weird films: B-flicks, Kung-fu, and porn. So the search is on. Porn galore in Chinatown, but in comparison to San Fran, it’s lame stuff. Feature films with faked-out starlets and a weak attempt at acting. Not for Chao. Down and dirty, don’t even bother talking is what porn was meant to be. They just don’t have it – what gives, New York? Disappointed, to say the least, Chao makes Trash feel more comfortable by not looking for porn, but looking for kung-fu movies. We’re in Chinatown, right? Asians=kung-fu, right? Well, you would think so.

Disclaimer: Chao is 100% NON-RACIST. Sure a couple of stereotypical funny comments arise once in a while, but with a name like Chao, how could he not love the Asian community? Remember, non-racist…. But what I’m about to say may shock a few people.

Chao has difficulty giving merit to the opinion of a West Indian man when it comes to kung-fu movies. There I said it, and it’s not racist at all. But the gentleman kept pointing to random kung-fu movies on the shelf and then trying to pronounce the names of the film. Granted, Caucasian folk aren’t the “Lee Van Cleef” of martial arts film recommendations, but at least berating and belittling a Caucasian clerk would have been worth it in the long run. Chao asked for Samurai films with Zatoichi and clerk X shows him Sidekicks with Chuck Norris. Trash seemed to think this was the best store ever since the clerk showed her where to sit and wait for Chao to finish perusing. But alas, it was too frustrating for Chao. A quick exit made everyone feel better. [No, not everyone. One of us was sitting happily on an upside down container that the very nice West Indian man had provided for her in front of a fan. It was 98 degrees outside. I could have stayed there for YEARS! –Trash]

Trash and Chao then headed to Ground Zero. No witty comments here, as it is a controversial topic. Needless to say, the complex surrounding Ground Zero was something you need to experience to fully comprehend it. Construction has begun and spirits are up, though.

The pair then headed to find a restroom. Starbucks sounded alright. Trash made Chao stand in line and order for her while she hit the restroom. While in line Chao orders for Trash and then gets a Rice Krispie treat for himself. Trash exits the bathroom and they close it for cleaning. I don’t know what Trash did in there, but apparently it required serious manpower. They set up two armchairs in front of the door and then three people with hazmat suits went in with hoses. Pretty serious stuff. [Oh, right, Chao – aren’t you forgetting the three people who went in after me? Hmm?] So Chao waits, and waits, and waits. Bladder pressure mounting. Waiting. Waiting. Chao unwraps the Rice Krispie treat and is about to take a bite when Trash snatches it out of his hands (she’s got sharing issues). Then as a polite gesture, Trash decides to break off a small portion to give the whimpering Chao. She holds it like she’s breaking a pencil, commences breaking process, and …. BOOM!!! This RK treat explodes in a shower of rice bits and dust! It was so dry, and brittle, it was like they made the thing with nitroglycerine. And I’m totally serious here, people THREE tables away are picking rice bits out of their hair, coffee, and books, while Trash and Chao bang on the table laughing so hard. It was a classic Starbucks moment. Oh, and the restroom thing, they weren’t finished cleaning it by the time Chao and Trash left.

Right next to Starbucks is a “discount” DVD shop. Chao excitedly runs in and heads for the bargain bin. Think about this: the bargain bin at a discount DVD store. Yeah, that’s right, top quality stuff… and some porn thrown in for good measure. Trash is amused by all the titles and pulling the cases out and repeating the name like 2-year-old saying, “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom.” until she answers. She seemed fixated on a film called EEGAH! Yes that’s the title. [That title ROCKS! –Trash] There’s a review of it on www.badmovies.org. So she’s chanting this over and over and over, making all of the people in the store crack up and want to sign her up for Special Olympics, or at least the reunion episode of Life Goes On. Chao purchases Rowdy Roddy Piper’s finest work, Hell Comes to Frogtown, and a copy of Cannibal: the Musical for Trash and M. Giant to share. [Thanks, dude. That movie is outstanding —M. Giant] It’s been an excellent shopping adventure. but no, he wouldn’t even accept EEGAH! As a gift. Bastard. –Trash)

Did I mention Chao hadn’t found a bathroom at this point yet?

Chao and Trash head across the street to City Hall Park, where there is a protest going on. This is where it gets amusing. The protest is about two hundred cabbies protesting the fact that the city police give them tickets. Yeah, that’s right. They think speeding tickets and parking tickets are for “other people”. So the presidents of all of NYC cabbie unions are present and inciting hatred for the city. The Caribbean cabbie union, the South African cabbie union, the Puerto Rican cabbie union, the Mexican cabbie union, as well as many others were all representin’ and chanting. That’s right. At one point a rather large African-American woman is up on the stage (yes, a stage) and swearing (which we also thought was funny), and stamping her foot. She the busts into this chant: “We don’t eat what we don’t like!” All two hundred people start chanting with her for 15 seconds or so until you can see the look of shock on their faces when they realize their chant has nothing at all to do with anything. This, on top of the fact that the chant-starter looks like there isn’t much that she doesn’t like to eat. Then she says, and I’ll paraphrase, “The cabbies in this city run this town. We can bring this city to it’s knees!!! We’ll just walk out of here and leave them helpless.” Then another chant: “Hell no, we won’t go!”. The funny part is that people actually chant that in public. The really really funny part is that she just said they were walking out, but not they’re not going, hell no. Hilarious!!! Then a Hispanic gentleman hops up on stage and begin speaking and then he busts into a chant (in Spanish), to which everyone begins following (in Spanish) until they too realize they have no idea what they are chanting. It was truly classic stuff. Trash and Chao sat in the park for about 30 minutes listening to this hilarity. [Well, we believed them when they said “hell no, we won’t go.” –Trash]

No restroom yet, remember?

Then Chao and Trash find the nearest Starbucks on the way back to Chinatown and use the restroom. Chao went first in case there was some sort of “issue” with Trash using the restroom first, like at the last one.

At this point, both Trash and Chao are exhausted so they hop a cab back to the hotel in Midtown since they both have planes to catch. The plan, which actually panned out for once, was to take the cab back to the hotel and make him wait for us to run in and grab the luggage and then head to the airport. No problem. Cab back to hotel, good. Waiting for luggage, good. Cab off to the airport, good. Rain, not so good. As soon as we get across whatever body of water you must cross from the good part of NYC to get to the ‘hood, it starts pouring. Serious rain, like as in hail bouncing off the hood of our cab. Big hail. It’s raining so hard, the cabbie puts on the hazards and is driving 20 mph on the interstate. I didn’t think that was possible unless there was heavy traffic, but we were one of the few cars on the road because of the storm. It was eerie. And how’s this for anti-climactic: Nothing happened. We made it to the airport and left. See? How painful was that whole adventure? [Makes y’all want to be cool librarians like us, doesn’t it? – Trash]

Yes. Yes, it does. See you all next week. –M. Giant

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