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Monday, July 14, 2003  

New York Stories, Part One

As I mentioned on Friday, I’m turning the blog over to some other people for the week. Trash and her friends and colleagues CorpKitten and Chao will be sharing the tale of their magnificent adventures in New York during last month’s Special Libraries Association conference. And for those of you whose minds seize up into cognitive dissonance vaporlock when you hear the words “librarian” and “adventure” in the same context, well, you must be new around here.

CorpKitten has the helm. Enjoy the ride.

Day One: Have a policeman hustled over to you at the airport because in your haste you forgot to remove what can only be called a wicked Swiss Army knife from your backpack. Explain you're a librarian going to a conference in NYC and smile charmingly. Get an appreciative once-over and a "Huh. They didn't make librarians like you back in my day." Make mental note that present outfit obviously harbors super powers and should be used only for good. [Well, and bad, but in a good way. –Trash] Smile all of the way to the plane minus a federal misdemeanor.

Liftoff from the sunny Midwest, only to land in what looks to be the penal colony from Aliens III. Clamber into transit bus and discover that the driver doesn't know where your hotel is and will drop you off "close by." Stand at the corner of 6th and 47th in downpour and decide that heading right is your best option. After two blocks, realize that left was really the better choice. Find hotel. Gallantly wave off bespectacled eastern European hottie who offers to help with suitcase. Get on elevator. Curse independent streak as primary reason am not presently mistress of a little-known duchy in Prague.

Find Trash on 7th floor. Commiserate over room's quaint interpretation of a garret. Go down to front desk to get new room. Get promised "better" room tomorrow by two oddly similar-looking men. Grieve that outfit has apparently lost all superpowers. [Well, with them, maybe. I was still impressed. –Trash] Head uptown to register for conference. Upon registration, find bar. Wander back to 49th Street and find conveniently placed Thai restaurant. Retire back to room. Pillow fight in frilly panties until 11:30, then straight to bed.

Day Two: Haul ass to the first of three conference hotels. Sit in icy conference room. Totally catch the guy next to me checking out my legs and then my ring finger, in that order. Grin innocently, confident the superpowers are back in force.

Wander around Times Square with Leslie, in search of authentic Belgian frites. Eat own weight in mayonnaise-encrusted starch. [At least YOU got to eat. Some of us had to run from one session to another. Hungry. With no food. –Trash] Head back to hotel room to await Chao. Set language on TV set to German. Feel urge to smoke and wear black. Begin to wonder what Kierkegaard meant by the aesthetic life leading only to despair. Wait for Chao. Decide too much valuable plot development is being lost in translation as to why the duck hates the rabbit and switch back to English. Where the freaking hell is Chao?

Two hours later hear Chao AND Trash in hallway. Open door. Chao has been sitting in lobby for most of afternoon because the Goat Twins wouldn't let him upstairs. However, Trash has worked her magic and scored us all a brand new room on the 11th floor, right beneath the mysterious PH floor (Phonebooth? Pheromones? Penthouse? Ohhhh). We amass our collectibles and move on up, humming the Jefferson's theme music.

[Here's where Chao was: After arriving at LaGuardia, a small van took a slew of ugly people to their respective hotels. After about 30 seconds, I could tell they were librarians. So I let them ramble on about this cutter number and this bibliography, until one of them says to me loudly, "I bet you're going to the Library Conference too! Ha Ha Ha." So I say, "That's right, you stupid bastards. I'm better than you because I've got jeans on and I'm not carrying a canvas bag, you reject-from-the-corporate-world-sons-a-bitch Library-of-Congress-kiss-ass-Jerry's-kids." Actually, I didn't say that, but I wanted to. What came out was the greatest line Puddy from Seinfeld ever used - "Yeah, that's right." They thought I was joking until I punctuated it with, "Seriously." To their credit I was wearing jeans, big dog chain wallet, TENNIS SHOES (god forbid), and a BLACK t-shirt which read "I dig your mom." The three feet of hair didn't help either. They didn't talk to me much after that, really.

So we sit in traffic for an hour or so waiting for someone to move at all - apparently it was the Puerto Rican parade going on downtown. So like twelve hours of Puerto Ricans carrying flags and wearing waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too tight WHITE clothing had shut down the entire NYC metro area. Very colorful people with some very interesting automobiles in this parade which we
caught glimpses of. I told the driver to drop me off in traffic and I'll walk down the middle of the street until I find my hotel. No problem at all. -Chao]

New room is actually a suite, complete with marble tiled bathroom and panoramic windows. Forgive the Goat Twins all trespasses, present and future. Break out the Xmas lights and birthday gifts. Chao's haul: Two T-shirts and a set of stickers guaranteed to get him in trouble at work. CorpKitten’s haul: One T-shirt and a Russian drinking game. Lord have mercy.

Head out into the streets for some sightseeing. Discover not much is open in NYC after 5 p.m. on a Sunday. Find a Popeye's for Chao, but fail to encounter any porn shops. Feel vaguely uneasy about this startling change of events. [it's just not a vacation without porn... –Trash][)(There were porn shops everywhere, but CorpKitten looks for "PORN SHOP" in bright neon letters, rather than 1st Church of the 7th Day Aventists - nudie booths in back. She's an amateur. -Chao]

Start to wander back to hotel and notice police barricade and large crowd by Radio City Music Hall. Decide this combination must be investigated and, lowing softly, meander over. Klieg lights, red carpets, and lots and lots of large frowning men with earpieces. Squint at the marquee: Tony Awards. Oh. Weigh cool indifference against slack-jawed, yokel-like excitement. Watch tiny, curly-haired woman suddenly break free of her handler and run towards the screaming crowd. Picture severed body parts. Suddenly see unharmed and unharried Bernadette Peters trotting by, two feet away, grinning adorably. Drop all pretense of hipsterdom and goggle unrepentantly. Repeat for Marissa Jaret Winokur, Danny Glover, and Toni Braxton. When Billy Joel drives by hanging out of the window of an unmarked van, scream like an eleven-year-old girl and clutch random strangers in a paroxysm of delight, even though everything since "Songs in the Attic" has pretty much bit.

Mop up from our celebrity encounter and head back to hotel. Discover pull-out sofa bed is “Craftmatic™” in that part of it rises at a permanent 30-degree angle. Chao bravely insists that lying half-propped up with a metal bar under his spine is really his preferred method of sleeping. Trash and I retire to our double beds and stretch languorously in our matching baby-dolls. [Offers were made to "double-up" but the last time that happened, the squaws couldn't stop laughing as soon as the pants came off. Next time the Rings of Hell will be brought and I'll make sure it's not so COLD in the room before the pants come off - Chao]

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