Saturday, April 14, 2012
Holy Empire State Building, Batman. I've just been taken for a tourist in the city of my birth.
Going home, back, back, home (whatever) to New York is getting confusing.
After a week at my parent's new place in Delaware, G and I walked out of Penn Station into the concrete soaked sunshine. I sucked in the noise and the car exhaust like the air at the top of Everest. Gwendal started to veer toward the 40 person taxi line. Un-uh, I said, and walked 25 ft up the block and into the middle of traffic to catch one that has better things to do with his time then wait in the taxi line at Penn Station.
We hoisted our suitcase and two large shopping bags of French liqueurs (samples for a friend) into the back. 149 West 10th Street I said. He nodded. G. and I were talking for 5 minutes before I looked out the window and noticed that we were at Amsterdam and 66th Street.
Excuse me. But why are we going uptown.
I thought you said 10th Avenue and Amsterdam. (Never mind that this is physically impossible.)
10th Street. I said, 10th Street. Sir, I'm not a tourist. You heard me perfectly well. Please reset the meter to zero and take us downtown.
And that's exactly what he did - but not before my pride was wounded, an identity crisis ignited, and a 1/2 hour lost that I could have spent in my favorite hat store in Soho.
When we got out of the cab, Gwendal looked at me like I had just peeled off my face. Do you think he was really trying to cheat us, or he just didn't speak English very well?
Doesn't matter, I snapped. And it didn't. The damage was done. Somewhere during my ten years in France, I crossed a line. New York is in my blood, but something else is in my voice, my hair, my clothes, and the fact that I now have to carry a suitcase out of Penn Station. Merde.