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end of a road trip, nyc, westward ho
Thursday, Sept. 9, 2004 | link

[NOTE: I added a bunch of "tips from friendly readers" to many of the previous trip pages, if you want.]

I finally figured out the whole coffee thing the morning of the last day of our road trip (the coffee they provide, prepackaged in filters with a mini machine, in so many of the motels and hotels we stayed in across these united states, it's perfectly, serviceably fine as long as you brew it using half the water). Late is better than never, it turns out, but only by a margin of about eight fluid ounces.

After the coffee we showered, packed, and rolled, stopping about an hour later for some Friendy's (brown, brown, brown). Then it was pretty much a straight shot to Manhattan, which we soundtracked with the CDs Marilyn sent us special for the trip, one whole disc of California songs ("Going Back to Cali," "California Dreaming," etc.) and one with nothing but San Francisco songs (The Village People, The Animals, etc.), which proved a lovely, inverted welcome to NYC.

We got to Paul's, on the Upper East Side (whatever that means), oh wait no the Upper WEST Side, at about fourish and I promptly had more coffee, this time with some horrible soy mistake, which ... oh, there are just so many ways things can go wrong in this world.

Jill, no longer in the car.

After the coffee, the three of us, joined by Linda and Heidi (who was down from upstate to shop for shoes and see us, however briefly), we all went off for some delightful Korean fair (brown, too, but with some red and green elements), followed by miniature boxes of Chiclets.

Then Jill was off, off to her next big thing, a year of teaching in Amherst. Whoosh! After the previous two days of driving, which had slowed time to a crawl, those last few hours went by super-fast forward. Whoosh, the Road Trip was over! Leaving me sad (to be parting with Jill), tired (of driving), and excited (what NEXT?).

final impressions and observations

Trip movie (playing at close to 100% of the movie theaters we passed): Anacondas.

Trip song (heard, in part, at least seven different times): "Pieces of Me" by Ashlee Simpson.

Other Consistencies: Brown food, pretty sunsets, singing roads (sometimes tires on ribbed roadways act like needles on records).

Also: San Francisco is kind of small! Pretty, and precious, but ... small. We don't even have a real natural history museum? No wonder the world doesn't much listen when we take to the streets in our pointed signs and panda costumes. And if I ever wondered why the rest of the country doesn't typically vote or think the way I do, I wonder no more. The midwest is kind of different.

And: It is entirely awesome to have another person's recorded point of view of the very same trip, especially a careful observer and writerly person such as Jill. We both wrote each day's observations independently, and it was particularly great to go back and discover the many things that Jill remembered that I forgot, as well as the many places of almost directly quoted overlap. I've read that Siamese twins often say the exact same thing at the exact same time because their histories are absolutely identical, meaning the connections in their minds are so very similarly wired that the same memories and references bubble forth when they, say, hear GandR's "Patience" or smell PlayDo. And now whenever Jill and I taste a raspberry milkshake or spy an unmarked buzzer-button, we will forever think "Bear Lake" and "call girls."

Additionally: You have to be remarkably good friends with someone to make it all the way across the country, in the summer (however temperate), with no air conditioning, and a scrackly speaker, without battle or incident, seriously. Thank you, Jill.

new york city living

The two-ish days I spent in New York were a blur of eating and walking, but some highlights still shine, like: dancing to The Smiths at 2 am with Paul, drunk off three poisonous vodka things; the next morning, completely three-drink-blindside hungover, going to the Barney's Sale, with its INSANE crowds and lines and Marc Jacobs deals, and freaking out and exiting sweatily after just five minutes; leaving a bag full of H&M finds beneath a bench on a subway platform, not realizing I'd done so until two stops later, freaking out that maybe someone was going to think "bomb," jumping off the train and racing under and over to the other side of the tracks, waiting 20 minutes for the next train (it was after midnight so things were running kind of whimsically), getting off and racing back under and up to the original stop, freaking out a resting garbage-pick-up subway employee by pointing to my bag and saying "I think you're sitting over my bag" then watching his face crumble as he realized he'd been sitting on top of an anonymous-possible-bomb bag, grabbing the bag (still full of all its original, and very cute, purchases), and leaping onto the train just as the doors closed; walking around and around in the NY heat crazily wearing wool-blend pants then paying $5 for the air conditioning, bathroom, and napping facilities of the Museum of Natural History (the darkened womb of Gem Hall is particularly ideal for curling up and and dozing).

I also visited Jeffrey at his weird and foreign and oft-discussed (on his site) art-storage-facility job, which is maybe four blocks from Paul's house.

We had a nice lunch, despite my TWO-DAY HANGOVER (what?), featuring bagels and cheese and eggs and GOOD COFFEE, then I went back and Jeff let me play with the vault (note my cute new H&M striped green top!).

And of course I had a bunch of really good food. Paul and I ate again and again, chocolate cake and homemade oreos and coffee milkshakes and lattes, and steak. We also stopped at a ... Japanese place? ... for emergency dumplings and iced green tea, which was one of those holy grail-type of snacks that so rarely presents itself, the exact perfect food at just the right moment.

Even if that iced tea and those dumplings weren't good enough to be remembered fondly, by me, always, they would STILL go down in my annals because of their direct proximity to the crazy and horrible street crafts fair that Paul and I stumbled upon just seconds after eating. Featuring? Terrible flat, wooden chairs painted, in a pattern of celestial blues and purples, to look like people. Called? "Funarture." Fun, art ... chure, hahahaha.

Then, suddenly, in the midst of a big, city-stopping storm (from the tip of one of the hurricanes), the trip was over. I scrambled through the pouring rain, struggled with the grumpy and wet driver to get my enormous and hideous brown bag into the back of the supershuttle, then napped through endless traffic to the airport, where I made it with just time enough to buy a huge piece of weird quiche for my Jetblue home. Home!

(And finally: If you like the whole road trip diary format, may I suggest more of the same from friends Heidi, Josh, and Rob?)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

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