Saturday, July 21, 2012

This is Thrillerfest Day 2

I know you all (all three of you!) have been sitting on the edge of your seat wondering how I ever made it through the Big Apple with a sprained ankle. Well, my friends, I shall tell you. I did it on a knee scooter. And I ROCKED that f'ing knee scooter up and down Manhattan's ass!

For those of you who do not have a leg injury, I recommend the knee scooter anyway, as a means of general transportation. It's just plain fun. You can ride it on the downhills, you can sit on it while waiting for anything or anyone, and you can pretty much go to the front of any line by just pointing down to your leg brace, pursing your lips and shrugging as if to say, "What's a girl with a knee scooter gotta do to get a bathroom stall around here?" People get out of the way. It's magical.

I found the knee scooter via an email link my friend in Florida sent me (Big Apple Mobility) and I rented the it for three days, enough to give my ankle some more healing time. They delivered it to our hotel and picked it up there afterward. Easy peasy.

But the whole trip was not so easy peasy, dear readers. No, it was not. However, though I would love to give you the down and dirty on all the mother-daughter caterwauling that went on, I cannot. On the flight over, my mother turned herself to face me (as much as one can turn in a coach airplane seat these days) and said, "Alright, no mean blogging about me this time, OK?" What? As IF I would ever . . . OK. No mean blogging.

Instead, I will share with you the best--and worst--of all that happened on a Wednesday in the city that never sleeps.

BEST: Knee walker. Nuff said.
WORST: Carrying the knee walker up and down the subway stairs to get to Brooklyn. Honestly, how do handicapped people get around the city? Or mothers with strollers for that matter?

BEST: Finally getting to Grimaldi's famous Brooklyn pizzeria.

WORST: The service was slow and the pizza was... meh.

BEST: Looking forward to visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
WORST: Walking/scootering for 40 minutes on shadeless, ninety-eight-degree streets before flagging down a cab to drive us the rest of the 2.6 miles to the Garden. By the time we got there, we were so hot and sweaty we went straight to the Cafe, drank an iced tea and then mom said, "OK, we've got 20 minutes before we have to head back to the hotel to get ready for The Book of Mormon."

Wha? Huh? A garden, by definition, is a place to stroll, not to race. But race we did.

BEST: As we dashed through this large plot of gorgeous mid-city flora and fauna, we saw (in a blur) all of this:
WORST: When we exited the Garden on the other end, it turns out there was a subway entrance RIGHT NEXT TO THE GARDEN that we could've gone right to and saved ourselves all that wasted time and perspiration.

BEST: On what I now refer to as our "Garden scurry" I open up and share with my mom (this is a relationship-building trip, after all) that I find it excruciatingly difficult to cope with her need to control every situation and to always insist--no matter the topic--that she is right. I encourage her to let go, trust me to be in control in sometime, and if in the end she is right and I am wrong, to find the fun in mistakes and unplanned moments.
WORST: Time and time again, mom is right.

BEST: Mom graciously insists that she alone will fully fund our amazing annual mother-daughter trips.
WORST: Mom also fully reveals to me the cost of each and every purchase she makes on these trips (from the airport limo to the hotel to the restaurants, shows, and morning coffees) as if she's keeping an audible running tab of how much our relationship-building is costing her and that, given the economy today, I had better be grateful she's making the effort. Which I am. Immensely. Just wish the gratefulness and guilt for all the expenses could be mutually exclusive.

BEST: I'm finally going to see The Book of Mormon on Broadway!
WORST: On the way to the show our cab driver had a language/accent barrier that resulted in a miscommunication about our final destination. My mom is always right (see above) and though she told our cabbie "We're going to the theater on 8th and 49th," he unfortunately heard, "We're blee blabba blu ba 8th." When our cabbie started heading downtown, mom (who, I repeat, is always right) said to him with an anxious and terse tongue, "You're going the wrong way. This is away from the theater. Why are you going this way?" To which he responded, "Eighth, yes? This is way! I have been driving cab for twenty years. I know way to go."

With a sigh and a huff mom pulled out the tickets and shoved them through the plexiglass window into the front seat saying, "NO! This is NOT the way. We're going to the Eugene O'Neill Theater! We're going to the THE-A-TER."

The cabbie grabbed the tickets, studied them for a New York minute and the next 120 seconds went like this:
CABBIE: "WHY DIDN'T YOU SHOW ME THIS BEFORE? YOU NEVER SAID YOU WERE GOING TO THEATER! YOU DID NOT SHOW ME THIS!"

MOM: "YES, I DID tell you this. I said 8th! 8th!"

CABBIE: "You didn't say 8th AVENUE, did you? No. NO!"

MOM: "No, but I said the theater. We're going to the Eugene O'Neill THEATER. If you've been driving a cab for 20 years, you know where the Theater district is, don't you?"

CABBIE: "That is NOT true. NO! You are a LIAR. YOU LIE. YOU ARE LIARRRR!"

The screaming continued--both their neck veins bulging--her saying, "I DID tell you where to go," and him saying, "You are a LIAR!" all in slow motion as we navigated New York during rush hour while thousands of passersby watched me through the window of my bright yellow, air conditioned hell.

When I couldn't take it anymore, I growled at them both, like a lioness at her bickering cubs, "ENOUGH! Seriously, Mom, do you think this guy has ANY respect for women or humans when you're his CUSTOMER and he's repeatedly calling you a LIAR? Do you think if you yell loud and long enough he will change his mind and say, 'Oh, sorry m'am, you are correct, I remember now. You are no longer a liar!'?" No. He is not going to change his mind about you and you are not going to win this. Just get us to the freaking theater. That's all."

The cabbie continued mumbling up front about liars and Americans at which point I yelled, "We're not getting out of this cab. Just get us to the theater. Do you understand where we need to go now? Good. Then stop calling my mother a liar and drive."

The rest of the ride was pretty quiet. All I could think was, this is how wars start. It begins by placing someone like my mom who has high blood pressure, low blood sugar, an anxiety about arriving early to any destination and an intense predilection for women's rights in a small space with a man who cannot hear properly from a culture with little respect for women, who probably just this morning had it out with his boss or found out someone in his family has a terminal disease.

Blend the above with summer heat and rush-hour-tourist-jaywalkers and you've got a war on your hands. Like any war, it's just one person taking out his or her anxieties and insecurities on the other who unfortunately has no understanding of those anxieties or insecurities and really, nothing to do with them. Perhaps if they met under different circumstances on a different day, they might have held the door open for each other at a coffee shop and said, "Lovely to have met you!" But not on this day. Dooms Day.

BEST: We finally get to the Eugene O'Neill Theater.
WORST: When the ticket-taker scans the tickets (which my mom has informed me several times over the months leading up to this trip were $350 a piece), he pauses and says, "Wait. Let me see those tickets again?"

To be continued. . .
(hey, I'm getting the hang of this suspense stuff!)

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