It's almost impossible to get lost in Manhattan. Basically, it's about as difficult as getting lost while walking a straight line. But last weekend, Stacy, Greta, and I got horribly lost on our way from Midtown to the Village, proving once again that we are bumbling idiots.
We made the decision to go to New York while sitting at brunch the week before. It was a gloomy winter's day and we were sulking over our equally gloomy social prospects. Stacy was staring bitterly into her cup of coffee, obviously angry at it for not being a vodka tonic. Greta was stabbing at her eggs listlessly and threatening to join a yoga class. And I was desperately trying to think of some justification for my sorry existence.
Finally, I remembered an exciting development in my life. 'I've started to drink tea in the evening,' I said brightly, hoping my tea drinking would make me seem vaguely Continental. 'It's quite soothing.'
Greta slammed down her fork. 'OK, that settles it. We're going to New York.'
'City so nice they named it twice,' Stacy chirped.
New York is a terrific place to go to jump-start your life. It's like drinking a double shot of espresso that's topped with the essence of filthy sidewalks, raging hormones, bad language, and swank.
Our plan was to hop on a plane, throw our stuff in our hotel near Times Square, and march directly to the Cubby Hole, our favorite bar in the city. But you really can't just hop on a plane anymore. Especially when you're traveling with Greta, who doesn't consider a vacation complete until she gets a full cavity search by an airport security matron. And just try navigating your way through Times Square without having several ugly encounters with the Disney thugs who have taken over the neighborhood.
By the time we got to 40th Street—30 blocks from the Cubby Hole—we were exhausted and thirsty. We headed to the nearest bar, but just as we were walking in, Joe Jackson was walking out. 'Let's chase him,' I said, sensibly. So we ran after him, yelling 'Joe Jackson! Joe Jackson! Ya! Ya! Ya!' We chased him for dozens of blocks, until he finally turned around and said, 'I am not Joe Jackson,' and walked off in a huff.
As we caught our breath, we looked around the neighborhood. It was grim and industrial. An animal that was too large to be a cat and too small to be a pig crawled out from behind a garbage can and blinked at us.
'What are we going to do?' asked Greta as a woman who looked like she stepped out of Munch's 'The Scream' stumbled near Greta and tried to touch her hair.
I was about to suggest that we have ourselves a good cry, when a cab pulled up. A miracle? Almost. The driver quickly confessed that he was enchanted with us and was taking us to his pied-a-tier in Hoboken to be his wives. We leapt from the cab and landed in a dark doorway. I looked up and saw thousands of fairy lights blinking inside. It was the Cubby Hole.
'City so nice they named it twice,' Stacy said gaily as we brushed ourselves off and walked in the door, where cocktails and fancy New York girls awaited us.