We got up at 4:45 on Friday morning to make our flight. The only thing that made me accepting of this fate was that I was getting up the same time as Luke:
LORELAI: Ooh, sorry, I have to get up super early tomorrow.
LUKE: No problem. What time?
LUKE: I get up at quarter to five every morning.
LORELAI: Why in the world would you get up that early?
LUKE: I don’t know, to run my business?
(Please don’t tell Mike about this. He already thinks I am overly obsessed with quoting Gilmore Girls. Also, that’s one of my favorite awkward television conversations.)
We got to the airport on time and read for a while until we could finally board our plane.
Oh, wait. Before I tell you about the flight attendant, I have to tell you this story about security. Just as we were going to go through, I was pulling out my ID and the security woman turned to my aunt and said, “How old is she?” Um, HELLO! I’m standing right here! I can answer questions about my own age! Whenever I fly with my aunt, I always get questions about how old I am. When I was 20 and we flew to New York, we were on the exit row, and three flight attendants and the pilot came back to ask me if i was old enough to sit in the exit row. You have to be 16. By the time the pilot came back to ask me how old I was, I was thisclose to saying, “Look, buddy, I am ready to assist these people if necessary. How about you go focus on flying the plane so we don’t have to worry about who is seated in the exit row. You do your job and I’ll do mine.”
Our flight attendant’s name was Heather. I have never had such a happy, outgoing flight attendant. She kept cracking jokes about how she hadn’t read the safety information recently, which was not as disconcerting as it sounds. She threatened to ninja-kick anyone who approached the cockpit door, wore these funny glasses as she gave the safety announcements, offered us her “homemade” pretzels, and kept losing her train of thought in the middle of speaking. She told us there wasn’t any tomato juice, and that if we asked her for some, we’d receive the evil death glare. And she had the cutest southern accent. Definitely the most fun flight attendant I have ever had.
It had been five years since I was in Manhattan, and it felt different this time. I’m older, so I’m not as scared of the big city as I used to be. I didn’t feel like someone was about to grab my purse at any moment, even when we were on the subway (that’s a little teaser; I’ll get to the subway stuff later this week). But also, I have read that the mood in New York really changed after 9/11, and I think I could see a bit of that. I didn’t feel like the locals thought I was in the way quite as much.
After we got to our hotel, we hit Starbucks and then the shops. My mecca, Ann Taylor Loft, has a huge store just down the street from where we were staying. We made a fine beginning there, which made me very happy. Actually, now that I think about it, all the clothes I bought for myself this weekend came from Ann Taylor Loft. And I hear rumors of another package from the Loft heading my way. I am not actually a huge fan of shopping, but if I could always afford Ann Taylor Loft, I would probably enjoy it a lot more.
We did the department stores and Fifth Avenue, I took a picture of the NYPL and visited their shop, and we looked at shoes and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. Around 4, we became so tired that we went back to our room to change for dinner and Wicked. We had reservations at an Italian restaurant near the theater, which was also near the Ed Sullivan Theater and the CBS store. I got Mike a Letterman t-shirt, and if there had been more Amazing Race memorabilia, I probably would have bought myself something. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much. There wasn’t room for it with all the Survivor stuff they had. A pox on Survivor!
Dinner was great, and Wicked . . . what to say about Wicked? After this weekend I have seen the following shows in New York: Phantom of the Opera, Les Mis, The King and I, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Miss Saigon, The Fantasticks, Smoky Joe’s Cafe, Grease, Wicked, and Bombay Dreams. (I think that’s all.) Of those, Phantom, Les Mis, and Wicked are my favorites. It was just wonderful. I hadn’t been to a show that was quite that new, where the audience was so excited about the show. When the lights went down, people were cheering and applauding. The music was wonderful, and I love it when authors take an old story and turn it on its head like that. Why is the Wicked Witch of the West so bad? Maybe she was teased a lot as a child for being so green! Maybe she just wanted those shoes because they were all that was left of her sister! And did you know that she and Glinda were roommates back in school? I’m definitely going to check out the book and see what it’s like, too.
We decided to walk back to the hotel, which we don’t usually do. We used to always go to New York in December, which is fun but too cold for a southern girl like me. This time the weather was so beautiful that we wanted to be outside as much as possible. It was a long walk, but fun to see things that you just fly by in a taxi. When we got back to the hotel, we crashed, ready for our next full day in New York City.