Everyone has a "lost in Manhattan" story... That's what they tell me, anyway, and it's meant to be some consolation. I wasn't exactly lost last night, but I don't exactly mind when I am. Most people regard wandering as accidental and unfortunate - because accidents shouldn't happen on the regular unless your life is Amelia Bedelia (ahem).
I am a regular wanderer and last night my wandering footsteps were chasing the colors in the leaves and the warm light hidden on the horizon. After work, I blitzkrieged my friends to see if anyone wanted to suck the marrow out of the autumn day and several responded. So, I said yes to plans in Manhattan and yes to plans in Brooklyn with more optimism than is New York appropriate.
I ended up at Madison Square Garden on quite the transit detour on the A (where I sat beside a tired looking middle-aged cosmetic surgeon who had obviously had work done on his cheekbones). I heard about his 14 hour work day and his second home in Conneticut and his 3 day work week. After a few loop-de-loops and train hops, I successfully toasted Oktoberfest beers with Ashley on the High Line, where we giggled at the people gathered for stargazing. We wanted to say, "We'll save you the trouble: you can see about five, but there is a star-studded blanket beyond these city lights that is very visible from Iowa."
From there, I navigated another underground maze to catch a train back to Brooklyn. Except I didn't look at the sign on the train I ran down the stairs to catch.
After I sat down in a huff, a curly haired hipster smiled and said, "Well, that's the most graceful near-miss if I've ever seen one." I kind of just sighed and said, "Yeah... now to head home." But as I said it, I looked up to realize I was on the wrong train headed in the wrong direction.
"This train isn't going to Brooklyn, is it?" I could tell he wished he had better news, "Nope."
So, I scooted out and caught another flying metal bullet to meet up with group number two in Brooklyn at Alice's Arbor, where the wine was already poured and a girls night was underway. After the right amount of laughter and story swapping and dessert devouring, we parted ways and I waited for yet another train to see Patrick and marvel, blurry-eyed, at the thoughtful gifts he brought back from Europe.
And THAT, friends, is how you stretch a day from 5:30 am - 2:00 am. Start unnecessarily early to catch the Autumn waking up on Eastern Parkway and then let the day roll out in front of you until you've tucked it in on the other end.
That is how it's done in NYC, at least by this Amelia Bedelia character. Say yes to things, chase autumn to pieces, sit on park benches, wait for trains, take the wrong trains, laugh at misfortune, and always be willing to toast.
That's how yesterday went down for this regular wanderer. Today, I'll turn in early.