In the city that never sleeps, I finally got me some.
Sleep, that is. I never thought I’d have to go all the way to New York to get a good night’s rest but that’s what I did. Spit out by the intense emotional vortex that was the DNC last week, I somehow scrambled together a suitcase and got my tired ass to New York via truck-shuttle-plane-shuttle.
I arrived Saturday night, in just enough time to pass out at The Pod Hotel in Midtown, a funky new hipster place with really small rooms and shared bathrooms. If iPods had parents, this is where they would have sex – lots of plain white, clean chrome, lounge music and bright Lichtenstein colors.
When I opened the door, I started laughing. “Um, wow. They weren’t kidding.” It’s a regular motel room except y’know all that space between you, the door, the bathroom and the wall? Yeah, none of that. It’s like being in a really cheap cruise or a really fancy Navy. Best part? Okay, it’s cheap for NYC ($159 a night!) but the second best part? 80% of the room is taken up by the most important part: The Bed.
Fumbling through the formalities of undressing and teeth brushing, I finally fell into my new best friend, The Pod Bed. There, at long last, my body welcomed zzzzzz’s like a famished teenage boy greeting a buffet. Rarely moving, I grabbed 12 solid hours of delicious slumber. Consciousness and I simply needed some distance between us, you understand. Legally, emotionally and financially, mine eyes were sown shut.
In the light of Sunday morning - or was it afternoon? - I was so pleased with myself. I walked the streets with a sleepy, contented grin and was friendly to everyone; Asshole Heather was nowhere to be seen. I had slept so hard that I had that warm, restful feeling you get in your chest right after a nap – it always feel like your body is thanking you.
Since I’d planned on wearing gold strappy shoes at a wedding that weekend, I treated myself to a full pedicure with pink and gold polish. The MC Yoo Spa Salon was empty except for me and a few employees so we chatted up a storm - mostly about politics, languages and guitar music.
The girl doing my toes was delightful. She was from Japan and got into her line of work after she’d had her son five years earlier. She was married to an African-American man and seemed happy and content. She viewed her nail work as art, which helped.
The young man behind her was from Korea and very smart. He’d only been in the U.S. a year and a half and was starting to get a handle on the English language, which is one of the world’s more difficult languages to learn. He cursed the language skills CDs he had tried to learn on when he realized how much faster Americans talk in real life. Conversations like the one we were having were better teachers, he said.
The girl asked me about a manicure and I declined, explaining that my nails must be kept short as I try to learn guitar. “Guitar?” the boy piped up. “I like guitar. You play this?” I told him I was trying my best and asked what guitarists he liked. He mentioned Eric Clapton and we began discussing styles and songs. It was then I discovered that he had never heard of Johnny Cash. I tried best I could to convey the essence of this person who was more than a musician but a spiritual leader and a major influence on American music. I made him promise he would look into it - my good deed for the day.
"Don't forget now," I pointed at him expectedly, like a teacher highlighting homework. "Johnny Cash!"
"Yes, yes!" he nodded emphatically. "I Google!"
With my new shiny toes, I flip-flopped further down 2nd Ave. until I came upon one of my favorite foodstuffs on the market: Pinkberry. Not sure what it is exactly but I'm told it’s not yogurt, or ice cream, or sorbet, or gelato. Hell, it’s not even soft serve. I DON’T CARE. I love it. Must have it with mangos and blueberry for toppings. (This time I added carob chips.)
Evidently, I was so excited about ordering one that the girl behind the counter, Mickey, couldn’t stop laughing. She’d say things like, “Oh my god, you’re adorable” and “You totally made my day.” She was adorable and totally made my day. I floated outta that place like an Aryan princess in a Disney movie – with animated birds and butterflies chirping behind me carrying napkins and spoons. Cloud 9, baby!
At that point, I realized my instinctive path. After everything that has happened, all the intense conversations and the powerful imagery I’ve seen, all the speeches and fist-pounding calls to action – it was all a jumbly mess. I needed to clear my head and get it all in order – this talk of the future. What did it mean to me? My country? Was it just a bunch of words? Some pretty-sounding ideas?
I grabbed my notebook and pen (and my camera, of course) and headed to Central Park. Destination: Strawberry Fields.