#215 In which our hero discusses, in rather sappy terms, his first visit to the city that never sleeps.
To catch everyone up, here's what I've been doing the past seven days or so:
- I found out a week ago last Friday that I'd be going to New York to meet a client. So, hey, free trip to NYC, pretty cool.
- We left Wednesday AM, came back Thursday PM.
- Friday I had about 20 relatives up for a party at my house.
- Then Saturday my drill sergeant father-in-law helped us dig a ditch in the backyard and do some landscaping--all in hopes of elevating the flooding problem.
- Then on Sunday we all drove down to my hometown for a surprise birthday party for my Mom's 75th birthday.
More details? Okay, in order:
New York City
I’ve never been to NYC. But, the trip was for business, and we were only going to be there for a day and a half, so I didn’t expect to see much of the city. And I wasn’t disappointed.
And here’s the hard part, Internet friends, what can I safely tell you about my trip? I mean, I don’t think any of my co-workers read my blog, but you can’t really be sure, can you? And I can’t afford to be fired, again.
So, some rather generic details:
The working part of the trip was really good… for me, at least. I’m new to this particular account, so it was great to hear the company’s big vision for the future, right from the horse’s mouth.
I noticed an odd phenomena, and I can only think it’s a woman thing: most of the agency team on this account have been working with their NY counterparts for more than a year… but they’ve never met them in person. So, during lunch, there was a solid 20 minutes of this conversation:
ACCOUNT EXEC #1: Y’know, I really thought you’d have blond hair!… and so on.
CLIENT #1: Really? I thought you’d have dark hair!
AE1: But I don’t!
C1: I know!
AE1: But why’d you think I did?
C1: I’m not sure. Why did you think I had dark hair?
AE1: I don’t know!
C1: Well, I though Susan* would be taller!
C1: Oh yeah! I never got that she was the same height as me!
AE1: That’s so weird!
* Not a real name. Still don’t want to get fired.
I just can’t imagine having that conversation, as a man. I might think to myself, huh, she’s taller than I expected, but would leave it at that.
At the hotel, I stayed in the smallest room I’ve ever been in at a hotel. There was just enough room to walk around the bed. Not that I really cared. That is, until we met in the lobby for dinner that evening.
CO-WORKER#1: You’ve got to see my room.Pffft.
ME: Oh, I know. Mine is tiny, too.
CW1: Oh no. My room has a separate sitting room, a huge walk-out balcony, a full-size bar, giant bathroom…
ME: What? How’d you get that room?
CW1: I just asked to upgrade to a king size bed, and they put me in the ambassador’s suite, no extra charge.
Dinner that evening was amazing. I’m a whore for a free lunch, but when you’re taking out the client you know it going to be more than pizza. And it was. We walked over to a Mediterranean place where six of the 12 entrées were lamb dishes. I’m generally not a huge fan of lamb, but it seemed to be the thing to eat. And it was delicious. And so was the lamb tartar we had for an appetizer. And the wine flowed like water.
The next day was less useful, in my opinion. I didn’t really learn anything new about the account. We could have left in the morning and I would have been perfectly happy.
So, my first trip to NYC was maybe a little underwhelming. I didn’t see much of the city at all. But still…
Maybe it’s all in my head, but I did feel like there was something different about the city. Certainly different from Cleveland… but it was more than the big buildings and the crowds of people. There was a feeling of motion, of activity that I don’t feel in my home city. It felt like an international city (which, of course, it is). No doubt the wonderfully diverse people I saw on the street helped give me that feeling. But there was more. A feeling of age, of history. That great (and terrible) things happened on these streets. The overwhelming hustle and bustle of NY was inspiring to this dumb corn-fed boy.
And at night… when the city slowed down, and the purposeful strides of businessmen in suites were replaced by the leisurely strolls of couples out for the evening… the city seemed more relaxed. Like I could put down my guard for a moment--even though I knew full well that that would be a stupid thing to do. As the merchants piled up the day’s trash on the curb and the honking of cabs was replaced by the laughter of lovers I felt like I was seeing the city from behind the scenes; it changed as it wound down for the night while simultaneously gearing up for the evening’s rivalry.
I long to go back and experience it again, as a tourist, and see all the touristy things. And to walk the streets in the early evening with my wife (with my wallet safely tucked into my front pants pocket to deter pickpockets, of course) and see a show, go out to diner, and just enjoy each other’s company.
Thanks for the brief introduction, New York. I hope we have time to get to know each other a little bit better next time.
NEXT: Family! Booze! Cake!