"Buy really good insoles for your shoes," they said to me. I was heading towards New York for Book Expo America (a big 'ol book nerd fest, trust me), and I needed good shoes. But I'm cheap and did the next best thing: I bought Crocs flats. A week later, my blisters still have blisters, but me and my size 9s saw some neat shit, like Hotel Chelsea, a french fry place with 30 dipping sauces, and Lena Dunham talking about outdated women's etiquette books.
So I was in New York to learn about upcoming book titles for work and to meet a lot of authors. At the end of the thing, my luggage was so full of books it was like dragging a body on four little squeaky wheels, and I have some delightfully awkward photos of myself with a handful of writers I always wanted to meet.
But what I need to address here is the way I realized with alarming clarity this fact: I am horrible at navigation when traveling alone. It's actually really embarrassing, and the only reason I'm writing it here for you all is that I feel like a lot of people in New York City are the same way. Why?
Because we are all tourists.
I tried really hard not to look like a tourist.
But then I realized, I am in New York! And the Hotel Chelsea is right there! And Rockefeller Center over there! And oh my GOD! Is that Hank Azaria! Yes! Hi, Hank!
So when you're going around taking selfies and spending a few too many beats in front of the subway map looking genuinely perplexed, you're bound to feel like a failure. That green line only goes so far, and it shouldn't be THAT hard to figure out the difference between "uptown" and "downtown."
Here are a few more regrettable highlights of my week in New York:
- I kind of forgot that the Statue of Liberty lived there, and I'm not even joking. I never saw her, not once. What was up with that? I thought I was paying attention to my surroundings (like my mother told me to do, lest I be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade)!
- Not going to Central Park. Really. Who fucks that up on their first New York trip?
- Nearly catapulting a New York Times best-selling Young Adult Author to the ceiling while she ate her cupcake and charged her phone. See--I, too, needed to charge my phone, and did not realize the couch in which we were about to share was one of an inflatable persuasion, and I sat down with far less grace than I should have for such a surface. She was very understanding.
- Really though, about that navigation problem I have. No matter how many times I tried to be a good little blue dot on Google Maps and follow the right path, about 90% of the time I had to walk a block before realizing it was the wrong one.
- Not making an effort to go to more than one bar. That one bar was the real MacLaren's Pub from How I Met Your Mother, where the food was meh and my tab was $15 higher than what I ordered. New York has good bars, right?
- Despite all this, my biggest regret is that I fell in love with this city that smells like garbage, sweat, flowers, tar and shit all within a two-minute span. I can't wait to visit again to do some things right.
Here are some awkward pictures.