I hadn’t intended to engage in multinational corporate sabotage. It was purely circumstantial.
I was thinking about meeting my friend, discovering the easts and wests of the New York streets, getting lost and being found again. The Public Library, Grand Central Station, Times Square, shopping, eating and inhaling the life of the city. Today I was Lisa the trashy tourist and at days end I expected to have a full SD card and a plastic statue of Liberty.
We both started the day at different ends of New York, hoping to collide somewhere in the middle. She was in Manhattan and I was in the Bronx. Not so hard for a New Yorker. Mission incredible for us two. We both suffered from being newly arrived and topographically disorientated. She struggled with up and down and I struggled with north and south. Remarkably, we did find each other, breathless from running the wrong way up streets and red faced from getting lost.
I ate a hearty breakfast when I arrived, realising you needed a steak and a protein shake before you head across town. Deb consoled herself with a strong coffee. I threw a bottle of sparkling mineral water in my bag. On reflection I should have taken her lead.
We stepped out together in weather that wasn’t rated in the Luxe guide. A confection of drizzle and heat which turned New York into moody musical, all damp with not much song. The general air of helpfulness that had infused my interactions with the city evaporated in the steamy angst of trying to stay stylish while being saunaed in your clothes.
New York first became suspicious of me when I entered the map room in the public library. A beautiful and rarefied space filled with the cartography of history. And people. Quietly considering their place in the universe. Very quietly. Actually silently. And my shoes. Somehow they had managed to trap a greedy portion of the city’s rainfall inside them. And they set up a squeaky, watery addition to the musical just as I stepped into the room. Assuming the benign smile of the overly medicated I walked around the room. It was slightly strained.
Next stop was Grand Central Station. We accosted an office worker on a cigarette break to ask directions. In a Peter Stuyvesant fog she mouthed the word ‘east’ and pointed languidly in the general direction of God. Sure enough at the nexus of uncertainty and imminent melt down we arrived. And tumbled through the entrance in a festival of ‘we found it’!
It does have an air of grandness. I sought a vantage point from which I could capture the picture that already existed in my visual memory. The moment is poignant. When life meets cultural icon. I breathed it in. This is the electricity that generates future hope. That one lifetime has an endless supply of awesome.
I ran up the stairs. And into the newest Apple flagship store. It is expensively understated. No walls, no garish advertising. Just glass and technology. And the greys and the blacks of the New York uniform. Stylish, well groomed and well heeled. It took me a moment to try and comprehend what kind of post colonial treaty had been bargained with the people of New York to claim this prestigious shop front. But I’ve never been good at world domination.
Now that I had stopped running I needed to catch my breath. I already felt a little conspicuous standing amongst the iPads. Panting. With the large sign on me that read ‘yep, not from around these parts’. I thought I could strike a more casual pose so the laser beams could turn on someone else. I pulled out my mineral water.
I’m not sure of the physics of it all. How one small bottle of water, when shaken, has a force multiplier of infinity. It was amazing. It just spread so far. Onto so many things. So many really expensive things. One composure shattering drop at a time. My suffering was short lived. Quietly, without ceremony, a cleaner appeared with a large mop. And mopped me back down the stairs.
I guess only some of us are naked in the Garden.