Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mean Mommies Take Manhattan: Part 1

Some girlfriends and I went to NYC this last weekend to celebrate 3 of our birthdays (I turned 30/11!). We had so many adventures it's hard to know where to start so I'm just going to hop to my favorite one and get to the rest at some future point in time (perhaps the 12th of never?).

We decided to be tourists and get tickets for one of those hop on and off double decker tour buses that schlep you around the city. On one particular leg of the journey (Empire State Building to Canal Street) we had a very informed guide whom I'll call Mr. White. Mr. White was 50ish with silver hair and everybody on the bus loved him--except me and 5 Indians tourists. When we got on the bus Mr. White didn't even ask us if we had tickets. He saw me fishing for mine and waved a hand as if to say, "That's okay, if you know where the stop is, then you must belong." I can't say why he bugged me other than I felt like he expected our full attention, like it was a scholarly lecture. If I had to cough I thought he might stop talking and give me that "yes missie, we're waiting for you!" look. I'm happy to hear about Daniel Burnham designing the flatiron building but if I want to chat with Denise about dinner plans, then I shouldn't have to do it stealth, should I?

And the nail in the coffin came when an Indian family got on board and sat down. Mr. White said to the man, "Do you have tickets?" "Yes," replied Mr. Brown. "Where are they?" said Mr. White. Pulling them out of his pocket, Mr. Brown held up the tickets, "Here they are" and goes to put them back. Not so fast. Mr. White, who has not asked to see a single person's ticket while we were on board motions for Mr. Brown to come back to him, "I'll need to see your ticket." The poor man was turning red and I was too--it was clearly a race thing. 5 white ladies get on and no tickets needed. But people of color? That's another story... I shook my head as Mr. Brown walked back to his seat.

Meanwhile, across the aisle and 3 rows back Lisa is eating up every word this guy says while simultaneously trying not to hurl. The woman behind her, bless her soul, was vomiting uncontrollably into a bag, leaning forward towards Lisa with every retch so that she could feel the vibrations. Just as Linda T. is a sympathetic cryer, and wells up every time someone so much as sniffles, Lisa is a sympathetic barfer as are her 6 kids. Not fun. At one stop, a man comes on to sell water and when he leaves, Mr. White escorts him down the steps (everyone is up top) and has to get off to let him pass. Next thing we know the doors are closed and we are off, leaving our guide in his dust. Now some of us think the driver got confused, and honestly thought Mr. White was on board. But others of us (me and the Browns) were thinking, I'll bet the driver has been itching to ditch Mr. White Supremacy.

Sande elbows Lisa and says, "Grab the mike!" Without hesitation, as if she's spent her whole life talking to crowds of people in high decibels, Lisa jumps into the tour guide seat, turns on the microphone and starts banging on the metal stairwell: "Hey driver!! You left the tour guide. You've gotta stop!" The driver slows down, Mr. White, out of breath and clearly pissed, comes within inches of the door...and the driver hits the gas and takes off again. I hate to admit it, but a thrill ran thru me. The entire bus jumped to their feet to see what would happen next.
At this point Lisa the Mom kicks in: "Mr. Bus Driver, our guide is not on board. He is chasing the bus and needs to be let on. Pull over right now. I am not joking." The bus keeps going, Mr White keeps running. Lisa smacks the side of the metal stair rail and demands that the driver stop the bus this instant. If the bus hadn't start to slow down, I swear she was going to go, "ONE. TWO. Don't make me say THREE...." While we waited for our guide to rejoin us, Lisa sat back and relaxed, having successfully negotiated with the errant bus driver, and made some observations about the architecture of the buildings around us, tossing off a joke or two, all the while chatting into the microphone like a pro.

After ripping the driver a new one, Mr. White gets back up top looking like his heart was going to stop after chasing us for about 3 blocks. As he reaches for the mike, Mr. Brown stands up, walks towards him and says, totally deadpan, "Do you have a ticket?" Mr. White sort of "ha has" and grabs the mike but Brown isn't done with him. "Where is your ticket?" Mr White pulls his I.D. badge out from his coat and Mr Brown steps forward: "I'm gonna need to see that." White's jaw dropped, but he held it out, and Brown said, "Oh okay, you're fine." He turned around to see me grinning from ear to ear and then gave me a giant high five before returning to his hysterically laughing family.
As much as some of us enjoyed Mr. White, we decided to get off at Canal Street to pee and shop. We do have 22 kids between the 5 of us, so our bladders aren't what they used to be (except for "camel bladder" who Kelly suffered thru endless bathroom breaks and suggested that maybe if we didn't all drink so much Diet Coke we could go two blocks without doing the potty dance). Lisa put a tip in the jar as we left, though I think she should have charged for the show.

One day of parking in the theatre district: $26
One ticket to the Empire State Building: $15
One 24 hour pass on the City Sights bus: $39
Watching your girlfriend hijack a doubledecker: priceless.

[one of these things is not like the other--no wonder our bladders were bursting]
[One of the many McD's we visited on our trip--steer clear of Burger King, skanky restrooms]
[Our new friend Rupert, one of the fun sights we saw, along with Angela "Murder She Wrote" Landsbury]


lisa said...

ok- true story except I did NOT tip Mr. White... and he definitely SHOULD have tipped me!!

belmomma said...

I giggle everytime I think of that story!!! Another funny was when Lisa saw Morgan Freeman (in a whisper)"Heather...Get your camera!!"

ellen said...

That's one for the books!!

Libby said...

I can SO picture Lisa doing that...hilarious!

Withawhy said...

You guys are sooo funny! It sounds like you had a great time!

Rhonda Miller said...

Sounds FABULOUS! And with no kids, even better!

stephanie said...

It's like I was there. Almost. Glad you guys had such a good time! Come again next year---or whenever you can get away!