I went to Chelsea Piers last night to climb their stratospherically high rock wall. So you know why I say I am so hyperbolic:
Hint: That's REALLY REALLY HIGH.
We, who are accustomed to bouldering and SHORT route climbing (25 foot walls) were, uh... intimidated.
However, we triumphed. Bibi made it 50 feet on a 5.7 route. I made it 40 feet on a 5.6, and Sri just rainbowed everything since she only started climbing about a month ago. Then we went out of salads and chardonnay (what the hell) before heading home early.
After such a successful evening, I decided I'd walk home in the temperate July air. Up 8th Avenue to 42nd St, hang a right and walk east past Port Authority (worst bus station in the world) through the tourists and sidewalk cartoonists, past Madam Tussaud's, past the glitterama McDonald's (can you tell I have an over-affection for the Great White Way?) and Bryant Park, my beloved NYPL, Grand Central, Chrysler Building, a thousand pricey sandwich shops (someone has to feed all those Pzizerites) and, finally I am home, East River tangoing between the Queens-Midtown Bridge and the Manhattan. God, I love midtown. *
Only last night, the walk did not go to plan. Not at all.
I was strolling along, flip-flops a-flopping, ponytail bouncing, mind dancing. I couldn't even feel with my ten pound backpack filled with sweaty, crumpled clothes and climbing stuff, so unburdened was I. Forty feet of wall, I mused. Fifty next time... Maybe a ceiling. Next year, multi-pitch climb at the Gunks. Huzzah!
But then just past Port Authority, a flutter of apprehension. When you live in the country, or even in the suburbs, people running in the same direction and exclaiming things you do no understand is most likely to be a corporate sponsored 10K, Cumberland County Fair egg race, or even a three legged race at a PTA fund raiser. In a city, your alert mechanisms adapt such that when more than one person is running and giving non-syllabic expressions of ANYTHING, all is not well, something is awry. Some shit is going down.
Having sensed this cue, I slowed down and walked closer to the building, away from the runners - because also, at this point, they were also jumping up and down. As I hugged one of the massive pillars that flank Port Authority, (note to self: there is now at least one thing to like about Port Authority) I discerned that it was not the people jumping, but the bus behind them that was bobbing and weaving. Or rather, the occupants of said bus. The shouting escalated. The bus driver jumped out, threw down the key and ran east. Several other people joined me behind the pillar, including a Chelsea**-style lothario who thought nothing of shoving his pelvis up against mine. *** Where was I?
Then there were screams. Just visible inside the bouncing, careening bus: a teenager of the female variety pointing an actual, real live firearm into the face of a similar (as in pissed off "I dare you to shoot me, beeyatch!" rather than, "oh, please, I have children") screaming teenager. Just then, a third person behind our pillar pushed us all on to the ground, face down. I felt a bit interfered with, but again, safety. The guy was correct. There was now a crowd so thick that there was no way we could have fled in any direction.
The screaming escalated, and then a van filled with police officers (thank God, the police) arrived, jumped out of the van, weapons drawn, boarded the bus (I can't believe how calm they were about it. Two of the guys drew their guns, got on the bus, took the gun away from crazy teenager, subdued the other, and pushed them both off the bus to be frisked and placed in custody.
Am I not, reader, a badass for taking this pic of the girls being read their rights?
The fun didn't stop there, however. My pockets, as I was pushed to the ground, emptied onto the sidewalk. Picture $3 in change rolling around all over a sidewalk that looks like this:
True, I did get paid on Monday, and I am, at least for the time being, not struggling for food and bus fare. But does that mean I can lose $3 in change because I can't tell it apart from decades-old chewing gum? Hardly.
Lothario helped me, though. OOOOO, that Lothario. Perhaps I am ready to get out there, after all.
* Midtown is really uncool. No one likes it here. Except for me.
** Read: Gay.
*** It wasn't all that different from what the Turkish soccer player did to me on the dance floor in the Bahamas, so seriously, why kick up a fuss? Also, it was for safety, you know how I feel about safety. (I am ok with it).