So recently I found myself a tidbit stressed out (I’ll explain that another time) and so, like responsible adults do, I decided to spend all the money I had and take a road trip to New York.
And so it went that two of my girlfriends, one 7 year old child, and little ol’ me pile into a mid-size car to begin a new adventure and hopefully, make memories for a lifetime. And that we did. *I should clarify here that the 7 year old was my friends’ son, not just some random kid that decided to tag along and where we were like “great idea! Can you chip in on gas little dude?”*
Actually, we made many jokes leading up the trip about the “inevitable meltdown” that comes along with traveling with a 7 year old. Either I have a completely misinformed view of children or this is just one super awesome kid, but We. Were. Wrong. We dragged that kid all over Manhattan for at least 17 hours a day and he had way less meltdowns then we did. It might have something to do with the $200.00 worth of toys his mom bought him, but still.
Seriously, coolest kid ever.
Given the fact that I was traveling with two other girls and a small child, I tried to pack light. Packing light when you’re a girl is hard yo. With this in mind, I decided that three pairs of shoes was the maximum reasonable amount. I just had to narrow it down to three pairs. Putting logic to use, I brought 1 comfortable, walking pair of shoes: ballet flats; 1 rainy-day pair: kitten-heel boots; and 1 hitting-the-town/catching-a-broadway-play/fancy pair of shoes.
I want to stress here that on my way out the door, I stopped and looked at my running shoes* one last time. I actually stopped and contemplated them, then actively decided not to bring them. This was a terrible, terrible mistake.
The ballet flats did not hold up against the grueling task of exploring as much of New York as humanly possible in four days. By day three the shoes had lost all shape and I was considering chopping off my feet they hurt so bad. I was like “who needs feet?”. My friend was like “umm… everybody?”
I was resistant to the idea of buying a new pair of running shoes, because I have two pairs at home. I just didn’t need three. But I did need a pair that very instant. Something. Anything. My friend and I found a pharmacy to browse for
morphine a hacksaw in-soles for the ballet flats. And by ‘browse’ I mean that I immediately found a chair and she brought me options.
It was at the point I was contemplating $50 in-soles that she finally talked me into just buying a pair of running shoes. So at the pharmacy I just bought Advil, $7 in-soles, peppermint rub and we headed back out into Times Square to find the Footlocker**.
The map said there was a Footlocker. The street vendors said yes – it’s right over there while waving their arms vaguely in the air. We could not find it. Seriously. We wandered around Times Square and the accompanying streets for two hours. We took a subway down 5 blocks, then walked back up. At one point my legs very suddenly went blissfully and disturbingly numb. Up until that point it had felt a little like fire laced with swords had wrapped itself around my feet and was shooting up my legs and then all at once, like a flame dying, the pain receded back down into my feet. My immediate stream of consciousness went something like:
“Why are my legs numb?”
“Can I get nerve damage from walking? That doesn’t seem realistic.”
“Nerve damage might not be so bad. It might actually be kind of a relief at the moment. At least it doesn’t hurt so bad. Silver linings!”
“Who am I kidding? I don’t want nerve damage. Fuck.”
“Am I going to fall over?”
“Maybe I should tell someone this is happening. Get a second opinion.”
“Don’t be so dramatic. You’re fine. Stop being such a baby and suck it up.”
“But my legs did go numb. And kind of tingly. They feel weird.”
“Is there a chair nearby? Maybe I could sit on the sidewalk.”
“Ew gross. That looks sticky. Don’t sit on the sidewalk.”
“SERIOUSLY, WHY THE FUCK DID MY LEGS GO NUMB?!”
“Maybe I’m dying?”
“Oh right. I took Advil about 20 minutes ago. That explains a lot. Whew.”
“Hey! Is that the footlocker?!”
“Of course it isn’t.”
Because it was not to be found, the mythical footlocker designed to fuck with tourists. It was when I was crushed into a throng of people so thick that I was pretty sure they were holding me up that I decided to throw in the towel and admit defeat. It was then that a new game plan was needed, and that game plan was finding a bar and getting a stiff drink.
It was Times Square, so we figured there must be a bar within a block and the first one we came across was a TGI Fridays. It served alcohol and presumably had tables so we immediately went in. It had the same vibe as the street outside – loud, bright, colorful, chaotic. They sat us at a table and then no one came to talk to us for 20 minutes.
The street outside – beautiful chaos.
I could feel the anxiety start to wrap around me. I needed quiet, dim, soothing. I needed it like I have never needed it before. This TGI Fridays was the opposite of that. People very yelling to one another over too-loud music. Silverware was clanging everywhere. Then a baby started screaming at the table next to us, and immediately following that the entire fucking staff came out and started singing “Happy happy birthday!” to the table on the other side of us at the top of their lungs and clapping their hands and I. Was. Done. I briefly considered stabbing the entire restaurant but
it’s illegal it seemed like a lot of effort my feet hurt to much they hadn’t brought me any cutlery. Probably a good call on their part.
There was a restaurant downstairs. We passed it to get to the TGI Fridays, and we decided it was right there and it had to be better than this so we left to give it a try. The restaurant was full of empty tables and the bar area was jam-packed with people, which actually looked kind of odd. The hostess smiled and greeted us and we told her we just wanted to sit at the table and order a drink. She informed us that in order to sit at a table you had to order dinner but we could certainly order a drink at the bar area. Suddenly the jam-packed bar made sense. My heart sunk. We took a quick walk through the bar area and there was not a single seat to be found.
So we left that restaurant and I had serious concerns that this mission was turning into the goddamned footlocker debacle all over again when, shining just across the street like a beacon of hope, were the words “Irish Pub” on a simple green awning.
I finally got my drink. We actually passed an open store front window on the way to the Irish Pub with tall leather booths, candles on the table, soothing jazz music, only five other patrons and it was fucking perfect. I fell into the booth and chalked the whole night up to a win.
Us, trying desperately to soothe our feet and laughing hysterically about the whole evening. I also have a shopping bag filled ice on top of my feet. Glorious.
If you haven’t been totally stressed-out in New York, you haven’t done New York.
The next day I knew I had to do something. I had one more day, and obviously just taking it easy wasn’t an option. And that’s how I came to duct-taping paper towel into my shoes in an attempt to build arch support into them while my friends laughed at me.
And you know what? It fucking worked.
*I have learned my lesson. Or I like to think I have. I will NEVER travel without running shoes again. Like someone will say “Let’s go down to Cuba and lay on the beach for a week” and I’ll be like “Sure! Just let me grab my running shoes!”
**We did eventually find the Footlocker, and you know what? Their selection of shoes under $100 was terrible. I did not end up buying shoes there.