Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Take Me Home Tonight

I've recently returned from a week-long trip to the east coast. I spent the first few days in Reston, VA in meetings that were productive, but so boring that I even risked IMing my friend Mary Alice in the middle of one just to keep from drifting off to sleep. I had to cut that convo short when, as always, MA started to make me laugh and I was afraid I'd be unable to stifle the giggles. In Reston, I also had a chance to catch up with Lyn, an online pal whose sense of humor is just as natural and perfect in real life as it is via the net.

The second stop on the east coast tour was NYC. Despite that fact that the city is about a bazillion times bigger and scarier than the town we currently live in, I had a great time. Thankfully, the meetings in the Big Apple were more exciting and inspiring than those in DC. I stayed at the Waldorf, which turned out to be a good thing, because I felt like I was experiencing a part of NYC without ever leaving the hotel. I could have lived without the exorbitant minibar prices, though. I spent $11.95 on two cans of Diet Coke before my friend Emily rescued me from financial doom and took me to a deli for more reasonably priced beverages.

Em is a fantastic NYC tour guide, by the way. Not only did she drive to Times Square on Saturday night to pick me up, she took me on an impromptu tour of several Manhattan neighborhoods that I hadn't seen yet, providing interesting commentary along the way in her fabulous British/Brooklyn accent. Em can call me daaahling anytime. We stopped for drinks on the Lower West Side (I think) and later ate "Sex and the City" cupcakes that were so good they should be illegal.

Sunday morning I awoke early, remembering why I had previously called for a self-imposed ban on all tequila products. Next time if someone could please remind me that it would be cheaper and faster to give myself a headache by running into a wall, that would be great. That route isn't as tasty, I suppose. My hours in NYC were running short, so I made my way to Park Ave. and located a cab that would take me to the Empire State Building. The line for the elevators stretched around the block when I arrived at the ESB, so I decided I'd have to take in the sights from the upper deck another time. I did some shopping, picking up souvenirs for my daughter, nieces and nephews. After that, it was time to head back to the hotel and catch the shuttle to LaGuardia. The shuttle driver took a different route than what I saw on the way in, which was a pleasant surprise. I got to see the Queensboro Bridge, which was far prettier and more interesting than the Triboro Bridge that I came in on. The driver also treated his passengers to a quick tour of Queens, but I think I was the only one who appreciated seeing something other than Midtown, based on the grumblings from the backseat.

Before long, I was on the runway at LaGuardia, ready to go home. I have to say, though, that landing and taking off from LaGuardia is one of my favorite travel experiences. I was on a small regional jet, which sucked until I realized that it gave me a fabulous view of the water at the end of the runway.

My daughter and husband met me at the airport in Kansas City. I think they had a fun, relaxed time together while I was gone, as evidenced by the fact that my daughter was wearing her bathing suit under her winter coat for the trip to the airport. It didn't take long to get back into the swing of things in southeast Kansas. Spring truly arrived in the week that I was gone. Tractors are working the fields and bulbs are bringing color to flower beds in every yard.

While I wish I could have had a few extra days in the big city to see the sights, I have to say that it's a nice feeling to be home. And I guess, even with all of the complaining I do about this backwoods rural town, I do feel at home here now. As I was driving the 20 miles into town for groceries yesterday, I sang along to my favorite Violent Femmes tape just a little louder, appreciated the wide open spaces just a little more and breathed the fresh, spring air a little deeper. I love the city, but it's good to be home.


mockingbird girl said...

Um...brooklyn/british accent? LOL. So that's what I sound like! And we had drinks on the lower east side darling. There is not such neighborhood as the "lower west side."
It was wonderful hanging out with you. I'd gladly drive to Times Square at 8 p.m. on a Saturday night to do it again!

HC said...

Ha! I just saw this comment! A little late to the party, I am. Yes, you have a British/Brooklyn accent, and you know it's pretty fabulous. :D OK, so, I made up a new neighborhood in NYC. Is that so wrong? It's not like it's an old city, with, like, established neighborhoods and stuff. Heh.