After the Meltdown
YES! Finally! After having probably one of the greatest adventures of my life and not having the ability to blog about it for a good week after returning, we're back online! My sweet Charlie tinkered with the stubborn computer everyday, to no avail, and finally, I batted my big brown eyes at him and he caved.
Charlie: Ok, ok, I give up! Call SBC and get a technician out here.
Pua: (excitedly and full of hope) Really?
Charlie: Yes, yes...I just can't look at all of your sad faces for one more day.
Pua: Awww Honey, you're the best!
Charlie: Yeah, yeah, I'm the best...just call me at work and tell me how much it's gonna cost. Ok?
So, after talking with SBC and a solemn promise that someone would be out to check it out before 2 pm (which actually happened!) and agreeing to the understanding that it might cost a small fortune if the problem was on OUR end and not THEIRS, all systems are go. And yes, it was THEIR problem; bad modem. In the midst of organizing repair chaos on one phone line, I talked with Wayne
on another. He wanted to ask my permission to post a pic from our meeting in New York. With a phone up to each ear, I must have been a sight, which I proceeded to describe to Wayne. I told him I was honored and despite my lowered state of self-esteem (I don't take very good pictures and usually I run from cameras), I consented. So now, since he's already done that for me, I don't have to!
Now, post-Apocalyptic computer meltdown and no longer suffering from blog withdrawal, let me just say before I go into a sililoquy about fabulous New York, that meeting Wayne was the one thing I looked forward to more than anything. Our group had an incredibly tight, grueling, but exciting agenda, as I had previoiusly listed All of those things you imagine you would want to do and see while visiting New York were on that list. But my list had a little something extra. For example:
1. See some Broadway shows
2. See Statue of Liberty
3. See Empire State Building
4. Etc. Etc. Etc.
5. See Wayne!!!!
On the day that we landed in New York, I got a text message that simply said.."Happy Landings!" Wayne. What could be better? We didn't have a set meeting time or date, and I knew that he was in moving and stress hell, not to mention he would be flying back to Cali in a couple of days himself. For him to fit us into his schedule was beyond generous. It was a Sunday, and luckily, he happened to be in the city. We were between shows, having just gotten out of "Movin Out" (really terrific). Our tour guides allowed us a 90 minute break for rest and change to get ready for the next show; "Bombay Dreams" (Bollywood fun).
Instead of spending the time changing, I arranged to meet with Wayne in the lobby of our hotel since he said he was already in the city. I kinda forgot to mention that the lobby of the Marriott Marquis is on the 8th floor, AND that since parts of the hotel were under construction, the elevator system was sluggish, at best. So while dear sweet Wayne was down on the first floor, which anyone would assume was the lobby, I was on the 8th floor waiting. After a few phone calls back and forth, we finally connected...and knew each other instantly. I warned him that I was going to hug him when I saw him. I keep my promises!
I called Caris in her room and told her that Wayne was here. She excitedly said she'd be right down and brought Taryn and Dana with her. We sat at a table in the hotel lounge and talked as if we'd known each other forever. He fascinated us with his stories about New York transportation AND gave us a quick lesson on "Uptown, Downtown, and Mid-town." He gave the girls tips on skin care and bronzing aids (do's and don'ts) because he is, after all, the resident expert! He and Caris swapped stories about working on sets and pursuing dreams in "the industry". It was, as Averie would say, magical. Before I knew it, it was time to go. Yet, as our group gathered for dinner, he and I continued to talk, and he walked with all of us out of the hotel, down the block to our bus, and as we parted he said..."Enjoy New York and savor every second, Pua." I hugged him and promised I'd call or write when I got home. I had a sense of sadness because it was too short, but was joyful because we had gotten the chance at all. He's a wonderul, sweet, talented man who I'm grateful to call my friend. And just so you know, we did as he said and savored every second.
Now, I just want to say this about that. I was tired. Damn tired. We took the red-eye. You know, that flight where everyone around you sleeps. But even though you took two Tylenol PM AND a great big swig of Nyquil, you yourself couldn't. I even had one of those little blow-up neck pillow thingys. Tip One; save your money. All it does is make your neck sweat. Although the band teacher had one and she managed to snore her way to New York. I'll be nice and not call her that name. I was jealous. Taryn managed a few z's, Caris tossed and turned. The thing was, we KNEW we had to get even a little bit of sleep, because as soon as we got off the plane, we were on a tour bus and the day was FULL of events. They didn't lie. At 6:30 am we landed, and from that minute on, until 10:00 pm that night, we were on the go. All told, we were awake for over 39 hours.
You name it, we did it. I actually checked off an amazing amount of things on my Life List. A carriage ride in Central Park. A hot dog off a street cart. A subway ride. The Statue of Liberty. The Empire State Building. Radio City Music Hall. Macy's. Times Square. A cab ride. The list goes on. And then there were little, lucky perks; 7th Avenue was closed off for a street fair. An ice cream cone from a Mister Softee truck. A tour guide who was a former showgirl back in the day. A purple sunset behind the copper lady. Caris and Taryn's face as the curtain went up for "Little Shop of Horrors." These little things are some of the best memories that will stand out to me. Forever.
I know they may not know it now because they're young, but through mature eyes, I believe that we really got a true taste of the New York experience. Those little delis and cafes where we had our breakfasts may have just been tiny, dingy holes to them, but I saw beyond that. That old worn out upholstery in the booth of the cafe in the Hotel Edison was worn out by years and years of playrights, directors, and producers sliding in and out. Famous names, and wannabes. Late nights where actors would come and have a bite before going home at 2 and 3 am. Yeah, these kids might complain about the food or the service and maybe they might have wanted the familiarity of McDonald's, but if they saw it with the eye of the artist within them, they could imagine they were sitting with the likes of Neil Simon, Noel Coward, and all those actors that paved the way for them. We sat and walked where the people that built Broadway with their talents sat and walked, and still do. Those are the things I'll remember.
As many times as I said to Caris..."Oh my gosh, we're actually here!" I meant that with the full reverence and humility intended. I was overwhelmed. I understood when Caris was awestruck. I understood when she said she was going to come back there. I understood when she said that someday I'd see her name in a Playbill or on a poster. I understood how much it meant to dream. I understood it to the depth of her understanding. As I savored every second and drank in every opportunity, as I watched servers do their jobs; whether tired or indifferent, as I stood on certain walkways and stared up at the myriad of lights, I knew my understanding was deeper. From another time, decades ago, when dues were paid in a different way. Elaine Stritch type dues. I'm humbled. And grateful.
It was truly...the time of my life.