The Day Before The Night

Sandra Bernhard was certainly the highlight of our visit to NY, but we had an action-packed day before we got to the show.

Being NY, there was no shortage of strange agents.  We went to the theatre for a matinée; Al Pacino starring in Glengarry Glen Ross.  It was very good; this Pacino guy definitely has potential.  At intermission I went to stretch my legs and was standing around in the back when two elderly women came over and sat on the steps.  There was a terse conversation that I tried desperately to hear but couldn’t because there were too many other people yapping.  I noticed one of the women dig through her purse and pull out what looked to be a bottle of water and pass it to her friend.  Thankfully it quieted down enough for me to hear their brief debate about the bottle, which as it turns out was actually full of vodka, and they both proceeded to take a couple of big swigs.  Look, I know it’s not easy to settle in for a Broadway show without a couple of good strong belts, especially when you’re on a day pass from the nursing home.  Bless their hearts.

We took the train to NY, which is always a great opportunity for me to eavesdrop on people whose lives are even weirder than my own.  I try to tune in to the conversation directly ahead of me, directly behind, and directly across the aisle.  I’d like to be able to juggle all three but on occasion I get them all mixed up.

Directly across the aisle were Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson, with their bratty kids sitting in front of them.  They spent the entire trip arguing about where they were going, what they were doing, and in what order.  They also argued about who was making the trip to the café car, whether or not it made sense to have a little snack or wait for lunch, and ultimately, what specifically constitutes a little snack.  In case you’re curious, they specifically ruled out the son’s suggestion of 2 hot dogs, a bag of chips, and a soda.  They were still negotiating on one dog and shared chips and a soda when I lost the thread, but I think the kid was still holding out on having his own bag of chips.

In sharp contrast, the couple behind us was agonizingly planning every minute of every day in NYC.  They agreed that the first thing they should do is go straight to their hotel and check in, but they backtracked and said no, the first thing we’ll do is get a cab to the hotel from Penn Station.  A cab, are you sure?  What about the subway?  A mere two hours later, the transportation question had been decided in favor of the subway, and they agreed to unpack and do a little ironing before heading out to their next destination.  They spent the rest of the ride reviewing their complicated plan in detail to be sure they hadn’t missed anything.

I kept looking at Dan to see if he was catching any of this, but he was clueless.  He was focusing far too much on his reading and not nearly enough on eavesdropping.  Oh well, I was busy anyway, furiously jotting down notes so I could remember to share everything with you guys.

He also missed the conversation the two women sitting in front of us were having about a friend’s recent engagement.  It seemed they were primarily obsessing over the diamond engagement ring, because I kept hearing about a rock, a really giant rock, where he got it, cut, carat, clarity, etc.   The whole thing sounded like a Mervis Diamond commercial.  In fact, apparently the whole purpose of the trip to NY was to visit the ring, and I guess the friend too, assuming she was attached to it.  I’ll admit, they piqued my curiosity to the point that I almost asked to see a picture of the damn thing.  It sounded like quality merchandise.

Speaking of which, Dan and I mindlessly wandered in to the jewelry store in the hotel where we were of course immediately pounced upon by a salesman.  He just stood there and looked at me for a while, eyebrows knitted in deep thought, before he started telling me which pieces I “needed.”  It was a relief to find out that they just happened to be having a big sale, so the necklace he envisioned for me was marked down from $7,800 to $3,800.

But you know what?  He really liked me; I’m a nice lady with excellent taste, so only for me the final price went down to $3,300.  I felt bad because at that point he told me he wasn’t even making a profit on it, he just wanted to enjoy seeing me in the necklace.  I mean, if any other poor slob walked in the door he was definitely not going to give her an extra $500 off.  He only had eyes for me.  And my wallet.

When we thanked him profusely but politely declined, the man leaned in close, looked around, and then whispered a secret just to me; jewelry was the best possible place to invest money right now.  I couldn’t resist; I noted that it’s really not an investment other than on paper.  He told me my engagement ring was absolutely an investment, and by then I was pretty amused, so I took it off my hand and asked how much he would give me for it.  He immediately protested that he himself doesn’t buy jewelry but he would give me an estimate of what I would get from someone who actually does buy jewelry.

He came up with some ridiculous number and I just smiled and took back my ring.  I could see that he was quickly falling out of love with me.  In classic NY style, he shrugged his shoulders and said he could care less what I bought or didn’t buy, he was just trying to be a nice guy.

By the time we left NY, we’d had enough sights and sounds.  We headed straight for the quiet car on the train ride back home.  I may have missed some interesting stories, but it was pure bliss.

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