Monday, April 11, 2016

Not the usual kind of exercise

For two days when I didn't officially exercise, I did a lot of running around.

On Sunday I drove to Fairfield to see Ben, Joe and Nell (Meghan was out). We had a nice little visit where the grownups had bagels and Nell had a bottle and some baby food. Nell seemed to like playing with the string on my sweatshirt.

I took the train to Grand Central and got a new MetroCard because I couldn't find mine. I like to think that I am still a New Yorker and was proud of myself for knowing that I needed a card, unlike Bernie Sanders who thinks you still need tokens, and unlike Hillary Clinton who needed five swipes to get in while I only needed one. I was planning to take the shuttle all the way further east so I wouldn't have to walk the long crosstown blocks  from there (42nd and Lexington) to my Aunt Marge and Bill's (United Nations Plaza), 49th street east of First Avenue.

When I got in and looked at the signs I felt really stupid. The shuttle only runs between Grand Central and Times Square to the west. NOT IN THE OTHER DIRECTION. So not-a-New Yorker.

I had wasted that perfect swipe. I ended up back in the terminal and went out to the street and decided to walk.

I was pulling a suitcase so it wasn't that easy. I'm afraid I looked like an out-of-towner: pieces of the New York Times fluttering in the wind, dragging that suitcase, carrying my laptop and purse, struggling to open the door of a deli to buy flowers and cookies for Marge and Bill, hair flying around my face in the wind.

People stopped to get photographed at Trump World Tower (a residential building not to be confused with Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue). They were all laughing as they did it. I don't know what that meant. I know what I was thinking, as you can see from my thumbs down in the photo.

Up at Marge and Bill's, I showed them photos and videos of Nell and enjoyed the view. Afterwards, I took a cab up to 66th and Third Avenue to get a cappuccino at Starbucks because I thought it was too early to have dinner with my cousin Jeanne. It was the closest one between where I was and 72nd street, where Jeanne, Bruce and Amanda live. I then got a look at a bad side and a good side of New York.

While juggling all my stuff, I pulled open the door of Starbucks. From behind me, a woman going into the store pulled it out further. My hand got stuck in the door and my fingers bent backwards. I looked over my shoulder at the woman and she said, sounding annoyed, "I would have opened the door for you if I knew you had issues." I wasn't sure how to take that but I don't think she was being friendly.

I sat down on a stool at the window. I put my suitcase under the counter and my black Longchamp purse on a shelf that had bags of coffee on it, and then I read part of Sunday's Times. I walked up the six blocks to Jeanne's and went into the building. The doorman called up and as I was walking towards the elevator it suddenly occurred to me that I didn't have my purse.

Naturally, I panicked. I went back to the desk and tried to call Starbucks but got the wrong one. I figured it was best to just go back there. So I got a cab and when I asked the driver to take me there and wait for me and told him what had happened, he said he would take me for free.

If you have to leave your purse somewhere in New York, Starbucks is a good place to do it. It was waiting for me behind the counter. The cab driver, who was standing next to his taxi when I came out of Starbucks showing him my bag, had a big smile on his face. I gave him a $5 tip. At first he didn't seem to know what I was doing. But we both ended up happy.

Today I took a cab from Jeanne's to Grand Central after briefly considering taking a bus or subway but realizing it wasn't going to be easy with all my stuff. There was so much traffic that it was a very expensive cab ride for a short distance. It cost $13-something plus tip, and I thought I could have played tennis for that amount.

Once in Fairfield, I considered taking a cab to Ben and Meghan's to get my car because no one was available to pick me up. But I didn't want to spend any more on cabs, so I walked the approximately 3/4 of a mile. It's a good thing that, thinking I might have time for a run, I had put on my sneakers.

From there I drove home, stopping at Katz's deli in Woodbridge for a corned beef sandwich and a Coke to go. I felt nostalgic about all the times that I stopped there with the kids on our way to and from New York, when it used to be a much smaller place, but the challenge of eating that big sandwich in the car took my mind off it.

And to think that seven years ago, I couldn't even walk.

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