Out of My Comfort Zone

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite a bit. Over the years I’ve figured out places where I could potentially live, at least part of the time. Paris is at the top of the list, of course. The Florida Keys are right up there as well. There’s a great appeal of the ancient holy places like Lindisfarne in the far north of England. Or Assisi way up on a hill in Italy.

But there’s one place I could never, ever live–New York City.

Don’t get me wrong–I think New York is a wonderful place and if I had unlimited funds, I might splurge on a pied-à-terre there. But not until I’ve secured living quarters in all the other places first.

We spent last weekend in New York. I left my wallet in the first cab we took.

Hell damn and hell.

No wallet=no ID=equal sticky wicket when passing through airport security.

Husband said not to worry, and I attempted to do (or not do) just that.

The next day I spent some time with a gracious woman who has spent a great deal of time in New York. We had a very elegant lunch. We strolled down 5th Avenue and she pointed out some of the sights. We went to her apartment and saw the polar bears in the Central Park Zoo from her terrace.

That’s the way to live in the city. She knows how to do it. I, on the other hand, lose my wallet within 30 minutes.

By and by, it was time to travel home. We got our boarding passes and headed to security.

When I got to the front of the line I presented my boarding pass and told the agent I had lost my ID.

“Stand to the side,” she told me. (Husband asked for and received permission to stand by me.)

It was crowded in our little corner of LaGuardia and we had to keep telling people that we weren’t in line. One woman heard us talking and decided to share her thoughts on the situation.

“Oh my god–that happened to a friend of mine and it turned out that she had THE EXACT SAME NAME AS A PERSON ON THE NO FLY LIST.”

“Shhhh,” I said. “I don’t want to hear that.”

“Why not?” her male companion said. “Are you a PERPETRATOR?”

“Would the both of you PLEASE quit talking now?” I asked in my nicest voice.

They huffed away, clearly not understanding why I didn’t want to hear about other people’s misfortunes.

In the end, a nice man came and had me fill out a form. He asked me a few questions and then made a call. Evidently the person on the other end had a copy of my permanent record and deemed all my answers acceptable and I was cleared. I got patted down and wanded, and another nice young man saw way more of the inside of my suitcase than I’m sure he wanted.

We made it on the plane and now I’m back in my zip code.

It’s not New York’s fault that I lost my wallet. I just always feel a little out of step there. Like I’m moving too slowly. Talking too slowly.

In New York I’m wading through chocolate pudding while everyone else is zipping by on hovercrafts. Or in cabs–only they remember to take their wallets when they get out.


Filed under Travel

10 responses to “Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. Julie Fisher

    Well, I love New York–really I do. For a long weekend, with lots and lots of money, a gorgeous hotel room, wonderful dinners in wonderful restaurants, and lots of time to wander where I want to wander. Otherwise, just halving the description of everything on my list above, New York can disappoint really fast–dirty, smelly, mean, no time or space on the streets, everything expensive, AND CAB DRIVERS THAT DON’T RETURN BILLFOLDS EVER. Oh please, tell us all that you have received your intact billfold in the mail because God is keeping his eye on us all and especially cab drivers who even dare think of keeping billfolds and their contents.

  2. I wish this had been one of those “cab driver with a heart returns lost wallet” stories. They do surface once in a while. Ah, well. New York certainly isn’t for everybody. (In fact, it isn’t for MOST people!) But everyone should see it at least once.

    La Guardia is a hell hole. It’s not exactly New York putting it’s best foot forward.

    And, yes, having lots of $$$ at your disposal certainly enhances the visit. Where exactly does your friend live? 😉

  3. Just a thought: possibly not the cabbie at all, but his next fare…
    I’ve never been to NY (and would love to, one day when I’m rich), but felt the same in London – out of place, not measuring up. Not in foreign capitals, because then you’re protected from nasty insecurities by the bubble wrap of being alien.

  4. mongoliangirl

    You and me both, honey. The worst place I ever lost a wallet was Tel Aviv. Ugh! It’s so metropolitan as well. I am absolutely the chocolate pudding type myself. And I wouldn’t mind taking up residence near Thessoliniki (sp?) Greece. Anywhere in Greece. Did I say Greece? Yes, Greece.

  5. WHIT

    So glad you made it back home! Although, I do wish I knew someone who lived in NYC. Well trip next weekend should be a lil slower for you.:) Go Vols!

  6. Do you know what I find most disturbing about that story – that they called someone who had all your personal information. Who did they call?

    I’m with you. NYC is a good place to visit, but would never want to live there. I feel the same way about all the megapoli that I’ve visited – London, Syndey, Rome, etc.

  7. curious if you feel the same about London … there are similarities, but I feel London is slower (and less psychologically intimidating because less towering buildings looking down at you).

  8. Julie–The billfold is gone for good. Maybe somebody put the cash to good use.
    UB–LaGuardia would be the perfect set for an aviation movie set in the 50s.
    PG–You definitely visit NYC if you get the chance. It is an amazing place.
    MG–Never been to Tel Aviv, don’t really feel the need to visit. But Greece is a different story–it’s on the list for sure.
    Whit–No taxis on that trip, so my wallet should be safe.
    AFM–You know what else is disturbing? After the careful check of my purse and suitcase, I still made it home with a pack of matches I had picked up at a fancy restaurant. It didn’t even occur to me until a few days later when I gave them to Husband that they had been in my purse the whole time.
    Ellie–I don’t feel the same way about London. It seems less foreign to me than NYC. Plus, there’s always a cozy pub to duck into. 🙂

  9. And me? New York is at the top of my to-live-list. Paris is too, actually.

  10. I left a small suitcase in a cab once, and the driver took it back to Newark airport, where I got it latter.

    So sorry about your wallet, Cindy.

    I actually prefer LaGuardia to other area airports. I guess the cab fumes have gone to my head…

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