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June 7, 2007

Tourists let loose in the big city! And on boats.

Can I ask ya'll a question? Is it just a Los Angeles thing or did every human on the planet have their morning news interrupted this fine June day by BREAKING NEWS that was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER and for the next half hour there was a news conference about the OH MY GOD Paris Hilton jail situation?

Because I do think the sun could be exploding and still all any of the news channels would talk about is little Paris Hilton. But to be honest with ya'll, I was far more distressed by another news story making the headlines:


Yeah, so good luck with that. Also: if we are the unwashed masses and it is climbing into the 100s by late summer, can we call in stinky to work? I need to check with my boss on that one.

Speaking of stinky, and work, I wanted to post pictures of touristy stuff yesterday but oh yeah, ya'll! I have a real job! One at which I was required to do such things as "work" and "earn my keep." Coming back to the office after any time away is like returning to a brand new job all over again, many new and exciting pieces of paper have kept the chair (and desk) (and cabinets) warm and cozy, waiting anxiously for your return. Hello, nice to meet you new ad campaign. I am your director.

So, without further Parising and unwashed ado, this is a movie of me being overwhelmed in Times Square. I don't know why the image isn't showing up but click on it and it plays video:

And this is a guy I stopped on the street in the middle of Times Square and asked to take his picture and he acquiesced because his T-shirt was nothing if not New Yawker friendly:


Actually, he was very friendly and didn't mind at all having me take his picture. I might have even flirted if I hadn't been so overwhelmed and all, "Please, Faith, get me back to the hotel expediently! Now please!"

Speaking of cute Faith here she is with some crazy lady on the airplane:

And here we are having dinner with my fam at Junior's in Times Square which was close enough to the hotel that I could try to avoid the teeming masses of people. I had a kind of hard time with the sheer density of humans packed into such a small area. I have never been someplace so crowded and I think I had sensory overload every minute of every day we were there. But I also had a great cheeseburger here:

Also, this was from some other night and aren't my folks so damn cute you cannot stand it:


On the last day we were there I was SO DONE with all that other stuff so we got to do some real sightseeing, since up until that day all we saw was the Javits Center and the hotel. We signed up for one of those double-decker bus tours and played Robo Tourists for the day (Faith went to hang out with a friend of hers who lives in the city.) And even though we knew we were being Total Tourists From Down South™, I have to tell you the bus tour and especially the boat tour of the Statue of Liberty completely rescued me from hating New York City. You get to see the general layout of the city without having to watch where you're walking or stress about getting hopelessly lost. If you only have one day it's a great way to get a general picture of a giant, nutty place.


My favorite picture ever:

It is my goal in life to share the self-portrait taking bug with all people of the world, and I am starting with the family:

The boat ride was my favorite part, which may sound very surprising to many people who know me, or rather used to know me and are no longer speaking to me. But more on that later, here's me and dad not panicked at all for our safety:


By the way, we are not tourists very much, are we?

So my relationship with boats is ... quirky. I know that will surprise ya'll. I am fine with speedboats down at the lake, and canoes and kayaks. I like myself a fishing boat and a barge, but only if said boat is still kind of smallish in size and most importantly, I need to be able to see the land. The land which I will swim to when we capsize and sink. As we were standing in line to get on this boat, I was already looking for the life jackets and me and my family were laughing about the time -- the ONE time -- I went to Catalina and How Very Embarrassed Other People Were For Me.

I may have already told you this story but it is good and I like to re-tell things because A) I am Southern B) I am touched and C) I have been drunk a lot in my past and can't remember things, or so I say.

And if you think I am kidding about the Southern part, I DARE you to ask some Southerner for directions. I know my people. We are wordy. Plus, directions sometimes contain very enticing but completely unhelpful items such as "Turn left where the old truck used to be," or my favorite "Go out Franklin Road until you get to where they were going to build that church that time, but then the pastor was caught with that woman from down at the high school, you know the one? And they had that scandal? With that fellow from up in Wayne County?"

But that is not the point! Fete attencion!

It was sometime back in the '90s and I was much younger and skinnier and dumber, if you can believe that. I had just moved to Los Angeles and finally made a few friends and I was still too scared of this city to drive on the freeway. So people had to come to my house and pick me up and drive me places, if we planned on going anywhere outside Woodland Hills, and believe me if you are in your 20s and live in Woodland Hills you must leave it to have a good time. Also isn't it funny how I am now thirty-five years old and still live in the Valley and still people have to drive me everywhere to get me out of the house.

Moving on.

So my new friends invited me to Catalina Island. It was supposed to be a very pretty place and good for eating fried shrimp and drinking and carrying on. This sounded like so much fun, especially for me with all my many memories of South Padre Island. So I got all cuteified and fixed my hair and we get down to Long Beach and suddenly I am supposed to be getting on a BOAT. Perhaps other people, people not Southern, would have assumed based upon the word "island" that boat transport would be involved. But where I am from you can drive to all the islands, such as South Padre, and also all the Florida Keys (or at least the good ones, with the bars.)

I stared at the girls, stared at the Catalina Flyer line, stared at the boat.

"It's a BOAT."

And they knew I was a little particular even then, but was I brain damaged? Because hello we have to get our tickets and get on the damn boat, it will be LEAVING. And that is where the DRINKING is.

I tried to weasel out of the boat ride with every inch of polite but horrified I could muster. I started in on the germ angle ("But there are germs, the germy kind! And portopotties! I don't do portopotties!") and then I asked if we could drive (insert image here of three California gals rolling their eyes dramatically).

Finally I told them that I was sure, just sure, I was karmically reincarnated from a small child that died in steerage on the Titanic and I was mortally terrified of big boats.

"I'll wait while ya'll go to your deaths in a watery grave."

And they ignored me.

Sensitive to the amount of ridicule they would heap on me and also the amount of disgusted talking about me they would do behind my back, I finally climbed about the Titanic, err, Catalina Flyer, and promptly found a helpful boat employee.

"May I see your safety rating please?"

"Our what?" he asked. Bewildered.

"Your safety card or whatever it's called! Don't you have to produce or post a safety rating?" I asked, desperate. Crazy. "Like how well-maintained the boat is and do you have any life rafts, that sort of thing?"

"Um, let me ask my supervisor," he said. And he disappeared. Hiding, one can only assume, from Wild Eyed Twang Lady.

Then the motor started and I gripped the side rail and that is when someone in a striped shirt appeared who I assumed was the supervisor and he tried his very best to assure me and my three roll-eyed friends that the boat was safe and nobody had died yet.

"YET being the operative word!" I declared. There I go with the declarations.

And then somehow someway I managed to get myself a large, embarrassing orange life jacket WHICH I PUT ON OVER MY CUTE OUTFIT. Like a big MENTAL CASE. And I climbed the stairs up to the top deck so I could sit there at watch, in my orange life vest, and stay alert for icebergs and sharks and submarines.

My friends were so embarrassed the pretended not to be with me and the talking behind my back commenced in earnest which really, can you blame them? Orange totally clashed with everyone's cute outfits, plus, they had to be seen with their friend, THE DORK IN THE LIFE VEST.

But I lived, and that is what matters.

So you may be surprised to hear I enjoyed the Lady Liberty Cruise more than any other thing on our whole trip, but that was because my parents were there and they are both good swimmers, and we were seated very near the exits and, most importantly, the supplies:


So that is all of our trip! I hope you enjoyed the ride, be sure to tip your tour guide and wash your hands. And enjoy the view from the boat ... but be sure you scope out the exits first. Just in case.


Posted by laurie at June 7, 2007 10:24 AM