Friday, August 19, 2011

two days

I'm leaving soon. Here's to newness and hopefully awesomeness, and a good summer vacation. This has been the calmest summer I've had in a while, excepting this week. Working, eating, sleeping, working out, &c for days and days on end has been boring, but nice, especially after last summer's fruit flies galore. In any case, a brief summary of my week:

New York City + 4 geniuses, in the rain.

My father likes to drive his red minivan around, so my parents and I pile into the car and drive through the grayness to the city, me glaring at the sky and wishing for the sunny Sunday I'd imagined. We head for Chinatown, knowing that my friends won't arrive in the city for a few hours. They're coming by bus, from Washington, D.C. on their senior summer trip.

We're jammed between a white van and an SUV, dark blue. My mother and I get out, and my father chugs on, searching for parking. The sky spits spitefully at us as we hurriedly put up our umbrellas to spar with the other pedestrians churning along the storefronts. I drip on a grandma as we pause to look at some longyan, dragoneye fruit. She snaps at me. Lady, it's raining; what do you want me to do?

We head for dim sum on Elizabeth Street. At the intersection, I hear a white family saying, "There's Jing Fong! See the yellow sign?" I race across the street ahead of them. A minute can mean an extra ten minutes' wait at this restaurant, which gets more and more popular each time I visit.

That also means the food gets worse and worse. I was disappointed this time; most of the filings were shrimp (faster to prepare), and the chicken feet (my mother's favorite) were soggy. I first came here two years ago, and the scallops and dumplings made my tastebuds quite happy. We might not come back again.

My friends call as my mother and I poke around an herbalist's shop. "We're at the hotel, so it should be another 45 minutes before we can check in." That's our cue to leave. I need a ride to 33rd street, so back to the car it is, after finding my father.

They call again. "I'm at 23rd street, guys."
"So ten more minutes, right?"
Oh, you underestimate New York gridlock.

We get stuck at 26th street. "Where are you? We're all checked in and everything."
"Major detour."
Ten minutes later, I get out and walk. My Chinese mother (better prepared than the Boy Scouts) hands me four umbrellas. I already have one, so that's one for each of us. When I get to the hotel, IY is impressed that I came up with enough umbrellas. So am I.

We (JZ, IY, AY, CL, and I) head to Times Square. We take a quick tour of M&M World ("Cool random-number generator," smirks CL at the "What color M&M are you?" machine), the Hershey Store ("A bucket of chocolate?! Oh, I thought they meant a bucket of MOLTEN CHOCOLATE," says I), and finally, Toys 'R' Us:

"Giant Nerds?!" exclaims IY.

"Look guys!" says JZ. "Lemme guess, a panda," says AY. "She's magnetically attracted to them," says I.

"Let's go to the Barbie house!" That would be JZ (ironically, I hope).
"It'," I mutter in disgust, once inside.
"Toy pianos!" CL, AY, and IY, the piano-players among us. Beautiful excerpts of classical piano emanate from the tinny speakers of the tiny (pink) keyboards as they jostle for position.
"Ingraining bad habits in the young," glares JZ at what appears to be a toy (pink) calculator. "No, no, it's a TABLET," I snicker, pointing at the (pink) labeling.

We eat at T.G.I.Friday's. On the street, we wonder what to do. Naturally, we head next door to a comedy club. Five comedians, five jokes about performing in a sketchy basement, five times we were asked what part of Asia we're from (for the record, Boston. And Connecticut. Also, four from China and one from Korea). Other than that, and suspending my sense of offense, they're pretty funny. The audience is awkwardly silent though, except for a couple from Connecticut:
"Are you his girlfriend?" asks the comedian.
"Yes," he says.
"No," she says. During another act, we'd found out that they had been dating for "Two weeks. I mean three. A month, basically."
"I'm drunk," she says. "Well, drinking."
"Oh, she's drunk," he says, and the comedian agrees.

"That was the first time I've lasted through an entire comedy act," remarks IY. "Whenever the comedians came to school I'd always get offended and leave."

After the show, I have to leave. Halfway home, the rain starts sheeting down. A car accelerates up the on-ramp. The curb ends, and a wave of water splatters across our windshield. I haven't been this scared traveling since I was in a plane landing in Chicago and the wind started tossing the plane back and forth like a child's toy in the bathtub. We make it home, though. I live to sleep in my own bed for one more night.

More tomorrow. It's bedtime.

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