A few weeks ago I went up to New York to attend a gala as a media liason/usher/handholder/ass wipe. Work travel is always something to look forward to as it is the only time someone will pay for you to go on a trip without them (wha?). Totally pumped.
Anyways, my colleague and I took the train up – which should have been a relatively simple task. You show up, board, pick your seats and maybe have a snack. Nope. Not the case. Since his travelling partner happened to be me, everything was going to get fucked – and quickly. Upon me insisting, we boarded the first car. I have this theory that everyone runs to the back of the train thinking that the whole front of the train is already occupied when in actuality all the cars are empty because everyone thinks the same thing (sheep people I call them). I was right. Suuucckkaaaahhhs! Hundreds of jabronies running all the way down to the end of the track when there was ample room right hurr. Little did I know that I had made a horrible, horrible mistake.
We got settled in and I plunked my Nike training bag on our seats and got cozy (was the only thing I could find – I was told later that people don’t typically travel with gym bags….whateves). As a side note – I am the world’s worst packer of all time. On one business trip to Chicago I packed two pillow cases thinking they were two of my white shirts. My boss was nice enough to lend me a few of hers to avoid having to Fred Flintstone around in make shift pillowcase shirts. Another time I packed a down comforter instead of my snow suit. I guess bed-ware and clothing are interchangeable to me. Anyways, that happened.
A few things about me and travelling anywhere ever:
1. I must have a snack and/or the next meal that is coming up readily available.
2. Travelling seats cannot be made for people the size of Tom Cruise or I will not be able to fit in them. This is precisely why on planes I request the emergency exit or I just push on the person’s chair in front of me as they recline to the point where it doesn’t move and they just give up – thinking it is faulty.
3. I talk A LOT pretty much the whole duration of the trip unless I’m asleep.
One and two were sorted. Trains have ample leg room for all walks of life and I had before purchased 16 snacks, a breakfast parfait, and a turkey wrap in preparation for the upcoming meal that would be lunch.
However, three was an effing’ disaster. I had mistakenly directed us to the ‘silent car’ which basically reads, if you are a middle aged asshole with way too much reading material for the duration of the trip and a stinky eyebrow crunch permanently draped across your upper face – then you are most welcome to sit in the silent car. In addition to stinky face, you are silent car material if you get unreasonably pissed off if any, I mean ANY! noise is made in this car. No sneezing; no rustling bags; no digging through things; no getting up and down; and absolutely no talking. I needed to do four out of those five things immediately and simultaneously. Not only was I aggressively talking in one of those whispers where people pretend they’re whispering but are actually just talking normally in a low raspy voice but I had a paper bag which carried most of my belongings in that I had to crinkle and riffle through every 3.2 seconds. OKAY. WE’RE LEAVING.
We gathered all of our things and I hit three people in the head on the way out with my side slung Nike bag. We walked one car forward which was rather luxurious looking and decided to just risk it. It had been a total of 15 minutes travel time and I hadn’t had a snack so after sitting down I racked out my hummus and flattened pretzel treat. Feeling scrum-dillly-umpscious, I dove in just as I saw the train ticket personnel-person was coming by to check our tickets again. I told my co-worker we should probably pretend that we’re sleeping because that works well in pretty much any situation where you don’t want to be confronted or questioned.
As we faked slept, I had to just hold my hummus treat upright which made it a little less believable and I side eyed peeked to see when he was coming. He could blatantly see through our ruse as I made direct eye contact during the half-peek. DAMMIT. “Tickets please. And you there, are obviously not sleeping.” He also recognized us from the car behind. “Hey, it’s you two. What are you doing up here?” I took the liberty of speaking for us, “Oh, well we didn’t realize that was the silent car and it blows. So…. we just popped up here (smiley face and head tilt).”Conductor guy, “Okay, well you can only stay here if you want to cough up $40 extra bucks each. You have to move – we got other people coming on at the next stop.” Again, me talking from my face, “Okay, but I just opened my snack. See? Here is my snack.” I waived my hand around the borders of the hummus and the pretzel trays like if he sees the snack enough, of course he will think this is a legitimate excuse. “Do you think we could just stay here?” Conductor guy, “No. You cannot just stay here. And it doesn’t matter that you have that snack. Please stop waving it around you’re going to spill.”
GEEZUS. Okay. ROUND THREE. We gathered our stuff again and I stacked together my snack to hold flimsily as we traveled at rapid speed back through the fucking silent car where I could literally feel the piercing eyes of silent assholes staring into my back. I was waving around my hummus like hotcakes (uh?) as we hustled through a never ending string of train cars. FINALLY we found two empty seats and could have some relaxing time…except I had to run to the bathroom.
It took me three minutes to close the bathroom latch and when I got around to washing my hands I came to find that the soap dispenser was severely clogged. After ninety-seven violent pumps, the top burst and forcefully explode squirted all over my shirt. I walked back to my seat dripping in a thin milky substance that left behind just enough residue to look casually homeless. I sat down feeling relieved to have gotten out of the bathroom at all (it’s all about small victories). My co-worker asked me where the hell I had been all this time and why I was covered in weird white shit. The whole situation looked bad. I just asked if he could please pass me my pretzel snack.
Finally arriving in New York, I was happy to get off the train and leave behind all the haters and malfunctioning soap canisters. We arrived at the hotel via cab and entered into a grand atrium with hanging old things aka chandeliers, fans, and other crystal uglies. It was nice but super old. The check in lady gave us very specific instructions to not put our key cards within a 50 mile radius of our phones or they would be deactivated. Fine. Let’s go.
On the walk up to our rooms I tactfully tucked my key card into my phone case to hold them in one hand (moron). Of course, when I got to the room the key didn’t work. I went back to the lobby two minutes later and told her that I had not taken her advice at all (she looked at me like really? Its been 30 seconds). She re-activated my card and back up I went to unlock my room. It still didn’t work. Back down to the lobby I went and waited in line.
My lady was now gone so I went to another lady who was a few spots down at the desk and told her the whole story. “Okay….” she said, “But are you staying in the hotel?” (What the fuck?) “Yes, I’m staying in the hotel. Why would I be telling you all of this? I just came from upstairs.” I pointed over to the empty counter spot and said, “The other lady that is like you but stands over there can vouch for me.” She looked at me skeptically,”Alright, but can I see your ID?” (I didn’t have my ID because I left all my bags in my co-workers room). DAMMIT. I had to go back up and get it. PS. you’re a dick.
(Click ^ for a funny.)
I go back up get my ID and back down to the lobby. Eerily, that woman had disappeared into thin air and the lady I talked to before was there and asked me why I had gone up to get my ID. “Because the other lady who is not here now told me to…… just, never mind.” She reactivated my card for third time and scolded me saying to stop holding my phone next to it. “Lady, I don’t even have my phone, it’s up in the room. This is clearly some kind of fools errand and I’m in the middle of it.”
After the whole bru-ha-ha I FINALLY made it back to my room and the most amazing little mini green access light came on. Because I spent two and a half hours trying to get into the room – we had to immediately head to the venue. GREAT. GRAND. WONDERFUL.
This isn’t even meant to be about our ridiculous commute or hotel room non-entering but about three extremely strange characters (please ignore that seven paragraph tangent). Anyways, these three looney tunes were the attending media for the gala and the persons that we would be in charge of toting around to make sure no one behaved like a raging idiot. I thought this would be easy enough, we’re all adults here. Nope, each one was a fucking liability. I will go down the list:
ONE: The first was from an online nightlife outlet. She was seventy plus years old and came dressed in an ill fitting kimono-robe with bright red hair and lipstick all over her face. She was also wearing white tube socks and looked like she’d been awake for the last 72 hours which later she admitted to me that she had been.
TWO: A duo, photographer and reporter combo pack came from what they said was a fashion blog. First red flag. This was a fundraiser for cancer and had nothing even remotely to do with the fashion industry but whatever. The photographer showed up in a prom dress of sorts with her breasts popping out to borderline nipple territory and the reporter was a young male wearing thick black eye liner, a crushed velvet black onesie outfit, Crocs and a white fisherman’s hat (can anyone wear anything normal? anyone at all…).
THREE: A Russian woman from a completely unknown French TV channel came by herself wearing a black bluntly cut wig and a revealing sequin dress. She seemed the most normal but turned out to be by far the strangest.
Now that we all have a mental image of these weirdos we can speak a bit about what made them such (apart from the obvious dress choices). Old lady kimono was basically high on meth due to her lack of sleep. She insisted on calling me “Alice” thinking that I looked like Alice in Wonderland……I do not. She repeatedly invited me over for dinner to her home in Brooklyn because she and her husband George had no children. She wandered around like a maniac at one point accusing the Russian lady of stealing her “papers” and then ended up behind stage with all of the electrical equipment. After luring her out and eventually getting her to leave she plucked my co-worker on the nose and then delicately cupped his cheek while saying, “Look at you, you are so cute! DON’T TELL ANYONE WHO I AM!…..” And then swirled off into the darkness. Excuse me? WHAT THE FUCKS just happened? And did she even take any pictures?
Next up is the fashion blog duo. They chatted about nothing, had six servings of bread, and went outside for a cig. Other than that, they were the worst media attendants ever unless you would like info on how to dress for a black tie event as a fancy fisherman.
Lastly, and my favorite, was the Russian lady from French TV. She sat pleasantly for the whole three hour long program and did not say a word until completely unprovoked she interrupted the conversation by telling us that it was her that broke the news to the media about the “new drug” Viagra being a viable option for erectile dysfunction. After this claim, she continued by saying in a thick Russian accent, “See, I have link to this cause. I know all these people….” (If by link you mean no fucking link at all. WTF? Do you even know where you are? This is for cancer). I just nodded in agreement. There was no way I was going to squash her random ass claim to fame (I might start using that…). She looked totally zonked the whole time and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had one of those little aliens controlling her facial expressions, MIB style.
On top of being weird as shit, she was one of those severe over stayers. The program had wrapped up and we had to meet the photographer to choose photos to pull for the next morning’s advisory. I lingered around her for what felt like two hours as we both said nothing and she sipped her wine, water, and coffee in a patterned rotation. After the hovering, little mentions of leaving, repeatedly gathering my bags and just general “hokey pokey” my co-worker came back and simply said, “We’re leaving. Can we walk you…….. out?” Before he was even finished, she left instantly by sprinting through a back entrance to the right of the stage. Okay…….well that was easy. WHAT. THE. HELL?
We wrapped up with the photographer who was a spitting image of Quasimodo and had a lisp. He was also someone who habitually said, “my pleasure…” instead of just agreeing to do things which was actually very fitting when it comes to Quasimodo and his behaviors. By the end of the night I was completely exhausted from travelling, feeling like a loud asshole, not having a snack, getting bitch smacked by soap, going up and down hotel elevators, talking to disappearing front desk women, toting around a circus act of media floozies, and getting lightly spit on in the face by a lisp ridden photog.
All in a day’s work.