Somebody please explain to me why you’d drive all the way from Buttfu*k, Idaho, to stand in the rain at dawn in Rockefeller Plaza with a handmade, Idaho-shaped sign with ‘Idaho!’ scrawled on it, outside the NBC news studios, hooting like a troupe of colobus monkeys? Why, America? Why do you make celebrities out of nobodies, so that everybody thinks they can be somebody? Everyone accidentally captured on camera in this country appears to have been practicing since birth for their fifteen-seconds of fame. Except me, of course, I’m somebody who’s nobody to anybody, exactly as planned.
After an anonymous stroll through Central Park, we joined the massive queue to get into the American Museum of Natural History. Now, I didn’t come 15,979 kilometres to criticise, but after being misdirected by disinterested AMNH employees three times, I was ready to punch the next fool’s lights out. After almost a week of smashing the bejesus out of my feet, the soles of my feet were killing me, and I was in no mood to be screwed around. I was on the verge of triggering an international incident. Luckily, the excellent AMNH exhibitions redeemed its employees’ uselessness, and I found lots of cool shit to dissipate my rage. Lots of old bones, Native American weapons, gemstones and a pensive stuffed hominid made up for the bad start. That, and the sheer magnificence of the venue. What a building.
Lunch afterwards at Patsy’s Pizzeria in the Upper West Side was the perfect salve. A mellow stroll to the puerile tourist trap that is Madam Tussaud’s in Time Square also exposed us to our first local ‘characters’ including a crazy man shouting at random women, and a pair of bootylicious ladies plying their trade on Broadway outside Hershey’s Chocolate World. Mmm… chocolate. Anyway, the wax-works were a buzz-kill for a hundred reasons, not least my wife’s disappointment that she couldn’t pose with George Clooney, and my sadness at being stood up by both Scarlett AND Charlize. Even the Commander-in-Chief seemed unimpressed.
We skulked home after that, satisfied that we’d squeezed the most out of our day again. My pedometer and feet certainly thought so. We limped to the wine & cheese downstairs then back up to our room, watched Discovery Channel for a couple of hours, and were shamelessly asleep by nine o’clock. I’m getting used to ignoring traffic lights, dodging traffic, and shouldering my way through the crowds. New Yorkers aren’t rude people, they’re just busy people. In this land of opportunity, in this city where people still believe the myth that you can make it if they work hard enough, don’t be the one that gets in their way. I look out my window before I go down for breakfast at 7:30, and he’s still there when I’ve finished supper at 6:30. A nobody who wants to be a somebody, but hasn’t had his fifteen-seconds of fame just yet.