Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Phil and Patti's Truly Horrible Adventure
My friend, Erica, tells me I am engaging in magical thinking when I say our trip to New York was cursed from the beginning. But I do believe in such things: that three wonderful trips over twelve months was too much to ask for.
The place to the left bears a striking resemblance to our rented place in NY. Except our landlord threw a wall up between the stove and the bed.
It began last fall with an invitation from some friends in Brooklyn. A neighbor of theirs was going to be gone this spring and we could stay in his apartment. Fabulous, so of course we began to plan for it. We always have fun in New York. Or almost always. Or sometimes. Actually most of our trips have turned sour at some point. (weather, illnesses, parents needed us back in Michigan, and actually another sprained ankle, etc.)
The generous man got ill, and then he was on a deadline and had to withdraw the offer. We hadn't put any money into the trip yet, but were disappointed.
The Brooklyn friends gallantly offered us their place a bit later in the same month. They were taking a trip to....Libya. I don't have to tell you what happened with their trip. Theirs was a greater disappointment than our trivial one.
But by now the tickets were purchased so we decided to rent a place for the two weeks. We talked to the landlord on the phone, saw pictures, liked the location. We took a chance. It had worked out in California and Paris after all. Something bothered me, the bedroom just had a picture of a bed. In fact, all the pictures seemed tightly cropped...I wondered why.
Two weeks before our departure, I banged my sternum on the treadmill and developed a bruise and then a bunch of other problems (biblical things that I didn't know still existed).
One week before the departure date, I sprained my ankle at a kid's birthday party at a gym. I also began dental work. The dentist gave me prescriptions for various aids and sighed. She sighed many times. Claimed she had never seen a person with more dental issues in her life and thanked me for her house on the lake, her childrens' education, her Lexus.
But everything seemed to be on the mend so off we went.
The apartment was...less... then we expected. It wasn't dirty-the usual complaint. Instead it was the size of a pea pod. It had exactly six pieces of furniture. A bed, a futon sofa, a table and two chairs, a tv that didn't work.
No toaster, coffeemaker, lamps, bureaus, ice cube trays, a towel rack, hangers, iron. Four plates, four bowls, four glasses. Two pans Nothing else. No place to work at all. Frantic calls to the landlord but he didn't answer phone calls or emails from Friday sundown until Sunday (or so he later claimed). There was no place to put our suitcases down, let alone a place to store any clothes. All windows looked out on an dark alley, a shaft really, and were covered with dingy sheets. There was not even a roll of toilet paper in the bathroom. No broom or mop or sponge. This place, our place for two weeks, was probably stationed at the third or fourth level of hell.
Our friends suggested we stay in a spare bedroom on the fourth floor of their kids' house in Brooklyn. We were reluctant to put a family we didn't even know through this, but desperate to vacate this place, agreed.
No cab would take us to Brooklyn. They laughed when we told them where we wanted to go, in fact. They wouldn't even stop the car, on the off-chance we might try to throw out suitcases or ourselves in. My threats to report them drew more laughs.
So carting our four pieces of luggage we walked (limped in my case) eight blocks to the subway and made our way to Brooklyn, changing lines once. It took hours because there was only one track in operation. The car was so crowded, my suitcase sat on my foot. I reinjured my ankle and by the time we arrived, I couldn't put my foot down. My heel was also sore now from the ace bandage tearing at it.
I crawled up the four floors to our room and basically remained there for two days. Those four flights seemed like ten and they had a cat--I am very allergic to cats. The people were incredibly nice in their attempt to rescue us and salvage our trip, but no amount of niceness could help by then. I took antihistamines, red wine and slept ten hours at night.
On the third day, we looked at each other and decided it was time to call it quits. We paid the $300 the airline demanded for rescheduling a trip, paid a car to take us to the airport, and left. Apparently going from Brooklyn to LaGuardia is not a problem.
It had now cost us $2800 for three days in New York, most of which I spent in an attic room.
We may never get a cent of the apartment rental money back.
I missed meeting Charlie Stella, seeing Cullen Gallagher, going to a play with the Meyersons, going to a play with our Brooklyn friends, using our free ticket to the opera, hearing Megan's talk at the NYPL. I am bummed to the maximum.
Tell me you've had a trip like this one.PLEASE.