Happy birthday, Mommy.
So it’s two in the morning and I still haven’t gone to sleep. I figure if I don’t write about my day now I might not ever put it all down.
There was a diner in Long Island with the cheapest breakfast I’ve ever had. Then unpacking, email, showering, phone calls. No time for a nap. A train into the city.
The first step off the train felt enormous. I could feel the energy of the city rush past me, informing me rather quickly that things moved at a different pace around here. I turned my head to comment, but my friend was already nine paces ahead of me, well used to the rhythm of the city. I’m glad I didn’t wear the fancy shoes, but I wish I had worn my sneakers. The soles of my feet have blisters from today, which was supposed to be our “light walking day.”
Immediately there was a subway and it finally hit me that I was in New York. All the sounds crashed around me. The smell of urine and trash smacking your face at certain corners. Seeing the drop off a platform and thinking how easy it would be to just fall in there. I was in New York, somehow. When did that happen? I was just in Los Angeles.
I saw old friends and they look exactly the same and happy. We spent a couple of hours at a coffee shop catching up. Then we walk from what must have been the bottom of Manhattan to Broadway. We eat dinner at a noodle place. We get vodka tonics at a Russian bar next door to the theater. We see “Hairspray,” which was impressive and fun with a stronger second half than a first. But that might have been because it was the first time I had sat down all day long, and when the seventh or eighth song started my eyelids suddenly wanted to close and my entire body started calming down, the city melting away as the air conditioning cooled my body heat and lulled me into sleepytime. I drank an entire Diet Coke during the intermission so I was ready to go for the second act.
Walked from Broadway to ABC where we shot the segment for the news program. It doesn’t air tonight; we’ll find out tomorrow when it does air. I have a hard time pronouncing “Regal Beagle” at one point, so you’ll get to have your mocking fun. Sarah did most of the talking, as she’s the informed (and very pretty) one and I was the sweaty, exhausted sidekick who just says “Matt Damon” sometimes. I was wired off caffeine and no sleep and I think maybe I talked about Gilmore Girls too much.
Then ABC had a driver take us back to Long Island, which was incredibly cool. No late-night trains for us. I’m sitting in a bed in my pj’s a full hour before we thought we’d get home. No ticket on the car. I called my mom from inside a tunnel and the connection was better than when I’m in Los Angeles.
Tomorrow there’s more sight seeing and family visits and friends and tall buildings and signing papers and perhaps we’ll find a way to crash a VMA after-party.
I can see easily why people are so in love with New York. Since you walk everywhere you become territorial; you know where everything is because you pass it every day. You mark your home like cats do. Everything has a place, a space, and millions of people share it with you and it works, somehow. Everybody’s on the same system. It’s dirty and fast and fun and then it’s majestic and beautiful. It’s louder than I could have even imagined and the floor hums when you’re sitting still. Neil Patrick Harris walks by on his way to his show. Everybody knows the same clubs and has the same friends and everyone loves where they live.
I’m glad this was only my first day. I find myself still not tired, ready to do more. I want to see more. I don’t want to miss anything. Everything is so impressive.
I just caught my face in the mirror; I’m still wearing makeup from the show. I never wear this much makeup. I’m writing a little column in my pj’s with my aching feet, wearing too much makeup as I type on an Apple computer in New York. A little too much of a Carrie Bradshaw moment.
And now, finally, I think… some sleep. For five and a half hours.