My Sort-of First Weekend

(Originally published on 29th March 2013)

Last weekend was the first in a while where I haven’t had to pack or unpack or do chores or paperwork or… well, anything. I didn’t have to do anything.

I broke my ‘Manhattan rooftop bar’ duck on Friday evening. I think I did it in pretty classy style, by shoving my lunch box into my handbag one minute before I hit the red carpet (That’s right folks, red actual carpet) to go to the lift,so I didn’t have to enter with the supermarket carrier bag I’ve taken to carrying everywhere with me. I did have it in my pocket, but that’s beside the point. The second I crossed the threshold, I kind of wished I wasn’t wearing jeans and converse. But they were sparkly, at least, and that’s always in style.

We had one drink in the rooftop bar before heading out to find what Yelp told us would be good food. We don’t really do a lot unless Yelp tells us to, and so far he/she/it has not steered us wrong. We ended up in a tiny Thai restaurant run by the best lady ever. For three slightly homesick British girls who’d just had a conversation about our families, she suddenly became a surrogate mother to us. She did not know this, but I’m pretty sure she’d be proud to have us if she had. Proud and freaked out. Mainly freaked out.

Anyway, this woman was incredibly nice and wanted to hear all about us and where we were from and so on and so forth, she wanted us to have the best things on the menu, and let us say exactly what we wanted in terms of spiciness and ingredients and all sorts (I realise this is probably not uncommon, but as the first time I have witnessed it firsthand, she will always be the inventor of the concept). So we sat there feeling like we were sitting in this lady’s living room, eating our tea – as opposed to being out for dinner – and listening to eighties power ballads on the radio, and we all felt a lot better about life and the universe. I, rather patronisingly, decided I wanted to spend more in her restaurant because I love her and want her to be my children’s godmother and thought she needed the extra profit, so I bought a drink as opposed to relying solely on free water. So I ended up with Thai iced tea, which was bright orange and looked like milkshake, except it had the taste and consistency of tea. And only after I was halfway through this did the restaurant fill up, and I realised I should never assume things about how other peope are doing financially. Assuming not only makes and ass of u and me, it also makes ‘me’ drink unidentifiable potions. And I’m much more concerned about that.

On Saturday we got up and ran. As a person who’s running views used to be whichever poor character from ‘The Animals Of Farthing Wood’ had met a gory end on the side of the A41, I feel like I’ve upgraded. You can measure 2.5 miles from our apartment complex by looking at when you get in line with the Empire State Building over the river, as long as you run down all of the little piers as well. My running route haspiers. I was dreading my first run after 3 weeks off, but it turned out to be very easy. I think I was probably being massively helped by the fact that it’s flat as a pancake round here, as opposed to hilly-as-hell, but whatever gets the job done.

After running we went out for brunch – actual food brunch, as opposed to a Mountbatten standard ‘unlimited drinks all day’ brunch – at our new local, Skylark, (it has to be our new local – we’ve been there four times to date. We may as well just move in.) and then headed into the city to go to hell on earth Century 21. For the unitiated, firstly – stay that way. For the love of God. And secondly – it’s a bit like TKMaxx’s lovechild who grew to be a ten-storey monster. I did finally manage to make full use of my elbows though, and I also got into a passive-aggressive, wordless argument with a seven-year-old little blonde girl. Who I hate. But to be fair, she started it by shoving shoe boxes into my back. Repeatedly. And that’s how I made my first New York enemy.

Sunday also started with a run, although this time our herd had doubled in size. You can tell Mountbattens around here because we do tend to run in herds. It’s a bit like looking out across the Serengeti, although I imagine the antelope are generally sweating a little bit less pure jaegermeister.

We repaired any damage done to our unfitness afterwards by going into town and visiting IHOP. I’ve since been told IHOP in New York is bad, and nothing compared with in other states, but do you know what? Pancakes. Pancakes and eggs and bacon, oh my.

But hey, those pancakes were put to good use when we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge shortly afterwards. Mainly in that they gave more power to the elbowing-out-the-way of really, really slow people. I wouldn’t mind, but you can’t actually see anything from the Brooklyn Bridge at the moment, because it’s all boarded-up. So I can only assume these people were a test of patience and character. A test that I failed miserably.

But once I’d stomped the last little way into Brooklyn, I left everyone to wander and went to spend time with Jess and Sean – a couple of my friends who I’ve known for years, and yet never really had the chance to just spend an evening with them. They live in Brooklyn, and I lived in Bushey, so it was always either I stay with them, or they stay with me, or we write the occasional letter and then call ourselves bad penfriends in facebook messages. And to be fair, we are kind of terrible at it. Our friendship should be much more about what we had on Sunday night, which was amazing homemade food, a lot of laughs, cuddles with a cat, and too many episodes of New Girl. And now we have that opportunity, at least for a while. Leaving felt bizarre, because it was the first time I’ve done it without a suitcase and tear in my eye, and certainly the first time I’ve been able to say ‘see you next weekend’.

I’d write about the rest of the week, but I have to leave now, as I’m meeting my friend in a sex shop. Not even kidding.

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