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Tourist Trapped – Approaching 50 and Fabulous
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Tourist Trapped

November 28, 2016

Hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you were able to pay a kindness forward, even in tiny ways, like holding a door for a stranger. 

So I made a rookie NY’er mistake on Wednesday.  If you see the photo above, the title on Radio City Music Hall’s marquis is “The Absent Minded Professor.”  Well I must have been absent of mind to do what I did. 

I decided to go to Saks. 5th Avenue and 49th Street, directly across from Rockefeller Center, on one of the BUSIEST TOURIST DAYS OF THE YEAR. I made this ill-conceived journey at 4pm on a Wednesday, when the crowds for the Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall were gathering. And all the Broadway matinees had just let out. Meaning, it was tourist-mania. Tree isn’t even lit yet but that didn’t matter, it was wall-to-wall people. 

My senses were under constant assault by the immense influx of people. I couldn’t shake them. They. Were. Everywhere.  

Why does everyone suddenly stop, mid-stride, to take a photo?  

Nothing to see here folks.  Keep moving!!  

Once inside Saks, I could not even focus on what I was doing, there were just soooo many people!!!! 

Lord save me…

No matter where I turned it was shopping bags, cameras and groups. No single folk like me, purse and work-tote in hand, nope. Everyone was traveling in packs of 3 or more with multiple shopping bags.  

I was so claustrophobic I wanted to cry. Seriously, I wanted to cry.  I couldn’t get my bearing. I was so disoriented I was in a panic. 

I mindlessly bought the first things I was handed. I couldn’t leave the store soon enough. I had to get out of there.  

I then proceeded to fight through the gathering crowd at Radio City Music Hall to get to my bus stop.  By the time I got to 6th Avenue and 48th Street to catch my bus, I was in a sheer panic and state of exhaustion. 

I wish I carried a flask sometimes. I could have used a nip of some Sauvignon Blanc.  

Yeah I know, you and I both know I would have drank it all, you don’t need to say so, just keep reading…

I was never this easily disoriented before Anthony died.  Previously, I could handle any NY tourist/crowd situation like a champ. I used to relish bringing the boys into the city during the holidays.  

Let’s go spend the day in NYC and see the tree. Maybe head to Chinatown for dinner. 

I am more selective these days of how I spend my personal time.  At work, I have no choice, crowds, noise and interruption is common. I can handle it easily.  But once I am out of the building, my time kicks in.  And lately, my time is all about finding quiet. 

Anyway, so the $64,000 question is, why did I make myself go through all this trauma? 

All to save $3.65 from Ebates, in store at Saks.  

I know what you’re thinking.  I am thinking it too, so let’s just move onto point of the story. 

Guess what, I had to return one of the items I bought!  I had to go back, ugh. 

I was dreading the trip all day, more fighting crowds, more noise, more sensory overload.  Ugh. 

I almost couldn’t find the receipt in my purse.  Would have had to keep it, but no, I kept looking and there it was. My golden ticket, the receipt. 

Thank goodness for purse organizers. Not that I am organized within the organizer, but they do help in situations like these. 

I took the walk up 5th Avenue from my office to Saks and well, maybe I was just better prepared this time. Nothing threw me off course. 

Store was more crowded than last week (no surprise there), but I made it in and out unscathed.  I even knew enough to make an inmediate detour and cut through a few building courtyards and avoid the foot traffic on my way to the bus.  

Guess what, the bus was on the corner!  It was kismet!  

Maybe I just had a one-time timing slip up on my previous trip to Saks. 

I am here now. On the Express Bus. My usual writing spot. Buried in my seat, all by myself. No one next to, in front of, or behind me.  This is nice. 

This is peaceful. 

Too many Holiday albums/playlists on Amazon Music so I have turned on M People in my iTunes library. Their 1995 album Bizarre Fruit is one of my favorites.  

I can’t listen to Holiday music.  Not this year.  I avoid carols at all costs.  

I can feel my heart twisting in pain at the thought of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”  It was my favorite carol, I sang it many times. Both in private and in front of an audience.  College Glee Club memories… Holidays with my boys… 

I always swore I would sing it for my grandchildren one day.  And I will, just not now, and not for Anthony’s children.  He won’t share his mother’s unabashed performance with his kids. 

That thought makes me sad.  Anthony not being here for future Christmases… 

However, that thought also makes me more resolute in the fact that I need to face the crowds and tourists.  Head on.  I must be able to handle any crowd, any noise, any sensory disturbance…

I can’t get flustered and lose my bearings. It’s not the type of physical and mental response I would have before my son died and it is not the response I have room for now.  

Better pull it together Babe!

My boys and I are counting on me to be strong, focused and flexible.  Ready for anything that comes my way. They need me. I need me. 

No tourist traps allowed here…


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    • Reply Miranda Allen December 6, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      Wow. That is amazingly beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing it.

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