My New Year story
Ok, Lina, the promise is a promise, so here is my story about New Year in NYC. You’ve heard a part of it but now you’ll get it in details.
“Go to any pub close to the Times square about 10 pm, have some booze and come to the square by 11.30” – it’s Alec. Sounds good for me – let’s do this! What the hell is going on?? Surprise! Surprise! Number one: all streets around bloody square are blocked by police (“Excuse me officer, but what’s going on?” – Do you have a ticket? – A what? – Folks, am tired of you…”); number two: New Year decorations “no drinking, no parking” are everywhere; number three: all pubs are either closed or opened for parties only; number four: am stuck in a crowd. I’ve never liked a crowd. I hate to be a part of it but I had no choice. Is it a land of freedom or a concentration camp?? Narrow corridors, police everywhere shouting madly: “Don’t stop, go forward, don’t push”… There were a couple of fights and I was in a front row both times with the only one thought: how to escape a trouble – neither hospital nor jail was in my entertainment list. The police was fast, efficient and strict: “everybody here - hands up (including me), unzip your jacket, show me your pockets – you can go” (it’s for me) “Have you taken any pictures of these exciting moments?” – It’s Alec:). “Nope, I didn’t want to be shot 2 hrs before New Year and 33 days before my 32nd birthday” – “But you haven’t been shot yet? I was - It’s a good story to tell”. Who knows…who knows…
5 min to 12pm – am on 7 ave between 55 and 56th streets – 8 blocks from Times square, freezing but trying to be cheerful:).
First time in my life I met New Year:
- Alone - without my friends:(((((((((
- Stuck in the crowd surrounded by cruel NYC policemen
- With 0!!!!!! One more time – 0-0-0-0%%%% alcohol in my blood!!!!!!!!
- Neither snowing nor raining at that point
- No Russian president on TV:))
New Year resolution:
- Never ever come to the Times Square without friends and tickets on New Year Eve
New Year wish:
- get out of here and get a beer:)
About 1 am I was free! Beer.. beer.. I know that at least one pub MUST be opened!!! Here we go – Heartland brewery! What?? “Folks, last call for alcohol!” – “One stout please” – “How old are you sweetheart?” – “am almost 32 and I really need a beer, I was on the Times Square!” – “God, poor girl – here is you stout”. Ok, life is much better now. Let’s continue our bar-searching trip:). Next place is called a “bar” by mistake but they work 24/7, they have beer, they don’t ask ID. I like these fellows sitting next to me: a girl is almost under the table but her man is trying to feed her with sweet pancakes. “Amanda, wake up, this is a girl from Russia” – incomprehensive mumbling from under the table which probably means “nice to meet you”:). The guy (I forgot his name) appeared to be a Yankee marine and Amanda is his wife. “Hey, man, she looks pretty sick, stop squeezing food in her!” – “She is just a bit drunk, don’t pay attention”. Chatting about this and that then suddenly he asked me a q-n which I've heard for the first time in my long and miserable life: “Are you a lesbian?” – “WHAT? Say it one more time, please” – “I said are you a lesbian?” – “For god’s sake, NO, am straight” – “but you haircut is short; in the States all straight girls have long hair”. Man you should have seen my the US visa picture:)). Ok, Helen, you know what pub to visit tomorrow – “Blue Oyster” on B’way:). Some time later: “Helen, if you are straight why are you alone?” (this guy started annoying me) – “Just because” – “If you go with us I’ll show you a cool place full of real American men. They’ll like you and you’ll like them” (He thinks I need like a couple of them? It wasn’t in my entertainment list either:)) – “I have a boyfriend in Moscow” – “But he is in Moscow and you are here, let’s go and have some fun” (go and fuck yourself) – “Hey I have my own principles” – “Helen, I respect this, gimme 5, but if you change your mind let me now”. A bit later: “What do you do for living?” – “Am a doctor, MD” – “Are you kidding me???” – “Am serious” – “Crap, am sorry, forget what I said you before, ok? Don’t be offended, please, ok?” – “Hey, relax, am fine; you’d better find your wife – she left us 30 min ago”. So I spent a couple of hrs with these drunk freaks and about 4 am returned to my so-called hostel.
1st of Jan, 8.30 – what the hell is that??? O, it’s my alarm clock… Am I in jail??? Nope, it’s my cell in the hostel…It took me extra 30 min to get out of the bed + 30 min for teeth brushing. I need a coffee… I walked to the nearest Starbucks and tried to buy it. My hands are shaking badly: “Hangover after New Year?” – “Not really, a sort of”. So am seating at whatever square drinking my coffee and smocking my last cigarette (“I don’t have problems with caffeine (nicotine, alcohol), I have problems without it”:)) and there is a clock in front of me – I have 25 min left to my bus… I’ll never be in time if I walk… I have to go by subway but where is the nearest station? I’ll miss it probably but I don’t care… After several weeks in the States I stopped panicking about such things like missing a bus or a shortage of money or where am going to spend a night… I guess with all this residency stuff I just cannot freak out anymore. I came up to the threshold after which you either slide to an obsessive-compulsive madness or “whatever-I don’t care-let’s have a beer” state (“AAA – that’s for quitters and we are not”:)). I found a metro and took a ride – nothing special; so far the most unusual metro I’ve ridden was a Bangkok Sky-train. I was in time and asked a lady to change my ticket for tomorrow. “No probs, you can return to DC tomorrow any time” – it’s an easy-going Chinatown bus:). Talked to Alec telling him some stories about my life in NYC and he promised to find a place for the next night. Walked to a Central Park and even visited the zoo where (“The zoo??? Helen, it’s for farmers!!!” – That’s what Alec said:)). Well, am a village girl who was born in a barn so it suits me perfectly:). I walked through all – one more time – all!!!! Central park and you remember its size. By the time I return to the square at the corner of 8 ave and Broadway I was almost done. Text message to Alec: “am almost out” – “hold on, am getting an address” – phone call: “Helen, write it down and call me if you have any probs”. I got it incorrectly and thinking about how on earth 49th street can cross 32d street close to the Empire state building went to 49th. Actually I was a bit out of place, time and everything so I ended up on 42d, checked my notes, returned to 49th, called Alec, discovered that I have to go to 32nd and find a building number 49 and went where. You can imagine that it was a looooot of walking and this hotel appeared to be on B’dway at the corner of 32nd. Imagine now a pretty posh place with a cocktail party in the hall… Everybody’s dressed nicely and probably having a conversation about whether and sports and here I am: in running shoes which are falling apart, in dirty pans (happy new year:)), after 100 miles of walking and several hrs of sleep stuck in this bloody revolving door:). I finally extracted my backpack, but dropped everything I had in my pocket (cell phone, cigarettes, something else) on the floor. Security guy: “Mam, how can I help you”? (The party members staring at me with interest – I should have asked for a drink:)) – “I have a reservation on my name here” – “Are you sure?” – “Am fucking positive” – “Ok, that way please”. O boy, I’d better have it… But Alec said that so everything must be allright and it was as usual. After a sweet English-style conversation I got my key, called Alec, managed to take shower and collapsed on the bed. In 4 hrs I was much better and went out for a beer. Next day after talking to you I discovered accidentally that my bus leaves not from 34th but from 42nd street so I took a metro but it was in vain cause the bus was already full. But Chinese guys are nice so they sent an extra bus for us and I spent next 5,5 hrs in all traffic-jams (it was raining) talking with quite an interesting guy. Fortunately Alec (I have no idea how I would have survived without his help!!!) met me and me went for a beer and I guess whole pub heard my stories cause I was completely out of control:). You ask me why? I lost my passport!!!! I checked my pocket and it wasn’t where!!! I rushed into the bus and fortunately found it under the seat!!!! “Big deal, the embassy would have given you a new one” – it’s Alec. Lin, you can imagine what that means for a poor Russian girl – to loose a passport with an American visa!!!! I was so happy to get it back that I even didn’t care what to drink:). Ups, my laptop battery is almost over - I have 10 min only. Here are some pictures: my cell in the hostel, a couple of new year shots and am on the boat. Send you more later.
P.s. Got a rejection from Arkansas today.
P.p.s. I usually write you big letters under influence but now am sober:).