Wednesday, 18 November 2009

So good they named it twice...

I'm a bit behind here, but obviously I went to New York a few weeks back to see Mrs RS. We wanted to get out of the part of the city she lives in, and preferably out of the place all together. Unfortunately Mrs RS had business to attend to on the Monday, so for the first two days we just stayed in a very nice hotel near the airport, ordered room service or got take-out, had a few drinks and just generally tried to relax in a place that wasn't Brooklyn.

Being the sort of person who prefers to read maps (I refuse to use Satnav) rather than check online, I'd bought a streetmap of Long Island when I landed and had spotted a nice National Park about 30 miles east of the airport that seemed perfect for a day trip. Consequently, here's a first-time driver's guide to New York:

1) Shit yourself. Constantly.

Um, that's it really. Oh, okay, apart from:

2) Stop trying to get into the proper side of the car.
3) Stop your left foot depressing the imaginary clutch when slowing down as this will accidentally stamp on the foot-wide brake pedal instead and squeal you to a stop. The security guard at the car rental office put me in my place with an expertly delivered "Nice emergency stop man." Git.
4) Just guess the speed limit. It's rarely posted and everyone else seems to just make it up as they go along.
5) The roads are absolutely atrocious. I've seen better on a Bolivian mountain track. Don't bother speeding as you're likely to rip your front suspension off within a hundred yards.

Having said that, within a few hours I was a natural. I stopped letting people out at junctions, I randomly swapped lanes for no reason, I never indicated and I even perfected the local game of trying to judge the exact moment the light goes green so that you can lean on your horn pointlessly. Great fun.

Anyway, we set off in the driving rain the next morning. We arrived in the driving rain. We refused to get out of the car in the driving rain. We drove back to the hotel in the driving rain.

The weather forecast was better for the next day so we decamped to another hotel in the picturesque town (for east coast America) of Patchogue - which sadly isn't pronounced like the start of Kajagoogoo (it's pronounced Patchog). This did not stop me calling it Patchagoogoo for the rest of the week though :)

The sun came out the day afterwards so we headed down to the Atlantic coast and played on the beach as it's one of Mrs RS' favourite things to do. It wasn't cold but was practically deserted and quite beautiful, as I hope you agree.

Plus as a 'bonus', here's Mrs RS and myself. She's tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny :)

For the next day or so we sampled the local restaurants (once), the local brewery's Oktoberfest ale (copiously) and the awfulness of driving in a New York rush-hour (never again if it can be avoided).

I really felt that being out of the city for a few days doing nothing important had helped, and whilst we've both had our ups and downs since, the feeling of being safe so soon after the event was vital. It's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that 'everything is going to be alright' but for a while we really believed that - and that's priceless.

On the way back we stopped in at my kind of place - an Arboretum (Mrs RS likes beaches, I like beeches :) ) - and as autumn was starting in earnest it was lovely.

In the end all we had time to do was get back to Brooklyn, drop Mrs RS off, get to the airport, check the car in at the car rental office, go to the airline check in desk, discover I don't fly until the Saturday, go back to Brooklyn, have a bonus night together and then fly back the next evening.

Could've happened to anyone, alright? We've all done it...

As a total aside (and I know it's fake) but here's football training Uzbek-stylee. Cracking! :)


Mrs Red Squirrel said...

First. The guy did NOT say nice emergency stop. He said "Uh, you OK there? You're breakin' kinda hard..." To which you blushed, but not in a shy way, more of an annoyed pissoffish sort of way, and then sped off not giving a shit. Then came the git part. Had to clarify.

Second. I can't believe I stilllook that tiny next to you and I was standing on a step higher than you were... Ouch.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy you guys got out of Brooklyn for a while at least. I was a Manhattanite and the only reason I ever went to Brooklyn was to Target. Even then I wore a Hazmat suit and a scowl. But it's Target. The allure is overwhelming.

For the record, I learned to drive in New York (Manhattan again) so you can imagine that scenario. I can drive anywhere. ANYWHERE. You've never lived till you've wrestled taxis in Times Square at 6pm on a week night. Fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Um...the taxis are the fuckers, not you guys.

Red Squirrel said...

Mrs RS - that's because you're tiiiiiiiiiiny!

And thanks for the clarification. No really :-P

Veggie - so you can drive anywhere so long as you never get over 10 mph? :)

Anonymous said...

No dude. The trick is, you do about forty, then screech down to five because some fucker of a pizza delivery boy is pedalling in the dark the wrong way on a one way street, then you get to about thirty then stop for some pedestrian at the lights, then you hit the west side highway and can do about fifty or sixty before a light you never even saw turns red in a nano second and you almost launch yourself through the windshield trying to stop in time, then you're in a tunnel, then you're in Jersey and suddenly you can do normal things like speed and turn right on a red and make hand gestures at idiots with big hair.

Red Squirrel said...

Veggie - I've never been to Joisey. The idea scares me....

Anonymous said...

I always love it when you come over to our stupid country. And just because Mrs. Little Squirrel goes over there to live with you...doesn't mean you don't have to visit us still!

Red Squirrel said...

Oh, we'll be back Sweet Cheeks, we'll be back :)