I am in the fabulous United States of America. It only took a ten hour flight, vast quantities of bloody Mary’s and the overpowering urge to escape from London to get me here.
I have to tell you, the border security here is scary. They took fingerprints, a candid (and entirely unattractive) picture of me, grilled me about why exactly I was there and how long I planned on staying, what I did for a living, why I wasn’t married or had kids yet, what my favourite ‘friends’ character was – it was intense. The unfortunate thing about me is that in situations like this is, I can’t handle the pressure. My IBS flares up, I start remembering all the things I ever did wrong in my life and assume that the guy sitting behind the desk with the badge can telepathically snatch these nuggets of information out of the air like Pac-Man. I start sweating and smiling at the same time. I look like I probably have a taco-sized amount of heroin hidden somewhere about my person hereto unreachable without the aid of a rubber glove.
For some reason the officer took pity on me and let me through.
I have no idea why because even I know I looked incredibly suspicious.
Anyway – headed off to the hotel to empty the minibar and contemplate my life choices and was met by the most surley human being on the planet by way of a cab driver. I was prepared for surly. New Yorkers have a reputation for not exactlly being the nicest of folk – just like the brits have a reputation for apologising for absolutely everything and having weird teeth (there will always be cliche)… but this guy could have taught a masterclass. I don’t know if someone shredded his winning lottery ticket that morning or his haemorrhoids were playing up but he was hunched over that steering wheel with his foot on the accelorator the whole way, only making flinchingly hairpin turns when he was close to colliding with another car. He didn’t answer questions except with a grunt, didn’t want to participate in a brief “getting to know you” portion of the journey. He just wanted to get from A to B with minimal eye contact.
Hey – I can respect that. I commute on the London Underground so I am well acquainted with an awkward silence my friend.
Personally I was greatful to reach my destination alive and well but even the doorman at the Warwick raised an eyebrow as the cabbie literally threw my suitcase onto the curb and barked out the meter reading before specifying the increase he was expecting with a tip on top.
Here’s a tip – you would get one if you weren’t an asshole.
Upshot? The Warwick was gorgous. The doormen took my bags before ushering me into a foyer that was straight out of Gentleman Prefer Blondes. As soon as I crossed the threshold I immediately felt the tension begin to leave my body.
Or maybe it was just the Valium kicking in.
Point is, I felt like the holiday was really beginning.