New York City.
New York City has been my number one travel destination ever since I watched “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” as a four-year-old. Asides from the sadistic pleasure of witnessing a small, sociopathic child terrorize two grown men with elaborate homemade booby traps, the movie romanticized New York like it was this urban fantasy from another world where Christmas was celebrated every day.
To quote the great Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.”
This last March my dream finally came true. Your boy was going to The Big Apple. I was so charged up after I booked my flight; I stayed up late multiple nights to research and map out all of the iconic spots I wanted to visit during my stay. When the time came around to actually be in New York, my mind and my body was not at its fullest strength and capacity, unfortunately.
The first few days were fantastic. Even though I felt a little exhausted, having not slept for two days, and eating everything that was put in front of me, I was running on pure adrenaline of simply being in New York. After a few late nights of hanging out with old friends and new, eating from food carts, and all the while working on my documentary project; it all came crashing down on me like it was raining bricks.
One afternoon after having had brunch and walking around Brooklyn taking pictures with a friend, I took the subway back to Manhattan and felt like something was off. When I stepped off the train, I immediately felt a rush of vertigo-like dizziness. Like my senses were being bombarded by sounds of a never ending police siren and the heat of the sun felt like the heat of a thousand suns. Seemingly out of nowhere, I found myself hanging on to a rail for dear life.
I think there was even a moment when a concerned woman approached and asked, “Are you okay, honey?” but I’m not sure if that was real or a hallucination.
It was frightening.
I was all by myself in a strange city, not entirely sure what was wrong with me, and not entirely sure of who to call. My vision was getting blurry and I started seeing double. I had to call an Uber to get me the hell out of dodge because I couldn’t even tell which direction I was going anymore.
That wasn’t even the worst part.
As I enter the Uber car with this feeling of pre-vomitation in the pit of my stomach, the driver was relentlessly chatty. Usually I would be okay with entertaining folks like him, but not today, man. Not while I’m on the verge of losing my marbles. To put the icing on the cake, he brings up Trump. Scratch that, he champions Trump.
“Donald’s a business man; he’s what New York needs right now!”
When I finally stumbled and bumbled my way back to my AirBnb in the Upper West Side, the rest of my time in NYC felt like a complete haze. It felt as though I slept through the next few days in a Nyquil induced slumber.
I learned a valuable lesson in NYC about self-discipline, over-working, and realizing that I’m no longer invincible.
It seemed like eons ago when I pulled off all-nighters on the regular and lived off essentially cheese and crackers all the while accomplishing all that I wanted to accomplish, but I've come to the hard conclusion that I am not a machine. (Traci is probably going to read this and go, “Ha! Amateur.”)
It sucked that it came at the cost of my first visit to NYC, and it sucked because I wasn’t able to give my NBC fam 100% during my stay (30 Rock was so cool though!), but it had to happen. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t have been cognizant of fixing my bad habits. As a young professional still trying to figure out and navigate this post-grad life, I’m being more conscious of listening to my body. No more insane hours, no more late night eating. I’m in this for the long haul and I want my mind/body to hold up the rest of the way or else there’s going to be more episodes like this.
I’ll always have New York, but my health is never a given.
And shout out to the lady who coughed on me on the subway. Now that I think about it, you were probably the one who set it off.