I spent last week in New York City for Book Expo America. I’ll be posting all the fabulous fun from the event, but before I get to that blog entry I just had to share this experience. I titled it Southern is more than an accent, Suga’ because aside from the fact that everyone I uttered a word to said, “Where are you from?” like it was so cute….but I swear there must be something to the way that a southern gal raises her arm and flips her hand in hopes for a taxi ride that just does not translate into Manhattanese.
I’m no wimp. I promise you that. I’m a strong gal and I’ll tell you like it is, of course, it’ll be in a polite way that momma would be proud of, and no not everything that ends in bless your heart is an insult. A real southern lady rolls that phrase right off her tongue in sincere concern and prayers. Yes, really!
Anyway, back to the taxi situation. I was in New York City for four days and in I racked up a ZERO Sigma – 0% – losing streak to not be surpassed, perfect record in a not-so-good-kind of way in taxi hailin’. I stood with purpose and pushed my arm into the air (pulled in my pinky to not look too delicate) and whoosh those daggone yellow cars sped by me one right after another. I even stepped dangerously into the traffic stream praying for a little help to no avail. I couldn’t tell you if a light on the top means they have someone or not so I waved like a beauty queen on a float and forty glasses of sweet tea—nothing.
Monday night I had a wonderful time at the Amazon Publishing Cocktail Party at the boutique hotel INK48, and then headed off to the Providence where the IPPY Awards were being held. Now, if you’ve never heard of the Providence, honey, you take a moment right this minute and click this link because it is one of the most exquisite places I’ve ever been. http://www.metronomenyc.com/our-venues/providence-nyc The Providence is an old church. It’s cathedral ceilings and fine wood contrast the sparkling chandeliers. It is truly breathtaking.
I was being awarded the BEST BOOK MARKETING AWARD in this fairy tale location and let me tell you … I was excited! Hello, Sinatra, Streisand and Stevie Wonder himself sang in this space. Here I was, Nancy Naigle from Virginia receiving an award in this amazing space. It was a fun night, and I met interesting authors and heard great stories all evening. I got to see my book cover on the jumbotron, get my picture taken with an Olympic style (I swear that thing weighs two pounds) GOLD Medal around my neck and mingle with folks that understood the blood, sweat, tears, and prayers that had gone into that journey.
So, there I was at the Providence on 57th Street. I have this blingy gold medal hanging around my neck and it’s late. Okay, well not NY late, but totally Virginia girl late. I step out and for ten minutes I hailed and hailed and did a cab stop? Hail no! Didn’t even slow down. It was like while my hand was in the air and I held my I’m-not-a-tourist stare steady my hand was saying, “Hey there, wouldn’t one of y’all please stop and take me back to my hotel, because my granny would just die if she knew I was about to walk the streets of NYC by myself in the dark. Helloooo. Please.” Um, yeah. Those cars swept past me in a quick y’all y’all y’all. I’m pretty sure not even one had a second thought about me. I honestly, and I am not exaggerating as I’m known to do at times, but I really truly would have paid $100 for a ride to the hotel. I’d much rather walk alone in the pitch black darkness of my country home road at the risk of a coyote, nickel-sized mosquitoes, or a pissed-off on-her-last-nerve ready-to-spray momma skunk than walk down a NY block alone.
I was staying down at the Marriout Marquis. Well, I don’t really know if it was down or up or mid, but it was at least like 2 big blocks and 12 little blocks away. And who the heck cares if the blocks are little or big? They’re scary when you don’t know the city and people don’t smile at you, or heck even look you in the eye. Where I come from if people don’t look you in the eye it’s because they’re up to no good. So, after trucking through the streets of NY on foot clutching my purse (it now contained my coveted IPPY medal) I walked and walked and walked. I had no idea if I was even really going in the right direction except that I did remember the Marriott Marquis was in Times Square and there were a lot of lights ahead. That had to mean something, right?
I dipped into a well-lit store and asked the clerk if I was anywhere near the Marriott Marquis. He looked at me like I was speaking another language and shrugged. I repeated myself and the other guy finally repeated the words and said keep going, pointing in the direction I’d been heading. Of course, my thoughts turned to evil young boys pranking on a lost girl and I wondered if they were sending me to a seedy section of town or in the wrong direction altogether for their own kicks and giggles.
Three blocks later I saw a sign that I was headed in the right direction. A huge monstrosity of an M&M store. I do love some M&Ms and that store had caught my attention on the ride in from the airport. Oh yes, that was in a taxi, but no hailing was involved just a line that reached at least 2 long or 6 short city blocks and over an hour of my time to get to the front. At least the airport taxi ladies just pointed me to a car. Had I had to hail…I may have never left the airport.
So the next time I go to NY, I’m considering ordering a small banner from VistaPrint that I can unscroll that says “Please stop, Suga’, I really really would appreciate a ride, and I’m an excellent tipper.” Maybe that’ll work. What do you think?