Monday, August 15, 2011

NYC Sights and Nightlife Calamities

Even though we're totally broke and set to move back to California in two weeks, M and I decided we should see NYC at least once before we go. A birthday celebration of sorts, since I just turned 34 on Friday. Luckily, we have some friends who have access to an apartment in Korea Town and we were able to make it a cheap trip by going there via bus. So our friends (a couple) and us made our way up there and took in the sights on Saturday. 

We went to Times Square, where I got to go to the Harry Potter Exhibit (really cool). We walked up to the Guggenheim from there by strolling through Central Park. After the Guggenheim we took a cab back home to relax and freshen up for dinner. We took in the sights of the city from our apartment's roof top first:

We headed down to Chinatown for dinner and had dumplings and other glorious things at Shanghai Cuisine.

After stuffing ourselves, we walked through Little Italy and made our way to an amazing dive bar called St. Jerome's on the lower east side that fulfills the five basic dive desires:

1) almost no lighting
2) small and cozy, with booths and plenty of bar stools
3) cheap drinks. Yeah, I found cheap drinks in Manhattan. $6.50 for a call cocktail. Not bad.
4) great music chosen by the staff and/or DJ (not patrons)
5) good bartenders, who know not to pour too heavy of a drink, and who aren't wearing tight polo shirts.

There were totally bizarre fashion mistakes in this bar that I have to detail here just to make sure I remember them years from now. First of all, culottes. I have mentioned to everyone who will listen that this "shorts" thing is totally out of control in 2011. In Philadelphia, short shorts are worn by everyone. EVERYONE. From 11 year olds (inappropriate) to large moustachioed dads (inappropriate) to 400 lb 45 year old ladies with bad wigs (inappropriate). The short short (like with the pockets that come out the bottom) is de rigeur. In New York City, there is also a shorts thing happening. Now, maybe my survey only consisting of one dirty dive bar on the lower east side is not accurate, but damn, at least 4 ladies wore culottes. You know what they are, right? A high waisted short (blah!) that is flouncy and almost skirt-like. I remember them from being a five year old girl.

So, ladies were walking around in culottes. There was a guy wearing what I believe were striped pajama bottoms and a vest. Just a vest. Like an outfit a performing monkey would wear.

He danced like a nutjob right next to our booth along with his friend, whom I refer to as "the sacrifice" because she had super short hair and wore a white muslin dress that seemed to me to be  "potato sack" in design. She danced like a total maniac. The kind of dancing that consists mostly of jumping and twirling and kicking. Yes, kicking high kicks. They were having a great time, but they were dangerously (obnoxiously) close to our table, so I changed places with my friend and was Lady of the Jutting Elbows for the rest of the evening. My elbow just so happen to graze those who entered the circle of space. Anyway, the ladies all looked like they had raided Sabrina the Teenage Witch's closet. Lots of pastel flouncy printed pattern things. But it was such good entertainment! And the music was great. The DJ would periodically go behind the bar to get a drink and comb his bangs over his perfectly placed bandana. The bar back looked like a cross between one of the Daggers from Thrashin' and one of the Ramones. Completely amazing.

Ah, a good time was had by all. Despite my "dive bars shouldn't have dancing" rule, I actually eventually participated. My group was enjoying the music, getting up next to our booth and dancing to songs I can't even remember now but seemed like completely inspired choices at the time. We were laughing, having a few drinks. Even M was dancing. That, my friends, is a little Big Apple miracle. And then, the calamity happened.

Remember last year when I fell comedically because my dog saw a squirrel? I laughed at it even then. It inspired me to do a silly cartoon of myself. Yeah, this fall didn't have that same devil-may-care attitude about it. Mostly because something totally DISLOCATED.

Ok, so let me back up. It's like 1:30am. We're dancing. I'm teaching my friends the gothic dances I learned in college (bats around my face, vacuum the floor/dust the ceiling, stacking the CDs, you know, the basics). I was in the same spot, enjoying the music, doing my thing with a limited range of motion because I'm between the bar and the booth and I'm also chatting. And either someone spilled a drink or the storm that had just begun outside was tracked in, wetting the floor. Because I slipped.

I totally freaking slipped. I decided, as I fell, that I should under no circumstances FALL IN A BAR. So I reached for the table, which was not at all bolted to the floor. I then managed to pull all the drinks and the votive candle right onto my brother in law as I hit the floor and landed on my bum. My knee twisted on the way down. I got help up and sat in the booth when I realized that my right kneecap was way too far to the right. I had dislocated my kneecap. Brother in law kindly looked at my knee and tried to calmly explain to me that now we had to go to the emergency room. And I frowned big time. I've never been to the emergency room. I've accompanied others, but I've never had a medical emergency. Baby's first medical emergency at 34 years (and a day) old.

I made peace with the utter awfulness of having to go to an ER on my birthday vacation, and stood up, when it popped right back into place. A miracle! A New York miracle! Alicia Keys is right. It's a concrete jungle where dreams are made of! There's nothing you can't do! And then I tried to walk. Not happening. I couldn't put weight on it. M was beside himself with worry. I never do this kind of thing.


After hobbling through a torrential rain storm to hail a cab, we got home. We all started to wake up around 11 am the next morning. It was pouring rain and encircling our apartment was the Dominican Pride parade. So we woulda been trapped anyway. I'm glad I got to do a bunch of cool things before it happened, because there was no way I was going to be able to get around in the rain on my bum leg.

I convinced myself that going to my doctor on Monday was a good idea. We got on the bus and went home. After a visit to my doctor and then shuttling over to an orthopedic surgeon for a good look at my knee, I'm currently in a big brace that protects my kneecap from slipping out again.
Someone's totally worried about the new leg brace

So the trip (for the most part) was awesome, but the slipping thing totally blew.

Not only did I fall, in public, in a bar. I did so without any kind of grace or endearing clumsiness. I wasn't even all that tipsy. I just fucking fell. Boom. And since I've gained weight since my last public fall, I immediately felt embarrassed and horrified. Fat girl falls. Hahahaha! Right? I refused out of sheer stubbornness (and probably shock) to cry. Not only am I a bigger girl, I'm an older gal too. Tick tock, right? Now falling equals expensive treatment and lengthy rehab time. And probably a hilarious YouTube video.

I'm supposed to be able to walk on it and heal up in about 3-4 weeks. During that time, however, I'm moving across country. Including driving across country. Now M. has to bear the burden of a lot more physical labor and our limited budget just went to copays and a full day off work. Plus, we're probably going to need to pay movers for our unload.

I want to be happy about the good things, that I had a great time in NYC before the fall. But damn I am totally hating myself for really messing the next few weeks up by not being athletic enough to catch myself on the way down. I'm plagued with thoughts that had I been healthy and thin, I could bounce around like that whirling dervish girl, who had been laughing and dancing so dangerously carefree not an hour before. I would have blushed and been helped up and had continued dancing. I get that it's an accident and that I didn't do it on purpose. But maybe I could have prevented the situation by taking more responsibility for my health, being more aware of my surroundings, having good reflexes. Maybe sitting out the dancing portion of the evening.

So that happened.

Tomorrow I go in for an MRI before work. Here's hoping it's just a sprained knee. No fractures or breaks showed up on the x-ray, but the orthopedist wants to make sure I didn't do too much damage to my tendon. But I'm in that sexy brace for another 3 weeks at least. No crutches, which is good. I hope things look up as I make my way westward. I think the east coast has really done a number on me this past year...

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