Posted by: Kate | September 25, 2009

Better Than Fantastic

I got back from my New York City trip a few hours ago, and, first things first, immediately collapsed unconscious on the couch for a nap while the kids watched something on TV… porn, violence, I don’t even know.  They seemed to find it amusing, whatever it was.

Anyway, now I’m awake and ravenous, and have ordered Chinese food because apparently that’s what the baby wants tonight.  And while we wait for the delivery, I can take a moment to try and sum up the near-inexpressible awesomeness that was the last 30-some hours of my life.

First, there was Jenny’s husband, up to save the day by keeping my kids alive and all of us out of a DCF investigation.  I haven’t managed to unearth much in the way of details, but words like “awesome” and “fun” and “pizza” have been bandied about, so that was a raging success.

Jenny picked me up in the morning, and then we both swung by Carolyn’s house and were on the road.  The next several hours were eaten up with travel – first to Carolyn’s sister’s beyond-amazing house in the ‘burbs, to change and unpack a bit since she was graciously hosting us for the night, then into the city.  It was one of those series of travel (automobile, train, 10 blocks on foot, another 10 by cab) that felt as though the universe had conspired to make everything happen exactly as planned, but without a minute to spare… a certain amount of hurry, hurry, hurry, followed by an hour or so of OK, now wait in the lobby of The Daily Show studio.  That lobby?  They spare all sorts of expense for it: bare walls, concrete floor, no chairs, lots of aimless milling around because apparently none of us there were veteran TV-show-taping attendees.  But we figured it out – and Carolyn managed to snag a chair for me as the token pregnant woman in the room – and it was plenty interesting just checking out the people, watching the cattle-herding adventures, and then finally filing in.

Inside the studio itself, there is a quarter, lacquered to the floor, just inside the room by the stairs where you walk in.  Just so’s you know.

The seating is somewhat random; there is a special VIP section, and people are let in roughly in the order that they arrived in line… so, given our split-second synchronization, we were the last of the VIPs (an odd sensation, considering ourselves VIPs, as we’re all very comfortable with our basic riff-raff sorts of identities) to be ushered in.  And yet, circumstances being unusually benevolent, the pattern of seating ended up landing us directly in the front row.  Of course, the moment we sat down, I needed the rest room – despite having duly used the facilities before being led into the studio – but didn’t dare ask to leave, because the staff was all pretty hard core about staying in our seats for the duration of the taping.  I was not willing to allow my pregnant bladder to interfere with the evening, and so I did my best to ignore it.  Which only makes the need more intense… but I managed, and without doing an obvious dance in my seat.

The show itself?  Delightful.  Not a side-splittingly hilarious laff-a-minit event, but still funny and interesting and smart.  Moments into the interview with Batshit Crazy Froot Loopy Actually Believes His Own Lies Megalomaniac Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Jon asks – and is allowed – to touch Rod’s hair, which has its own special level of creepy smarm.  Jon makes a comment along the lines of, “I just lost a bet with my wife,” and if you listen real close, there’s a Whoo! from the audience… that would be me.  I just have a soft spot for celebrities who acknowledge their significant others at odd little moments – even when they’re celebrities I find attractive enough to indulge in fantasies of scampering up to sit on his lap at his desk – and thus, a brief an impromptu celebration.

Afterward, we stood on the sidewalk – after a desperate sprint to the bathroom on my part, and go me for still being able to find some speed in high heels – and watched as cab after cab sped by, already in use.  We needed to get back to Grand Central Station, to catch a train back to the  suburbs, and we thought it made the most sense to take a cab there and then scout out a restaurant nearby.  No cabs, no cabs… and then Jenny spotted a pedi-cab, one of the bicycle-drawn rickshaw sort of contraption, and we all climbed aboard.  That provided us with the death-defying chapter of the night; I’m sure we weren’t ever actually in mortal danger, but somehow it’s easier to ignore the insanity of New York traffic when you’re wrapped in the warm, safe, steel cocoon of a car.  When your bare kneecaps are mere inches from the bumper of a randomly reversing vehicle, you become very much more aware of your own corporal integrity.

And, my goodness, but did that young man pedal.  Turns out, it’s very slightly uphill all the way from 11th Ave. to Grand Central Station, and aside from the occasional pesky red light, our host pushed on apparently tirelessly.  We were hugely impressed, in between goofy grins and the occasional panicked gasp, and decided that we could not have found a cooler way to get where we needed to be.

Dinner happened at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, inside the station, and though I know next to nothing about MJ and certainly didn’t know he had a restaurant, I can say that the man – or his chef – does know his way around a cow.  I was feeling distinctly unwell by this point, having forgotten my pain meds for long enough that I was both in pain and having early withdrawal symptoms, which are unpleasant enough that I do not look forward to the inevitable eventual late withdrawal symptoms, but still was able to enjoy dinner and be grateful for an excellent meal.

And after a good night’s sleep, we launched ourselves home and back to our regular lives.  The drives seemed to just snap by, because we had more than enough conversation to fill the time, and we have determined that the next big adventure will have to be a trip to Chicago because Carolyn wants to see an Oprah taping, and in two or three years we’re going on a Mediterranean cruise.  Because we have a strong, wonderful friendship that is more than adequately nurtured by our local lunch dates… but the occasional exotic locale and adventure can’t hurt.


  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time!! I can’t wait to (finally) visit NYC!

  2. what a cool day! I’m jealous.

  3. Way cool! Can’t believe you were in the 1st row 🙂

  4. Sounds great although I’ve never had the courage to hire a pedi-cab. I feel so sorry for those wiry dudes.

  5. Awesome! When I watched the Blago show (and the extended interview online) I hoped that was the one you’d seen. What a whackjob! So glad you got to go on the trip after all and yay for Jenny’s husband 🙂

  6. How exciting! 😀

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