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Gabbi WernerGirl Friday – the Book of Bad 26. Sleepless in Manhattan

Von | 07.02.2014, 0:01 | Kein Kommentar

A threesome with some tree: Strange things happen when you book two winter wonder nights in New York.

Welcome. To the stories I told in many hotelrooms. To a man who had trouble falling asleep. A business deal. He paid for my words.

Here they are.


The Waldorf Astoria, New York. „My good friend Flo and I were broke beyond repair one Christmas. We both are very talented shoppers. Making money, on the other hand, is not a highly developed part with either of us.
Last year things had got so out of hand it almost became  a competition between the two of us: whose debt was larger. We would brag about it, laughing our worries away. ‚My rent has been due for 5 months already‘, one would say, the other would reply: ‚Yeah, but my dentist bill was 900 Euros, and I still don´t have the implant!‘ You can imagine what fun we had. Didn´t stop us from shopping, though. We are so good at discovering nice items in shops that we cannot live without. The ‚Souvenir de Paris‘ table lamp I bought was just as necessary as the winged pig teapot that Flo took home one afternoon. We tried window shopping at night, to look at things but not buy them, it was useless. We would remember the shops anyway and just go there the next day. As far as debt goes, we approximately ended ex aqueo that fall, but that didn´t make the burden of debt and the friendly debt collectors coming by to say „hi!“ any less urgent. Those collector guys actually liked us. When they would find our door, we mostly had the money for them and made them coffee as well.
At the beginning of December our situation had reached abyss size proportions, so we decided to go down gracefully and spend all the credit card credit we had left.
 We booked a flight to New York and a room at the Waldorf Astoria. For two nights. Christmas Eve and the one after that. Christmas! New York! The Waldorf!
We got ourselves a double room and checked in. The hotel was over the top Christmassy decorated, we thought we had found winter wonderland at last. Only we were not  sure which one of us was Alice. Tinsel everywhere.
For that matter, the room was a huge disappointment. No Christmas what so ever. Just a room. That sucked. I mean, a mini bar can only be interesting for a short period of time and, believe me, the selfdestruct roller-coaster mood we were in did not make this last for more than an hour or two.
Completely drunk, we started to walk the Manhattan streets and went to Central Park. Boredom started to overcome us big time. So this was New York. As seen on TV. Nothing could surprise us. We had seen all the buildings, we knew Central Park, all the images had been fed to us ever since we were little. TV generation, that is what we are. And we are ashamed to admit this. So, here we were in our own sit-com but had forgotten to give ourselves a nice premise.
Action was what we needed, adventure. But mostly, we had to have a Christmas tree. There were still a couple of trees for sale in Manhattan, but they were expensive, and cash was not something we had in abundance. Then Flo remembered a New York friend of his had told him he always got his tree in Brooklyn, a tree came much cheaper there.
Flo called his friend to ask for directions. This was going to be the best Christmas ever. We would save ten dollars on the tree at least. As the first law of shopping states, you should never say no to a bargain.
We took the subway and went on, station after station. I am a coward, but Flo is not. After a couple of stops the tube started to get rather empty and I suddenly didn´t mind the Manhattan Christmas tree variety. But Flo wanted to go. So on we went. He knew which station we had to get off, his friend had explained everything very carefully.
At last we were there. I think it took more than an hour. All we had to do was find the street the friend had suggested and we would have our tree.
There was nothing Dickensian about the area. We walked underneath the subway rails, we got cold. I was starting to opt for going back to the warm and cosy minibarhaven, but Flo just wanted the tree.
Finally we found the spot. It had a couple of trees, they didn´t look bad. We decided on a rather big one. It came from Maine, the salesman said. Good. I like Maine. Never been there, but read about it in John Irving´s books. That was quality enough for me.
Flo managed to get a couple of dollars discount and then we went back to get the tree into the hotel room.
We walked back to the subway station and, for fun, bought a ticket for our tree. The tree had become our new bestest friend, we named him Roger.
So there we were, me, Flo and Roger, in the subway station. Only when the train came in we realised that our tree might actually be a bit on the large side. We hardly got it in through the carriage door. A lot of pushing and shoving it took us. We were laughing, but soon realised nobody was laughing with us. This was a joke they had no humour for on the way down town.
I tried to get Flo and Roger into singing Christmas carols but soon noticed this was not appreciated by our fellow travellers either. So there we sat, the three of us. Feeling very very much out of place.
When we arrived at our station, we got off as quickly as we could. The tree got stuck in the carriage door again, but this time we just hurried and pulled it out. Roger lost a couple of branches.
Then, up the stairs, that did not do our poor tree a lot of good either. Roger slowly but surely turned into a very sad tree, basically the remnant of a tree.
We dragged our beloved posession behind us until we arrived at the Waldorf.
 And there, they just blankly refused to let us take Roger up into our room. We tried to negotiate, we tried begging. I must admit I tried to cry, but to no avail. They would not budge. We were very welcome to admire the Waldorf Christmas tree in the lobby, but it was under no circumstances allowed to take a real tree up into a junior suite. Security reasons. Surely we understood. We did not.
We got the feeling that asking for the management would only deteriorate the situation. So there we were: Christmas Eve. A tree. And no place to put it.
In the end we carried the thing to Central Park and planted it there. We hung some of the empty minibar bottles in it and sang our Christmas song. Somehow Roger started to feel like baby Jesus to us. Nobody had wanted him either.
It sure was a strange Christmas night.“

To be Continued. Next Friday. Every Friday. From 09.00h.

Link to German Translation: click  Girl Friday – Buch des Bösen 26. Schlaflos in Manhattan

Artwork: Gabbi Werner

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