3 Continents, 9 Countries, 40,000 Miles, and One New York Bar
I had told myself I couldn't be my normal, introverted self tonight, but when I noticed Terence (TAR 13) learning against a scaffold pole, I somehow didn't feel all that motivated to go up and say hi. It's harder than you think to call someone an ass on the internet and then walk up to them and introduce yourself at a party and be all cool. What do I say, "Your hair looks much better now"? Which, actually, it did, but that didn't seem like the best opening.
While the crowd milled around outside, a yellow cab pulled up, somehow exuding an aura of celebrity. Maybe it was the way it hovered there, or maybe it was the tinted windows. Whatever the case, after a minute it disgorged TAR 13's Kelly, Christy, and Sarah, all dressed to the nines. I'm not sure what took them so long to get out. Maybe Kelly and Christie were reading the instructions.
Things sort of drifted back inside then -- and by "things," I mean "me" -- and now the place was packed, and beginning to smell a bit like a locker room. And things begin to blur, in this case "things" meaning "chronological order." And, to a lesser extent, "me" again
With everyone inside -- and it's literally beginning to feel like everyone in New York is inside -- I sack up and say hello to both Terence and Sarah (whom I was told are no longer dating) and tell them who I am. "Uh, thank you, I guess?" Terence says uncertainly. He turns out to be a good sport, as does Sarah. I also introduce myself to Kelly and Christy, who are both amazingly pleasant and amazingly good at giving a shit about meeting me.
Jodi's here, looking smashing. She tells me Christie is in Germany with family. I ask her what the deal was with the rolling suitcases, and she explains that although the suitcases she and Christie dragged around Europe and Asia did have the option of converting to backpacks, carrying them that way was too hard on her back. Apparently she does not come equipped with an Amazing Race grade back. I ask her whether her flight attendant experience helped her pack light, but she says there's only so much you can leave out when you're packing for a three-week trip through an unlimited range of climates. Yes, the show does provide them with those big overstuffed The North Face parkas when necessary, but you can't just throw that on over your workout gear or whatever. Plus -- and this I didn't know -- you need to bring an extra pair of shoes, because by the time you finish a leg the ones you're wearing are completely covered with crap. That explains why I used to see an extra pair dangling off of Jen's backpack. Jodi tells me how cold it was in Siberia, and I tell her I live in Minneapolis. She clucks sympathetically and yields the point.