Wednesday, May 29, 2013

{a new friend and the whispering arches}

I was on the Subway headed back uptown after my wanderings when I heard a familiar laugh right at my shoulder. I turned. "Macy! Allison!"

Somehow, in this massive city which made me feel so anonymous and small, I kept running into people I knew.

The girls were on their way to Central Park to run lines with the team, and I joined them. Because I love Central Park. Anytime, for the rest of my life, anyone says, "Hey, we're headed to Central Park; want to come?" I will slap them for even asking. Because yes, of course I want to come.

As they found their team and began rehearsing, I found a spot on a grassy hill, kicked off my damp shoes {it had been raining}, and followed along in a spare script.
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A muddy dog jumped into my lap, as though out of thin air. It was on a leash but the owner kept the line slack and didn't make any effort to call it off. He laughed. "Don't worry, he's so friendly," he called out as I fell over backwards, trying not to touch the wet, smelly thing. Paw prints all over my new t-shirt. 

I hate the smell of wet dog. Maybe more than anything. 

The dog shivered and danced on my belly, trying desperately to lick my face. DOG BREATH. I did not want the dog to lick my face. I wanted the dog to get lost. I shoved it with my elbow, but couldn't move it from my awkward position on the ground. The owner was still laughing. I rolled over and the dog stumbled onto the ground and raced away after a woman on a bike, the owner trotting along behind it laughing like an idiot. "Don't worry! He's so friendly--"

"That dog was so cute!" The voice belonged to a Korean girl who looked about my age. She was standing to my right, wearing fancy black rubber boots with high heels on them and big diamonds on her fingers. I smiled and nodded in agreement even though I didn't agree at all. I was covered in mud and smelled like a wet dog. 

She sat down next to me. "I'm Sara," she said. This is how conversations start in movies. Like, if Sara were an handsome man and I were a single girl who was sitting alone in Central Park trying to figure out my life and brooding about my tragic past. 

As it was, she stuck around and we talked about New York (she lived there) and our jobs (she was an architect-turned-high-end-jewelry-designer) and our pets (or rather, her pets, because I don't have any).

And then, I guess, we were officially friends. So we did what friends do: we ran giggling through Manhattan and went for tea at a place called "The Tea House" and pizza at a place called "Cheesy Pizza" and she told me the most adorable stories about how she met her husband and how he pursued her and proposed to her in an art gallery. I secretly wish I'd recorded the stories on my phone or something. So cute. Mental note: make friends with strangers more often.
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I said goodbye to Sara after a couple of hours and rejoined some of my sister's friends, who were headed to Grand Central Station. It was only 11 PM, so I decided to go along too.
 photo D43BE237-DF64-4926-B43D-ED0AA36E4A9F-447-0000002E7CFF8761_zps4785e7ef.jpg  photo F356EF56-0716-469F-A853-D7BC4F8F552A-447-0000002E84648627_zpsc12c89f0.jpg  photo 249482A3-D821-4F10-A70C-CB0AF6CB7525-447-0000002E8A59A5AC_zps90d8e7f7.jpg  photo CFDD4234-E5C3-4A9E-802C-FFA2746C2058-447-0000002E913D7E3A_zps162c58b3.jpg  photo 175678B7-9BED-4E3A-AEA1-83DCE549508B-447-0000002EE5CD6503_zps57934abc.jpg  photo 1E5BA7BE-77D9-4CDE-A50D-2E57968AFE01-447-0000002ED963C6BF_zps08f7ad89.jpg  photo 0029EEC0-A1DD-4828-85D1-556E44557EEB-447-0000002E682D74B2_zps445379ae.jpg  photo A63F10F9-3457-4A08-815F-114C5688AADE-447-0000002E6093F21B_zpsced61949.jpg  photo C5F83134-5A3A-4AD6-B9B9-3B25E64A4865-447-0000002E59D4130B_zps51b652b2.jpg  photo 5FC90DF6-CB7A-4631-97DF-23D1F9D3FC5C-447-0000002E4651BD9C_zpsff55fea2.jpg  photo D42E6D75-4DA6-4D9E-9675-C3AF7666BACE-447-0000002ECABD8FC1_zpsa39aaa62.jpg  photo 51C121BC-B6E6-4188-A319-4CE4A413C9FC-447-0000002EA1FDF1FA_zpsa3b69c3e.jpg The coolest part about Grand Central is The Whispering Arches. I'd heard of them, but didn't really know what they looked like or where to find them. We explored the massive building thoroughly, and when I found them, I still wasn't sure I'd found them. To make me seem like even more of a crazy person, I didn't tell anyone else what I was looking for.

"Oh man! Maybe this is it! K, you stand facing into that wall--"


"Because you'll see. Maybe."

The premise is that one person stands at one arch, facing the corner like a child being punished at school, and the other person stands across the room at the opposite arch, same thing, and you're supposed to whisper to each other. Your whisper will follow the curvature of the ceiling (it's called telegraphing), and you'll be able to hear each other as clearly as if you're whispering straight into each others' ears. No matter how noisy the room around you is. It sounds like there're ghosts in the walls. You look kind of silly doing it, but as soon as people realize what you're doing, they'll do it too. And everyone looks silly together. (I've heard it's quite common for people to use the whispering arches to propose.)

The first guy in our group who tried it wasn't impressed at first. "Yes, I can hear you, Allison. What's supposed to happen now?" he asked as he turned around...and realized Allison was standing on the other side of the room. He thought she'd been standing right behind him, talking into his ear.
 photo CA627C02-2384-40B2-8907-3F008911A5BE-447-0000002EB9E7EB40_zpsdb54a583.jpg
 photo 70CBC9DE-818A-4DE0-A8A0-612DD32ECF84-447-0000002EB2F865F0_zpsb8d091d2.jpg We even made a video for you. But keep in mind that at this point it was sometime in the AM and I'd been out walking in the rain all day. Which is why I'm a mess. Just keep it in mind. And I know it's the worst video in the world and fairly anticlimactic because maybe you had to be there. Oh well.