There’s a determination in the way we travel that’s sorely missing from the rest of our lives. With forty-eight hours to kill in New York City last week, we achieved more in the name of sightseeing than we’ve ever done in a month in Chicago. I know this isn’t abnormal—this is why people travel to the big city, after all—but for us it takes on a manic quality.
By way of example, here’s the tally sheet of our activities from 13:00 Thursday to 13:00 Saturday: Lunch at Shopsin’s in Greenwich village; a walk through Washington Square park to visit the chess players and dog park; a NYU library exhibit on Ben Franklin; the breathtaking Chip Kidd retrospective at Cooper Union; Scrabble at Mud coffeeshop; Dinner at ‘ino; Doubt on Broadway; backgammon and tea at a Park Slope cafe; lox breakfast at a local bagel shop; Sculpture Museum in Queens; PS1 in Queens; Lunch at New Green Bo in Chinatown; a walk around the Staten Island Ferry terminal; Scrabble in Battery Park; the Pixar exhibit at MoMA; a visit to the 826NYC Superhero Supply Store; brunch at Dizzie’s in Brooklyn.
Each night we’d return to our friends’ house and collapse. The conversation would go something like this:
“That was a good day.”
“But good tired, right?”
“Yeah. And my legs are pretty sore.”
“But the good kind of sore, right?”
Last time we visited New York, we made a bet about whether Sarah would see someone she knew before I saw someone famous. The loser had to talk in an Australian accent for an hour. (I won.) It’s too bad we didn’t reprise the bet, because I would have won again. On our way out of Shopsin’s, we saw none other than Calvin Trillin—Mr. Shopsin’s himself—having what I assume must be his daily lunch there. I only wish I was either more outgoing or less polite, because I couldn’t even muster up a fanboy hello.
One of these days I think we’re both going to have to take the day off and explore Chicago like we’re a couple of crazy tourists. I know our city can hold its own against New York or any other vacation destination. I hate to think we’re letting all this culture pass us by simply because we’re too busy going about our daily, heavily scripted lives.