More than once in my life, I have felt that the term concrete jungle is not just a silly phrase, but truly words that do epitomize life in the city.
City life does have its challenges, just as the jungle does… but once you learn the ropes, the universie, concrete, or tree, opens up to you. But it is that transition period — before you know the rules, and how to bend them to suit you — that is so tricky. I like to keep my visits to uncharatered terrirorty short… no more than three days… just enough time to get in and out before you get to scathed trying to live by rules that you do not know… you could, if you had 3 weeks time… but not just five days.
The city beat me down this week. We had our 5-day city pass and bus passes that let us travel to museums all week, unfettered… but there were signs with funny arrows… that meant straight ahead, but were instead angled just a bit… and a door leading to both ways. Choosing the wrong door sent me on a 20 minute hike to the clerk that said “wrong window.” Â In the heat. With four boys.
Then, of course, there was Marilyn… who just showed up last week, and the boys wanted to know why they had never heard of her… and “what kind of movie star was she?”
Did I mention the problem with my Sprint Phone.
The battery would go dead after one 20-minute phone call… even though I started the morning fully charged. A visit to the Sprint store around the corner, was a waste of time, leaving me with, “We don’t sell the batteries here for that phone… you’ll have to go down to our main store… just a 45-minute bus ride away.” Then, he added, “you can leave your phone here all day, and we’ll charge if for you.” Hmmmmm.
I needed the phone for Internet because the fancy hotel did not provide WiFI service. That’s not true… they did… but at a very steep price. So, I went to the Starbucks, in the lobby, and ordered a chai, only to find out that their free internet was overridden by the Hotel’s, of course. “You must get it from the hotel.” And, this service would have been free at a Red Roof Inn, I reminded myself.
I was surrounded by millions of people, but I could connect with no one.
I needed to connect. I was working under major deadlines. Deadlines that required Internet. There was a special event with a carterer, a post for a recipe contest, there were touts for my review site that needed to be completed, and an endless stream of emails that needed my attention. And, how could I forget? My blog was down? The server could not connect. My dream host, which is not Dreamhost, but Host Gator, suddenly turned cold and hung up on me in mid-typing during internet chat. Once I finally got someone to listen and verify, “yes it is down, and we’re working on it”… I left the Starbucks, confident that my blog was in good, safe hands. Only to find out a few minutes later, while I was left only with my trusty dead-battery phone, that my blog was only down in certain geographic areas. Could I please download an up to my computer to “allow them to locate the IP address where I was?”
“Will it work on a phone?”
“No… must be your computer.”
Then the battery overload on my computer made it impossible to download the app.
I couldn’t fix, respond, or do any of these things to save myself if I had to. The texted response I have to one of my people, on my phone that was plugged into a socket at Chipotle, that just happened to be up by the order counter, (seriously, I would go into stores/resturants and look for their outlets so I could make a call) was “It is utterly impossible for me to meet this deadline.”
Then, my laptop started to die. I found a Starbucks, outside of the hotel, ordered a chai, only to find out that my fully-charged laptop was not. The battery decided that this week was the week that it would be a dead charge. I could only use the laptop if I had my charger… which I left back in the hotel room, to save space from the 5 water bottles and celerey sticks the kids put into my bag.
When I came back to the Starbucks, with my charger… there was not one outlet left in the entire joint.
True, in another week, all of this would have been ironed out. I would have figured it all out… but I didn’t need to. Because, thankfully, we’re all back home, where we have amazing roaming capabilities within our own home, and I don’t have to tip someone just for bringing me an extra towel.