A while ago, I wrote a bucket list. I didn’t write it in an “I want to kill myself relatively soon” mindset, but more of a “There are things I want to do before I die, but if I don’t write them down, I’m going to completely forget them” mindset. One of the things I had on there was Go To New York City
Going off on a bit of a tangent, one thing I hate about the school I went to from when I was in fourth grade until my senior year of high school was this certain student. Let’s call him Lad. He was in my class from the beginning of my fourth grade year until halfway through my junior year of high school; seven and a half years. He left at the end of fall semester of the 2012-2013 school year. He came back to Summit (my school) for the fall semester of the 2013-2014 school year, but he was still a junior while I was a senior. That was another half a year. In total, that’s eight years we went to the same school. Those eight years, he made every day I went there an emotional hell, as if being the only girl in the class for a third of my time at Summit wasn’t bad enough. I’m pretty sure he hated me. If he ever did, he still might hate me. During the eight years I attended Summit with this Lad, I could only come up with one reason why he hated me, but thinking about it almost two years since I left Summit, I realized this so called reason is completely illogical.
He turned 20 this past Saturday, April 16th. I turn 20 on April 29th. The only reason I could come up with for his hatred towards me was the fact he’s 13 days older than me.
Why in the world would I hate a guy for being born May 12th in 1996?
See where I’m going with this?
Back on the topic of New York, when I have a bad memory on a certain date (month and day), I pray to have a new, good experience to cover up the bad memory so I don’t have to always think about the bad memory whenever I think of the date. For example, I met the guy who broke my last relationship up on November 20th of 2014. On November 20th of 2015, The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 came into theaters. When I think of November 20th, if I don’t want to remember 2014, I’ll most likely remember either Mockingjay Part 2 coming into theaters, or the fact we found out on that day that my father might have had a congenital heart defect. Since then we found out it’s not a congenital heart defect he has as compared to a part of his heart muscle being a little bit thicker than other people of his demographic. Another example, on November 23rd of 2014, I broke up with my boyfriend of almost 10 months after we watched Mockingjay Part 1 in theaters. Yes, I broke up with him, but I pin the blame on the guy I met on November 20th. That’s a story for a different article. I wanted to watch Mockingjay Part 2 on November 23rd of 2015 to cover up the bad memory of breaking up with my ex, but it was the day my family drove up to my grandparents for Thanksgiving or the day my sister visited a college campus in that town, and we probably wouldn’t be able to drive over 6 hours to the city my grandparents lived in or visit that campus and make it to the theater all in one day. I mean, we could have, but my parents turned 59 and 54 no more than 4 months before Thanksgiving Break, and that would have been a busy day for them, so there was no way that would happen. A third example: on March 24th of 2012, I went to the theater with my boyfriend of almost three months at the time, his older sister, and a couple of her friends, to see The Hunger Games in theaters. Right around that time of 2016, it was going to be initiation for Phi Mu, but that was scheduled for March 20th. It wasn’t until the last minute that it had to be rescheduled for later in the week. It was rescheduled for March 24th. March 22nd, the attack on Brussels, Belgium, happened. I screwed up the friendship I was trying to maintain with the guy I saw The Hunger Games with. I’m thankful initiation was rescheduled for March 24th.
The point I’m trying to make is, Bethany scheduled a trip to New York City on the perfect day.
This Lad’s birthday.
The remainder of this article is about my trip to NYC and how it affected me because of how I was raised in a sheltered lifestyle. But, first, I need to start on Friday, April 15th.
On Friday, April 15th, after Bethany’s Greek Life had Greek Carnival, I was at the Phi Mu house, waiting for the time Phi Mu had a mixer with a fraternity to come. I was talking about how I wanted to go to NYC the next day, but seeing the situation that played out back in February, I didn’t think it was possible. I had heard something about NYC, there being a seven person waiting list, and I thought a deposit had to be put in to reserve a spot to go like I had to to go to Washington, DC. I had told my family I was not going to put in a $10 deposit to not go. On the 15th, I was then told a deposit didn’t have to be put in. Huh. I’d try to see if there were any spaces available.
Then the time came for the mixer. It was a Clue Party type thing. We were assigned characters, and I was a caped crusader. I had a good idea of what I was supposed to be, but I wasn’t entirely too sure. If the idea I had was correct, I had the perfect outfit back in October of 2013, but if I still had everything, I left if all at home. So, I went as my character from October of 2013, but she forgot her costume at home. Her younger sister was supposed to come with her costume, but her sister was being an idiot and got herself stuck at home. With her costume. So she was stuck as her civilian form. The mixer went a heck of a lot faster than I felt was… “right”… and as one of the guys said, it was rather anti-climactic. It was done within an hour.
I went back to my suite, and got ready to go to the Coal Bowl and see if there were any spaces left. Which meant staying up an extra four hours. I packed my backpack with some writing supplies, in case all I did was stay in one place and take in being in NYC for the entire time, my laptop, my chargers for both my phone and laptop, and a blanket and pillow for the rides on the bus.
I went to the Coal Bowl at 1 AM to make sure I was there by 2 AM to see if there were any spaces left. I was the first one there, of course.
The bus came. I was wondering, “Do I get on the bus to find out I can’t go, or do I stay off for all the spots to fill up and I can’t go?” I saw another Phi Mu girl come in her car. After asking her what I should do, I went on the bus.
Thank the Lord, there were spots available. Two AM came, everybody boarded the bus, and we were off!
I only got about three hours of on and off sleep during the six plus hour drive to NYC. About halfway there, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so, I stayed up, watching the scenery, listening to my music, overthinking things to an acceptable extent. I was wanting to play Taylor Swift’s “Welcome To New York” as we were pulling into NYC.
That happened, but that took forever to time.
When we stopped and everybody got off, we had pulled in front of a McDonald’s. You may be wondering, “Why is she pointing out they pulled in front of a McDonald’s? What’s the big deal?” My father happens to be an airline pilot. Years ago, he was on a trip, and he stopped in NYC. He saw a McDonald’s that had the Broadway-like neon lights as part of its sign. He took a picture of it and sent it to me on my phone.
It was that McDonald’s we pulled in front of.
When we went on our own ways, I went with three other girls in Phi Mu’s freshmen class: a girl from my COMM 101 class last semester, my twin’s little, and the Bethany Odyssey author Alexandra.
I didn’t have any money. Whoops. I was spotted money. I still feel bad about it, though.
Our first stop was Central Park. It was beautiful.
Our next stop was The Met. I got two of the three pictures I took in NYC there. One was of a Roman marble bust that was of a bald man. The nose of this bust was broken off, and I thought it looked like Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter. The other picture I took was of a Salvador Dali painting that looked like it was a combination of realism and and possibly cubism. It was a crucifixion painting. The people in this painting were in realism. The cross was in what I think is possibly cubism.
At some point during the day, we were walking down a certain street, right past a certain hotel I can't remember the name of, when we saw these two police officers on motorcycles riding alongside each other like you would see when an important political figure was entering the area. A man we later determined was a Secret Service Agent pushed back onto the sidewalk as a limousine pulled up several feet behind me. A bunch of people started gathering around. The four of us looked at each other, giving pretty much the same looks: "What the crap is going on?" The door to the limousine opened. The small crowd got loud. I heard a man scream, "BERNIE!", but the person I saw get out of the limo was too tall to be Sanders, and his hair was too gray instead of white to be Sanders, but from what I know, Bernie Sanders is too short for me to see through that crowd of people trying to take pictures. I'm terrible with guessing distances, but if my guess is anywhere near a good one, I was no less than 75 feet from him before the four of us walked off.
If you don't count family, not all that well known, or runner up on a game/competition show, that's the closest I've been to a celebrity.
We did a lot of shopping, though all I got was a magnet. For years, when I went on a trip, I had to get a stuffed animal. Walt Disney World for my first time? “Let’s go to Build A Bear!” (That’s how long ago my first trip to WDW was). Heading to my grandparents’ place for the 20th time? I got a Thumper from Bambi from the Disney Store in the nearest retail mall. Disney Cruise? Psychedelic Mickey Mouse! But, as of late, I’ve been getting too old for stuffed animals. When I went to Washington, DC, yes, I did get a stuffed eagle, but I shouldn’t have. I did get a magnet. This time, even though I did want a stuffed animal of Minnie Mouse as the Statue of Liberty, I wouldn’t feel right if I got that and had to spot that much, so I got a magnet. Maybe I can get Lady Minnie Liberty next time.
For dinner, we had brick oven pizza. It was really good, especially the fresh mozzarella.
At the next major point in this story, it was about an hour before we had to go back to the McDonald’s to board the bus to head back to Bethany. We stopped in Times Square again. Lexie, Laura, and Abby stopped to get a photo. I’m not the type who is good at selfies; the picture you see at the bottom of this article is one of the lucky few good ones I've gotten, and even that one took several tries; and the girls didn’t ask me to take this photo, so I took the photo at the top of this article.
While Lexie, Laura, and Abby went with a girl I think is in Zeta Tau Alpha to Starbucks again and a couple other places, I went into the McDonald’s, trying to find an outlet to charge my phone. The bus had outlets, but they weren’t working on the way to NYC, so my phone was on low battery power, even after stopping at Express twice to charge it. It was the only place we could find power outlets in the entire city; at least, the parts we explored. I ran into a couple of girls I knew are in Zeta. I found out one of the girls is a day older than me. Not that that's important...
When the bus came, most of us were already back at the McDonald’s. Just before all of us were back on the bus, I was reminded to ask the driver about the outlets. I asked him what was wrong. He said they were supposed to be working. Well, they weren’t. There aren’t any switches. Well… He said he’d call and find out what was up.
Apparently this bus was brand new; this group was the first group to go on a trip on this exact bus. There were some switches “hidden” that the driver didn’t know about. He didn’t acknowledge me, but if I hadn’t asked him about it, it might have taken several more trips before he found out about the outlets.
We didn’t get back to Bethany until after 5 AM on Sunday, April 17th.
I have a couple reason why I wrote this article.
I was actually born in the Dallas, Texas, area, but for almost 18 years now, I lived in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. Over nine of those years, I lived about halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio. The only times I went into the cities was either for baseball games (GO REDS!), Winter Jam, or to the Dayton Art Institute for a certain class I took at Miami University (Miami of Ohio) last Spring semester. Going to NYC was a real change. I can now see why NYC is called The City That Never Sleeps. It looks like it’s daylight, even when the sky is black. The noise doesn’t help, either.
Another reason… For those who don’t know me and haven’t read previous articles of mine, I happen to be on the autism spectrum. For those who do know me and/or have read previous articles of mine, I’m sorry to keep repeating myself.
One thing about people with autism is, while every case is different, in some cases, you can see some of the same signs or whatnot. One of those signs could be sensory issues. They could get sensory overload if there is too much visual or auditory stimuli. While I was in NYC, the bright billboards and the noise of all the hustle and bustle was a little too much for me, but it was enough I could handle without a meltdown. For other people on the spectrum, it could be hell for them.
I had a great time in NCY. I can’t wait to go back again. Maybe I can see Lady Liberty/my dog’s namesake next time.
Credit for title of this article goes to Taylor Swift.