Unsung Milestones
While You Were Sparkling

BlogHer 2012, Part One (Which Features Very Little About, You Know, BlogHer)

Oh. Hi. I went to Blogher. While there, I cry-talked about my boobs to Samantha Bee, threw a party, suffered a nervous breakdown about said party, smeared unicorn cake on the faces of friends and strangers, fell down the stairs at a Broadway theater, and then brought a life-sized Harry Potter cardboard stand-up home on the train like an idiot. 

This morning I woke up to the sound of Noah yelling, "STOP STARING AT ME!" at the cardboard stand-up. Then he punched it. It fell over.

"HARRY POTTER, ARE YOU OKAY?" Ezra shouted.

(I should mention this was all happening before the sun was up.)

"HARRY POTTER IS OKAY," Ezra reported.

Well, good. I guess?

We are all good here too. I guess? 

I need a little bit more time to get my head and thoughts and photos in order, but here's one story from the very first day, which COULD HAVE been my last, because...well, you'll see:

On Wednesday morning, Jason and I drove up to Pennsylvania to drop the boys off at their grandparents' house. Then we went immediately straight to the train station and finished the trip up to New York. When we got there, it was raining, and so the taxi line was ridiculous.

While we were waiting (with our eleventy million suitcases because he and I BOTH like to bring a lot of shoe options — shut up, we've been married 14 years tomorrow because we see eye to eye on PRECISELY that sort of shit), the car service people were hustling the line, trying to cut deals with people to skip the taxi and go with them instead. 

Now, I admit we have done this in DC a lot: usually at the airport, where there are typically a dozen car service limos queued up. They've dropped passengers off and are hoping to score a return fare and extra cash and will drive you home for about what a taxi will charge you anyway. We've done it a lot and have never died once. 

But there we are, in New York City, and some random Russian dude is offering us a ride and I'm doing that thing where you stare into space, pretending to not even listen because no, thank you...when I realize Jason has negotiated and agreed on a fare and is walking off with said random Russian dude. Okay-y?

So I follow, thinking that hey, this is probably not the best idea, but also thinking that we're talking about a limo/towncar service, so it's not like this is the WORST idea, like if we just agreed to take a ride in some random Russian dude's random unlicensed minivan oh my God it's just a random unlicensed minivan.

!!!

His friend was driving, parked illegally while the other guy went out in search of suckers passengers, and of course every alarm bell possible is clanging around in my head...but the first guy was already loading our suitcases into the back of the minivan.

You guys. I know. This was so bad and so stupid and YOU SHOULD NEVER DO THIS EVER. It's New York 101, dumbshits, and the only explanation for why Jason and I continued to cheerfully climb into a couple strangers' random unlicensed minivan instead of running back to the taxi line was that we didn't want to make a fuss. If we were going to get kidnapped by Russian mobsters, well goddamnit, we were still going to be polite about it. We were going to be the most cooperative victims ever.

Once we started driving, I glared at Jason, like I cannot believe you just agreed to let us get chopped us into tiny pieces and hurled into the Hudson River all to shave 15 minutes off our transportation time.

And he looked back at me, like I know. I'm sorry. I was just thinking about that thing your hair does in the rain. 

I pulled out my phone and debated...texting? Tweeting? Loudly making a phone call to someone with our exact location and circumstances to casually let our friendly Russian mobster overlords know that SOMEONE KNOWS. SOMEONE CARES. GOLDISH METALLIC MINIVAN HEADED DOWN 6th AVENUE. SEND HELP. 

Instead, I just nervously played Angry Birds. The Russian guys were much more interested in the real estate listings anyway. They seemed to be debating a move to the suburbs. 

Fifteen minutes later, we were in front of our hotel. The driver hopped out, handed our luggage off to the bellhop, thanked us and wished us a good visit. Then drove off to (presumably) make a few more extra bucks on a rainy day. 

Photo (28)

(Us, later that night, in a licensed pedicab that charged us more than the Russian minivan.) 

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(STOP EXPECTO PATRONUMMING AT ME, HARRY.)

Comments

Megan

I've been in a scary taxi ride, too. We were in London and getting a taxi to Gatwick because it was WAY early. Taxi driver picks us up, and we're off. He doesn't say a word to us the whole time, then he pulls into a deserted gas station, and this other guy comes out of nowhere and approaches the taxi.

I seriously thought we were going to be killed/kidnapped, but this guy turned out to be the taxi driver's friend, I think? They chat for a few minutes, then we're off again.

I'm glad you guys are ok! I would have done the same thing - "Oh, I don't want to be RUDE, so I'll just sit here."

jodifur

So great to see you, if however briefly. SO LOOKING FORWARD TO NEWSIES.

Suburban Kamikaze

That was a very narrow escape. I would have loved to have met you at BlogHer but didn't realize that was you with all the cry-talking and the boob chatter, which I tend to avoid. Now, of course, I am completely changing my policy on such things. Love your blog.

SK

Erin

Oh geez! My husband and I had a very similar experience in NY a few years ago. Only there was no negotiating ahead of time and it was a black town car, not a cab. So we paid more than a cab ride (but not a lot) and I spent the whole time convinced we were going to die. My cousin told me they're "gypsy cabs" and you're supposed to negotiate the fare ahead of time, so good job on that part! Scary lesson learned...

Corey Feldman

Glad you both are OK.

Allison

I am glad you are ok. I would miss posts like this, especially the part about your hair. I love Jason and I love Amalah.

the grumbles

We did the exact same thing on the way back to the airport. A random guy walked up and offered a ride in his Escalade to LGA for $35, and I was so tired and miserable that we did it even though the inside of my brain was screaming, "WHAT! Are you! DOING!" Anyway, I appear to be alive so that's fine.

Suzy Q

Ha! I bought a Living Social thing for a car service back to the airport on Sunday. When I called to confirm the reservation, the guy screamed at me in Chinese or perhaps Japanese. The website was mostly Asian, so I fully expected that the Yakuza would be picking me up, if they showed at all. The traffic coordinator outside of the Hilton had never heard of them, either, which scared me.

Well, they did show up, and I "nicely" offered a ride to a random BlogHer attendee who was walking by. Little did she know that I just didn't want to die alone and pinky-fingerless. But, we survived, too!

JenVegas

I know this rule too but one time I flew home to NY via Newark and decided to chance it with the random, Russian with the GIANT SUV in the underground parking lot, with tinted windows, instead of waiting for a yellow cab after landing at 11pm on a Wednesday. I was safely and cheaply transported to mid-town but spent the whole ride with my keys in my hand so they stuck out between my knuckles - like they taught us in self-defense class, in case there was hand-to-hand combat.

Miriam

Are you sure you guys aren't Canadian?

David

Sounds more exciting that Indiana Jones Part 4. But there was no monkey army. Either way, good times, funny post.

mpotter

something similar happened to me several years ago and i was with my friend.
we were both single young gals heading to the airport in NYC (um, dumb tourists). actually, my other friend called us a car service. i had no idea how any of this worked. so when a green (not grey... green/grey on the phone with a guy of limited english pretty much sounds the same to me) town car came, we just hopped in.
i thought nothing of it.
until the original car service dude called me on my cell and told me i just went in the wrong car.

omg i panicked. he basically hijacked this guy's fare, but truly- it seemed like he was about to hijack us.

worst ride to LGA ever. boy, was i ever glad to see that place!

Sara

One time in Memphis on Beale Street at about 1am on New Years Eve we took an unlicensed minivan up on his offer to drive us back to our hotel. I similarly thought I may die, similarly everything was fine. But man, that was one extremely shady / dilapidated Dodge Caravan.

Annie

Happy Anniversary tomorrow....mine too, it's #11. But we bring 2 pairs of shoes wherever we go !

Arnebya

Alive and with your kidneys. Win-win.

Stacy

I've never taken a "real" cab in Russia, only those guys. Never been afraid either, but then again, I was stupid enough to travel to Russia, by myself, when I was 25.

RG

I did this IN MALAYSIA when I was 21 and all by my self. And it was after dark. I cannot believe I lived to tell the tale, but turns out the dude who marched over, grabbed my bags from me, threw them in his unregistered car, and demanded I get in - that guy was a legit taxi driver. Who knew.

Susan:)

I want a life size cutout of Harry! How did you manage to get it?

Sounds like a fun adventure!

Christen

I'm pretty sure one of the keys to marital bliss is a capataible view on packing. Luckily my husband usually packs MORE shoes than I do on any given trip, thereby allowing me to pack eery cosmetic and hair product known to woman - guilt free!

Also, I've gone the sketchy-is-this-a-murder-van route once before and it was fine but also terrifying for about 20 minutes.

Whozat

5 am, outside my Houston apartment with a friend and a pile of luggage. Unlabeled "hoopty" pulls up and driver says, "You goin' to the airport?" and we hop in.

He flips on a meter, picks up the radio mic, and says, "Tequila? This is Ghost Rider, en route to Intercontinental."

Ummm, seems legit?

Margarida

This looks very good.

Keep this nice stuff up.

Jogo de moto

Olivia

That is totally something my husband would do.

Call Me Jo

Isn't it fantastic that so many of us would rather risk our lives than make a scene (said with dripping sarcasm). Been there, done that (or something similar). Glad you weren't chopped into bits. And happy anniversary!

Erin

The exact same thing happened to my husband and me. It was during a snowstorm, and our flight -- which I was *sure* was going to be cancelled, but they kept putting it off -- was transferred from JFK to LGA, and we were worried about making the flight with the long line for a cab, so my husband did just what Jason did, and the next thing I knew we were in the back seat of a minivan getting completely ripped off (in terms of the fare -- nothing was stolen :) ) by a guy who knew exactly how desperate people would be for a ride in a snowstorm.

But at least you expect some of that at the airport. We were much stupider once at Target in Brooklyn. Our Christmas tree was too heavy to get on and off the subway, so we tried to get a taxi. No luck. But a guy with a minivan was out there and offered us a ride for about what you'd pay for a cab. We kind of looked at each other and then shrugged. I pretty much trust my gut -- the gift of fear! -- and the driver seemed okay. Maybe taking cabs all the time makes you less nervous about getting in a car with a stranger. (!!) It was a nerve-wracking ride through some really sketchy parts of Brooklyn, but it was all on the up and up. Just a guy with a van trying to make a little extra cash at Christmas.

I wouldn't have done it if I weren't with my husband, of course. But isn't it nice to know that most people *aren't* criminals?

the muskrat

You and Harry really should've come out to karaoke.

Ladotyk

So glad everything turned out ok! My husband and I had a totally sketchy cab ride in L.A. where the driver was clearly off his meds. He kept peppering us with questions about the military and then swerved into a random person's driveway because he thought he saw his ex-girlfriend's car (like he had a bone to pick with her). We lied and had him drop us off in front of a neighbor's house so he wouldn't know where we lived.

Stacey

"HARRY POTTER ARE YOU OKAY?" might be my favorite thing ever!

Connie

I am incredibly sad that I did not get to meet you while you were in my glorious city! Just a little advice because apparently I want you to hate me... next time you come out of Penn Station, walk 2 blocks up to 34th Street and catch a cab there. You'll get one immediately because they are all headed toward Penn Station to get into the cab line anyway, so there are always TONS right there (by Macy's, H&M, Footlocker, etc.). See? If I had been right there at that moment I could have potentially saved your life. Sorry about that. Glad you made it to your 14th Anniversary! Happy day, you two!

Ariel

I once hitched a ride from the airport- I went to college in Greensboro and one break there were no good flights back, so I booked my flight to Durham and arranged for a roommate to pick me up (an hour drive or so). Unfortunately my connection was through O'Hare- land of the epic delay. My roommate was less thrilled about driving an hour to pick me up once my flight was scheduled to land at 1:00am. Then in the O'Hare gate I overheard a couple of people talking about driving to Greensboro. I sidled up to them and asked if they were going to be driving to Greensboro when we landed, one, the man, was. So I asked if I could catch a ride if I gave him gas money. It wasn't until I was getting into his car at the airport that I realized what a potentially stupid idea this was. I texted my best friend the license plate and make & model of his car in case I disappeared forever. I also had him drop me near my home instead of right in front of it. Thinking back on it I'm kind of sad that our society has come to a place where I ended up being skeeved out by the kindness of a stranger.

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