Things were already getting weird on 42nd St., even before we raced onto the sidewalk with Spam a’ jangling. Tourists were flooding away from the ships they’d been touring. They slowed our progress considerably. Tourists are never fast. They never get out of the way. They slam into everyone because they aren’t looking where they are going. Then, they spend the rest of their lives talking about the rude New Yorkers who slammed into them, when it was actually other tourists.
These tourists were miffed that they’d been turned away from the ships. They were all talking about the rude New Yorkers (US Navy Officials) who’d told them to go back to their hotels. They were bitching about having to walk. “We’ve already walked THREE BLOCKS!!!,” wailed a teen aged girl, “Get a taxi, Daddy. Get one NOW.”
But, there were no taxis. There were no buses. There was no traffic at all on 42nd St., except for the human traffic, which had spilled from the sidewalks into the street. The absence of vehicles was the weirdest thing of all.
Getting across the street to the theatre was like swimming across a river. We wove our way through the crowd with our shopping carts, taking care to say, “Pardon us, ‘scuse us.” Well, three of us used those phrases. Moira screamed, “Move, you idiots, MOVE!” (OK, so sometimes New Yorkers ARE rude.) Even with Moira offending tourists left and right, it was rough going. We were actually swept east with the crowd for a bit and were forced to swim our way back west.
We finally reached the theatre door. The Pop Rock Girl Sailor stood under the marquee, looking confused. “Wow. This is a big crowd. They are all leaving the ships. I don’t understand that. There are demonstrations and stuff all day. Hey, you guys are going in here, right? Is there a bathroom I could u…”
“Get in the door. Get in NOW,” I hissed, “Shut up and get in.”
“Rude much?,” she exclaimed, stung.
“Oh, God, get in!,” Jill shrieked.
The four of us wrestled the doors open and herded the sailoress through with our carts just as tourists started to rush us. We let go of the carts as a group, spun around, and grabbed the metal crash bars to pull the doors shut. Jill locked the locks, and we released the bars as she hit the “Down” button on the metal gate control. As fast as we’d been, some of the tourists had nearly made it in with us. Jill had to hit the “Up” button for a second so one of them could pull a foot out from under the gate.
“What the hell was all of that?” The sailor girl’s natty little hat was askew.
“You never, ever mention the possibility of a bathroom in the middle of a crowd of tourists in New York, ” I explained. “There are no public bathrooms. You have to live here to be able to pee.”
We rolled our carts backstage to discover eerie quiet…except for Bethel barking her head off. She hated loud cart noises. The point is that no new humans were there. Mike was the only cast member who’d made it to the matinee.
“Lexington! Thank God, Manuel did bring you!” At least a new feline had made it. Jill snatched him off the sofa and turned to us with tears in her eyes.
“I hate to pee and run,” the sailor said, “but I really need to pee and run, if you don’t mind.”
“You might want to wait a few minutes,” said Mike, without taking his eyes from the TV. “The Anderson Cooper show is on.”
Anderson Cooper was, indeed, on the screen. Famous for his honest reporting, his boyish good looks, and his flaming red hair, a battered Anderson Cooper sat in a wheel chair with all of his limbs in casts. And his hair had gone completely gray.