Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Tale of Two Cities

Chicago was recently ranked the most stressful city in America by a Forbes poll with dubious methodology. In second place came New York City. Hmm.

Never have I been more stressed than after spending four days in New York last week with my sister Claire and her business partner, Jennifer. Together they own a shop, the Peacock Boutique, and on this annual spring buying trip we were scouring Garment District showrooms for Derby dresses with fluttery ruffles and cashmere sweaters whose sleeves did not give one’s arms a sausage-like appearance. (Question: Will boyfriend jeans like the ones Rachel Bilson wears here take off in Louisville? Let's hope so, since we ordered a LOT of them.)

While debating the merits of so many thousands of articles of clothing, we became warped to the point of repeatedly reassuring ourselves that $800 is really quite a reasonable price for any quality sweatshirt. I exaggerate, but still.

The U.N. General Assembly was in town, meaning that the routes to almost everywhere were barricaded in deference to the security of some president or other. One night at our hotel, the Women’s National Republican Club (don’t ask), the Prime Minister of the Netherlands was giving a speech, and I found myself in a very full elevator. The following conversation occurred:

Hotel chef (boarding elevator): “I can’t believe you’re wearing that shirt in here.”
Me (glancing down at “Obama Says Knock You Out” T): “I’m just going to get ice.”
Chef: “I’d watch it if I were you.”
Republican in navy skirt suit: “Oh, it’s fine. I think it’s cheeky.”
Me: “I’m from Chicago. You know, Obama mania? I’m not a Republican, I’m just staying here.”
Chef and other assorted Republicans: Silence/glares.

Anyway, if I believed in Botox I'd need a lot of it to repair the effects of September 2008. Not only did I turn 30, but after watching so much news about the economic crisis and book-banning VP hopefuls, I keep catching myself frowning in my sleep. But in an effort to think positive, here are two great things about NYC:

1. Many fast-casual dining options include calorie counts on their menus, making it ever so convenient to forgo corn salsa in favor of tomato (a 70-calorie savings).
2. All cabs are now equipped with do-it-yourself credit card machines, eliminating the Chicago ritual of being verbally abused for 15 minutes each time one presents a Visa card to a driver.


Angy said...

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Colleen Snell said...

That credit card thing is genius! Thanks for sharing - I'll be in NY tomorrow.