There are days that are so perfect, so full of happiness, so exhilarating and so soul-soaring that it pains me to be unable to gesticulate wildly, laugh loudly, and speak at double-tempo whilst describing them to you.
So, as you read this post, try to imagine my arms waving about and my volume gradually shifting from “inside voice” to “hyperactive puppy-like excitement”, okay? Because the second day I spent with Heidi (and, this time, her brilliant husband Ben) in New York was the best New York day I’ve ever had. And not only have I been to New York nine times in six years, but I’ve loved it since my very first visit.
In other words, it was a really good day.
Heidi (above), Ben, and I met one fine June morning at the Waterfront Bicycle Shop in West Village to hire bikes for a ride along the Hudson River.
Do you know what fills my heart with gladness and makes me laugh giddily?
Riding a bike.
Do you know what I don’t do enough of?
Riding a bike.
Do you know what I want to do more of?
Riding a bike.
Do you know why I want to do more riding of bikes?
Because it fills my heart with gladness and makes me laugh giddily.
…but I hadn’t ridden a bike in a year and trying to cycle straight whilst holding and tapping the screen of my camera phone proved trickier than I’d anticipated…
…and then I realised it wasn’t the camera that was tilting but me, and that if I wanted to remain in one piece and not crumpled in a heap of spinning metal on the ground, I should probably put my phone away and focus on the exhilaration of riding.
We rode all the way from 10th to 97th street and back again, and I felt I might explode with happiness over the sun, the water, the breeze, the zipping, the friendship, the glorious heavenliness of being in the moment, that moment, with Heidi and Ben.
After our ride we headed for the nearby Chelsea Market where, bagels and stir-fries and donuts yeah yeah wonderful wonderful aside, WE SAW ALEX MACK (capitals necessary). I mean, technically speaking we saw Larisa Oleynik*, but Heidi and I will forevemore speak of Chelsea Market as the place where we saw Alex Mack.
* I just realised this makes me one degree from Allison Janney and thereby the cast of The West Wing and I might hyperventilate a little bit right now oh heavens HOLD ME.
Oh, yeah, and after Chelsea Market came the filming of the video of me eating the bacon and egg Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts. Remember? The one that led to me being quoted by The New York Times?
Told you it was a good day. And this was only halfway through.
After lunch, we wandered around New York a little more before making our way to Stumptown Coffee and the Ace Hotel for rejuvenating caffeine, free wi-fi and, for Heidi and I, a much-needed hour of life-love-adventure-friendship-kindred-spirit-life-delights-in-life girltalk that I still, to this day, to this night, to tomorrow, think back and draw upon for strength and self-belief and courage and inspiration and joy.
Suddenly, sitting there talking in the Ace Hotel as Ben worked away on his laptop beside us, I froze-slash-clutched-Heidi-in-glee because right there in front of us, a mere few metres away, WE SAW PACEY WITTER. I mean, technically speaking we saw Joshua Jackson, but Heidi and I will forevemore speak of this day as the day we saw Alex Mack and Pacey Witter and our tween dreams came true.
(It’s also the day I realised I can be just as idiotic as the next person upon seeing a celebrity I adored as a kid. That’s slightly less awesome.)
And then: more walking! So much wonderful walking and talking and walking and laughter! It’s pretty much impossible to pass the Flatiron Building without taking a photo of its grandeur, so I did.
And then: I figured out that the reason I’ve never been able to find sunglasses that suit my face is because I’ve never before tried on sunglasses that cost $300.
After more walking and more talking and more walking and more talking, it was broken-heartedly time for us to part ways. First, though, we caught a ride across the Williamsburg bridge, so deliriously wonderfully tired from being on the move for nine hours straight that our legs were shaking and Heidi and I started having conversations comprised entirely of reading out words and phrases in the world around us. She’d recite some graffiti on a building, I’d reply with a Broadway advertisement on the side of a taxi, she’d rejoin with a train’s final destination, and all the time we knew that what we were really saying was “I love you. I’ll miss you. Thank you for this day in New York, and for being you.”