I have done a lot of different things in my life, lived a bunch of different places and traveled more than most people I know. I’ve been to most of the national parks in the US and several in Canada, . I’ve climbed and hiked in the Swiss Alps, Canadian Rockes and Ecuadorian Andes. Spent months and months on the road, alone, traveling the US and the Southwest on a handful of different occasions, lived in Europe, learned to speak three languages PLUS medicalese. I’ve been to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, and of course, a handful of european cities like Paris, Berlin (east and west), Munich, Zurich, Amsterdam, Viena and Venice. But there is one conspicuous activity I’ve never done until today…traveled to New York City.
Now you have to understand, I really dislike cities, in fact, I hate them. At some young age when I was very impressionable, I was certain that sometime in my lifetime the Russians would drop a nuclear bomb on either NYC or DC. I studied maps to figure out how far away from each of these cities I would need to live to be safe. I feel claustrophobic in most cities and in college, I had a panic attack while on a subway in Philadelphia. It was about six or seven years before I set foot in another major city, and that was simply a necesary stop to get to the volcanoes of Mexico (Mexico City). I was ecstatic that I had summitted the 3rd highest peak in North America, but even more surprised that I survived the traveles in and out of Mexico City. Since the Mexico City success, I’ve been slightly less fearful, and when I decided to attend medical school in Pittsburgh, I wasn’t sure that I would survive the daily travels into the University neighborhood. After a year of commuting from a nice quiet suburb, I eventually moved closer to the university and quite enjoyed my new, urban surroundings. Of course, medical school didn’t leave much time for playing, so I was just as well off in the city rather than in the mountains somewhere. Now take that baseline level of agoraphobia and add to that an event like 911. Now I was certain that I’d never set foot in New York, and I was proud of the fact that I was still a Big Apple Vir gin.
But something changed. THere are inexplicable events in life that are beyond comprehension. Examples include my enjoyment, much to my chagrin and embarrasment, of the following items: Nasty Boys by Janet Jackson, NASCAR racing and electronica. I was losing my purity and I didn’t know why. It worried me. AT some point in the past year, the idea of going to New York actually sounded exciting. Imagine…me in New York City! I could hardly picture it. I just needed one thing to get me there…the right incentive. I didn’t know what it would be, but it was going to have to be big. After all, I’ve got over three decades of megatropolophobia built up inside.
Last night, I went to bed early, set my alarm for 8 AM and printed out directions to 420 E. 47th Street. My destination: “The Supper Club”…A Manhattan Night Club that served as the location for auditions for the Australia Zoo…a chance to appear on the Crocodile Hunter with Steve Irwin! The Croc Hunter himself was going to be there and I decided that this was the time…it was now or never for me and manhattan.
To be continued…