So it was that time of year again -- the tedious, frustrating hiatus between the “almost” end of a winter season and the much anticipated beginning of a brave new Spring. I was feeling suffocated, uninspired, and thirsting for something juicy on my plate; both literally and metaphorically. All recent plans for weekend trips to uncharted domestic cities were canceled due to lack of efficient planning and/or enthusiastic travel mates (or fate?). I was either suffering a delayed quarter life crisis or cabin fever in the world’s greatest city. Desperately searching for boldness, I found myself craving something wildly profound with a splash of carnal re-awakening.
Trapped in my own Dorothy-style tornado, with the usual demands, responsibilities and pressures frenzying around me, I sat in front of my computer every day, 9 AM to 5 PM, pondering whether or not to claw my eyes out. Then, as I browsed travel packages in surrounding lands with sunny skies, I received via email a seemingly modest invitation for the weekend. The invitation included two tickets to a surprise show and dinner at a restaurant that was to be determined. These upcoming events were to take place in none other than the very place I had been trying to escape – Manhattan.
Following stringent but simple wardrobe instructions for my mystery date night, I stepped out of my apartment building feeling fabulous in a classic little black dress accessorized with turquoise to pay homage to the exotic locales I longed for. My attire was met with satisfaction and approval and before long, as my eyes widened with excitement, we pulled up to the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, showcasing Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s nationally acclaimed musical, "The Book of Mormon."
I felt like a princess, as the ushers showed us into the theater and for the moment all of my avid, week-long attempts at purchasing plane tickets were forgotten. Here we were on Broadway and I knew we would surely be transported to whichever magical lands the characters and its creators had in store for us. Sitting in our seats in the same zip code I had been trying to escape, knowing a full orchestra was beneath us, I was elated and ready for the ride. As the actors on stage brought us from upstate New York, to Salt Lake City, to Orlando, to Uganda and back, we (along with the rest of the audience) were satiated with our evening’s dose of laughter, vulgarity, hypocrisy, and controversy.
Invigorated over a performance worthy of a standing ovation, I was ready to whet my appetite with appetizers and conversation. The next surprise destination had me drooling with anticipation. Upon our arrival at the entrance, I looked above us and all my pleasure receptors were in sync. We had arrived at a dim sum and sushi palace, one by the name of Ruby Foo’s on Broadway in the Theatre District. Ecstatic and anxious to explore their Pan-Asian menu, I couldn’t wait to dive in to the food and drink portion of our night.
With eyes that tried to keep up with our appetites, we canvassed the menus and stumbled over ourselves ordering Szechuan pork dumplings in peanut sauce, tamarind glazed spare ribs, a Sushi & Maki assortment platter among other items, and soaking our palates in a bottle of apple sake. While eagerly awaiting our dishes to arrive, we discussed the horrors of the real world, as presented in Stone and Parker’s musical, the hypocrisy of religion and the importance of faith in God, love, friendship, and humanity. As our mini-debates took us off onto different tangents, our food began to arrive. Plate by plate, the servers placed steaming, mouth-watering creations before us.
Foregoing my silverware and ready to dive into the meaty pile of spare ribs with my bare hands, I suddenly realized what I was staring at in front of me: this was something juicy, incredibly juicy, on my plate. And here towards the latter part of our night together I realized I had found it all, everything that I was looking for – a plateful of boldness, an unexpected, mysterious adventure into the unknown and a dose of profanity for the night was enough to nudge a re-awakening from my winter blues. The rest of our meal was more than delightful, as it always is when you are indulging with an empty stomach, a lighter heart, and clearer soul. By the time our peach upside down cake with blueberry jam and sweet corn ice cream arrived, I had found my faith and reveled in my enlightenment.
With weather forecasts of temperatures rising into the high fifties for the coming week, I suppose we (fellow New Yorkers and other residents of this Northeast tri-state area) made it through the storm; both literally and metaphorically. Maybe my personal expectations and coveted escapes into international waters in times of quiet, internal anguish over my present circumstances can be a little on the greedy side sometimes, but what can I say? After all, we’re all products of our environment, are we not? With my prognosis of delayed quarter life crisis and metropolitans’ cabin fever dismissed, I could envision the pastel colored trench coats, feel the metal-studded neon pumps, smell the leathers of blush patent satchels and of course, the dawning of a new season. I just can’t wait for spring in the city.