Thursday, June 12, 2008

Me N The City: Part 7 – Oh Louis Wherefor Art Thou?

We stood in the rain weighing our options. So much for trying to look cute or trendy. Shortly we would just look soggy. We knew we’d have to go one block over to Park to get anywhere. With the theme music for Mission Impossible running in our heads we darted down the sidewalk from doorway awning to doorway awning, each time getting a little closer to Park, but also a little more drenched – at this point it was pouring! Standing under the last awning before the corner of Park we realized that at least one of us would have to get not just damp, but downright soaked if we were going to get a cab (due to someone having to stand on the corner of Park to hail one).

I took a look at Sarah and realized that she was in much better shape than I was – she had on designer denim slacks, her hair was perfectly coiffed (or at least it was when we left) and her makeup was still intact. I On the other hand had taken on the SoHo vibe of “I am so trendy I don’t even have to try” with indigo capri jeans, a tunic sundress and my hair in a little messy pony. The one to run the gauntlet was clear – I had a lot less to lose considering I already looked pretty “rumpled”. I told Sarah to stay put under the awning and made a dash for the corner. There I encountered a nice young Arabic man selling pretzels and hot dogs from a stand. His stand was covered by a lovely red and yellow umbrella! I jumped under and announced to him – “I’m just going to share your umbrella for a minute while I find a cab, OK?” Luckily he was not only sweet but he was good natured, and he looked up from reading his paper and said “sure”. Then he offered (jokingly) to let me take “his” BMW 7-series parked right on the corner if I’d bring it back when we were done shopping. If only.

Let me cut this down considerably – after 20 minutes of either hunting for an available cab, or seeing someone just half a block up take the one I was gunning for, we FINALLY got a cab to stop. This was after watching some woman order a pretzel only to see her turn her back on the nice cart guy to take a cell phone call causing him to have to stand out in the rain (only part of the cart was covered) and hold her pretzel waiting for her to turn around for about 3 minutes. Sometimes people are losers. But I digress… We hopped in the cab and told the cabbie “350 Park please”. As we pulled away from the curb Mother Nature thought it would be funny to stop the rain. Nice joke. But just content to be warm and dry (ish) we zipped down Park until we got to our stop, hopped out, paid the cabbie and started looking around slightly bewildered. As the cab pulled away we realized once again fate was mocking us. Either LV had once been at 350 Park and was no longer, or once again we had hit an office location of the fashion giant. There was no retail Louis to be found anywhere around. As we stood next to the giant skyscraper and I thought of about a million ways to apologize to my friend for this wild goose chase, Mother Nature piped up again and the skies opened. Once again it began to pour. I think we would have laughed had it not just been so soul-crushingly ridiculous.

Sarah remembered spotting a drug store two blocks back as we whizzed by in the cab. Our plan was to try and run under building overhangs as much as possible, head to the drugstore and pray they carried umbrellas. Enough of this – we were giving in to nature. Run we did as fast as our cute but comfy shoes could carry us in the rain. We arrived at the Duane Reade drug store looking like half drowned Chihuahuas. After Sarah grabbed a bag of much needed gummi bears, we spotted the umbrellas. Just to defy Mother Nature I grabbed a bright yellow one. If she wouldn’t give me any sun, I’d create my own. Sarah rang up her purchases and happily munched gummi bears while I got ready to pay for mine. Without any exaggeration, no sooner had I swiped my credit card through the machine then it stopped raining and the sun instantly came out smiling. It didn’t rain one drop the rest of the day. Sarah and I started to wonder if we were in some sort of twisted alternate universe.

We stepped out into the new, damp sunshine and tried to decide what our next step was. It was now 1:00, we hadn’t eaten lunch, we hadn’t found Louis and our day was slipping away like rainwater along the curb. I pulled out my web phone one last time, and in a last desperate effort typed in "Louis Vuitton Retail Store, NYC." Bingo. A direct hit. 1 E 57th Street. But we had no idea where that was. No worries – I switched to navigation mode, fired up the GPS and found out it was less than a mile away. Did we dare try it? We had come this far… hesitantly we decided we’d give it one last shot – but this was it. If Louis wasn’t home at 1 E 57th, we were moving on…

…to be continued.

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