It took me awhile to get back to posting about Alex's Birthday weekend in NYC......
Sunday September 29--After having breakfast at the Buccaneer Diner in Queens, Alex and I walked back to the bus stop by our hotel to get a bus to the subway station so that we could head into the city. Our plan was to just head to Central Park, go for a run and then pick up some food and have a picnic in the park....just the two of us!! However, an odd thing happened to us on the way to the park----
We sort of-- picked up a guy (Mike from Orlando)......So, HOW do I explain Mike?? As we were waiting on the bus, I asked the guy standing beside us if he knew if the path across the street from our hotel went to the airport, and he replied that he didn't know because he wasn't from around the area. THEN....the guy started talking and asking us questions--"How long are you here for? When did you get in? Have you been into the city before?" and then he started telling us about himself. He told us that he works for one of the airlines in Orlando and that he came up for a few days to see some friends and that he had attended a birthday party in Brooklyn the night before. He said that the girl he was hanging out with just sort of disappeared on him and that he was going into the city to meet up with his friends again. When he asked what we were going to be doing, we told him our plan for Central Park and that we were celebrating Alex's Birthday. Just a brief conversation--we didn't even exchange names at this point, and then the bus arrived. Alex and I sat together and the guy sat a few seats away.
There was a couple on the train who were dressed very oddly (guy wearing a kilt!) and they said they were going to a Medieval Festival uptown and that we should come! Alex's eyes lit up and we decided that maybe we would try to get there after Central Park!
Back to our new friend----
When we arrived at the subway station....the guy said to us, "If it's okay, I think I'll just hang out with you guys for now?!" So I ASSUMED that he meant he would hang out with us on the subway. When we got off the train at 59th St, we told him we were heading up to the park and he looked at us and said, "Okay!" He then proceeded to follow us?!! Okay, a little odd, but maybe he just thought we knew our way around better than he did? I inquired about his friends and about when and where he was meeting up with them and he replied that he wasn't really sure...they hadn't made definite plans for that and that he was waiting to hear from them. Hmmmm......He then told us that he only had $12 to last him until the following evening, because he had paid $30 for a weekend Metro pass, lost it at the party and had to purchase another one. After a bit of conversation, I was back and forth between thinking that this was a really nice guy.....OR that he was a really good con artist and he was hoping he had found a couple of stupid ladies to scam!!
It was a little odd trying to catch up with Alex on things that were going on at school, etc.... and having this guy hanging on to every word we were saying! Occasionally he would say something....ask a question, etc.... but he just kept hanging with us! He got a couple of phone calls and seemed to be chatting with friends from the party the night before, and yet when he hung up, he said nothing about leaving to join them! We then got to Central Park and he said he was STARVING and asked if we were going to eat. We told him not just yet and he kept talking about the fact that he had VERY limited funds! Somehow I felt the need to let him know that I TOO had pretty limited funds since my husband and I were BOTH out of work! He finally bought a hot dog on the street, but he kept saying that he was still hungry. By this time....this nameless guy had been hanging out with us for several hours!!?? Alex finally said, "BTW...what's your name?" His name was Mike. We have now begun referring to him as, "Random hungry guy Mike".......
After hanging out at the park for awhile, we decided that it was too late to go to the Medieval Festival and we decided to just do a little shopping at the Manhattan Mall, since I had told Alex that I would get her a dress for the gala if we could find an inexpensive one that she liked. I also thought that MAYBE the idea of shopping for dresses would get rid of our friend Mike...WRONG!! I told him jokingly that we were heading to the mall to shop for ladies apparel and that he might not want to tag along....."Um.....that's okay....I don't mind??!!" Alex and I had not spoken much about how odd the "Random guy Mike" thing was, but when we went to the restroom, Alex asked what I thought. I told her that I had really mixed feelings....that I felt BAD for being suspicious of him, and yet...he was acting really strange at times. Alex said that she was a little annoyed that he was horning in on our time together, even after we mentioned that we had planned to just hang out together, run, picnic, shop, etc, and that she thought he should have definitely hit the road when we started shopping!
It was REALLY getting more disconcerting having Mike with us....I asked him about his friends and he said that since it was so late and they were all pretty much out of cash....they had decided to forgo getting together. SOOOOO.....did this mean that he would be with us for the REST OF THE DAY?? I mean, he was very polite, seemed interested in everything we said....mentioned that it was so nice how mother and daughter got along so well and loved spending time together. He told us that his mom had passed away when he was a kid....AND YET....I kept getting this weird vibe....? Did I mention that he just KEPT talking about how his friend's phone had been snatched the night before? I mean, he must have mentioned it about a hundred times! He also asked a couple of times if I would like for him to take a picture of Alex and I....with my phone?!!!
We found a great dress for Alex and then headed out to just walk around some more. We ran into a street festival that was all about France and it looked like it would make up for not having made it to the Medieval Fair! French people, French food and assorted other French things everywhere! Have I mentioned that Alex would LOVE to visit France? Of course, once again....all we heard was how hungry Mike was and how he only had $10 left now. I decided that I would purchase THREE french pastries and give one to Mike so he wouldn't STARVE to death?!! Once again, I was flip-flopping between feeling a bit annoyed at spending my money (limited$$) on a stranger who had planned this trip to the city to party with friends, knowing that he was short of cash, and feeling super selfish for being annoyed?!!!
Oh well, after hanging out at this festival for awhile, we decided to just head back to our hotel, and GUESS who followed? Yep, RANDOM HUNGRY GUY MIKE!! All the way back to the hotel, he kept asking if we were going to eat when we got back to the Marriott and weren't we going to have a cake for Alex or anything? Okay--SUPER ANNOYED now! I could NOT afford to buy dinner for Mike at our hotel! Alex and I had really been eating very sparingly as it was and had planned to get something light and a piece of cake to share. I started getting my room key out and finally Mike said, "Well...I guess I'll go ask if there is someplace around here to eat cheap." Alex and I took advantage of this and sort of ducked into the hotel restaurant! As we were waiting for our food....MIKE came into the restaurant.....sat at the bar for a bit and then took a big container of food out with him....SOOOO.....at least I could stop feeling bad about the guy going hungry now!!
Alex and I had our dinner and then ordered a slice of chocolate cake to take back to our room! We also stopped at the little store in the hotel and purchased 2 tiny containers of ice cream. We had a lot of fun just sitting in our room, eating, watching TV (We watched Hostage and I was so excited to see James Naughton--a big supporter of Camp and a great actor on the show!), and doing a bit of laughing about our strange day with, "Random hungry guy Mike!!!"........
As I write this, I think of other weird things about Mike....like the fact that he kept discouraging us when we talked about running, as well as going to the Medieval Festival.....WTH?? Anyway, like I said....we still managed to have fun!!
Tomorrow I will finally get around to writing about---Monday evening at Jazz at Lincoln Center!!