The last column I wrote in this space had to do with planning for an upcoming trip to New York.
And the good news is I survived.
Despite 18-hour days that consisted of zigzagging all over Manhattan from restaurant to restaurant and attraction to attraction – and a late-night decision to take the subway home from a Greenwich Village comedy show at 2:30 a.m. – we not only survived our trip to The Big Apple, but thrived in the frigid spring temperatures.
And without a doubt New York is the only destination I’ve ever traveled to that consistently lived up to the hype inside of my own head for the duration of my stay.
From getting close enough to a Jackson Pollock painting to see the contrasting depths of the paint to watching Bruce Springsteen walk out of a Broadway theater and get into a waiting Suburban – climbing in the passenger seat as he waved to the throngs of fans that had gathered to greet him on his home turf – it was a trip chocked full of memories and once-in-a-lifetime firsts that I can only hope will be repeated more than once during the rest of my days on this earth.
But it was also full a lot of learning experiences that they don’t tell you about on television.
For example, nobody warned me that the 9/11 museum would be one of the heaviest experiences of my life, and going through it without a pack of tissues is probably not a good idea – no matter how prepared you think you are.
While the footprint water features outside are enough to make your heart skip a beat, actually venturing underground and into old sublevels of the original World Trade Center as you look at pieces of the original building and artifacts from those who perished that day will absolutely move to you to tears.
Maybe it’s because I was technically an adult when it happened and I remember vividly watching those towers fall down, and remember the fear of not knowing what was going to happen next, but the gravity of that experience cannot be accurately stated in advance if you want to it justice.
Seeing a Virgil quote from the Aeneid along a wall that reaches out and grabs you is one thing, but then learning that wall separates the museum from the unidentified remains of those who were killed that fateful morning? It’s enough to choke you up.
Also, nobody told me that the food in New York would surpass any experience that I’ve ever had in a restaurant (and I’m married to a foodie). Getting to visit where Harry met Sally was reason enough for us to go to Katz’s Delicatessen, but getting to eat a Pastrami Rueben that could qualify as the best meal that I’ve ever consumed was beyond amazing.
And that’s not hyperbole. I had a friend put in a special order with me before I left, and having just spoken to him after eating the same thing I had, he agreed wholeheartedly and wanted to talk about planning a trip to have one in person – the strongest possible endorsement.
It would take too long to detail everything that Amber and I were able to cram into this trip, but it did involve seeing Denzel Washington on Broadway from seven rows back, watching comedy shows until the early morning on one of the most famous comedy stages in the world, and eating at restaurant after restaurant that would have lines around the block if they were in California – eating things like the best rated pizza in America in Brooklyn, and bacon-wrapped, chicken-fried meatloaf in Hell’s Kitchen.
A week was hardly enough time.
While I’m long past the age when I could just move to New York to experience the sensory overload from a first-person perspective, I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll be returning before too long to tackle a bunch of the things we didn’t have time for.
I can hardly wait.
Don’t believe everything
you read on Facebook
Do you ever feel like you have too good of a grip on reality?
That maybe you just need to shake things up a little bit to keep things interesting?
If so, just take a few minutes out of your day and venture into any of the local Manteca “Neighborhood Watch” type Facebook groups and spend some time scrolling through the comments.
If you don’t immediately find somebody intentionally trolling or cyber-bullying somebody that they don’t agree with, just wait a few minutes – it’ll be coming shortly. And if you don’t have time for that, just find something that seems like a local issue and read those comments instead.
What you’ll more than likely end up finding are a bunch of people who think that the Manteca City Council can do absolutely no good, that the Manteca Police are ineffective and part of a conspiracy to drive up crime throughout the city, and that a solid grasp on municipal governance and basic legal frameworks are completely devoid from any and all of the discussions that are taking place.
It’s like the Trump-brand of fact-free populism has hit Manteca, and now the same snap judgements are being levied without any of the necessary context to truly understand the problem that is being discussed.
Just last week I tried explaining to somebody who was operating under the assumption that Manteca District Ambulance was funded by local taxpayers the same way police and fire are that things don’t operate that way. It wasn’t fruitful, and it seemed to be representative of every discussion I’ve ever had in one of those groups – where somebody believes something incorrectly, and even when they’re calmly presented with evidence to the contrary, they fight it or dip into the well of logical fallacies to try and make their misguided point.
And with the election coming up, things are only going to get worse.
At least they’ll make things interesting.
Infuriating and interesting are the same thing, right?
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.