There are certain places that New Yorkers are absolutely not allowed to go lest someone accidentally mistake us for Nebraskans.
1. Times Square. You are only permitted to go there if you have a meeting at MTV, or if you’re taking out-of-towners to a show–which must be the original cast, ideally still in previews. In other words, not Phantom. In fact, even calling it Phantom is a little uncomfortable.
2. The Olive Garden. Unless you’re drunk, it’s a dare, and there is money on the line.
3. A taping of Regis and Kelly. You are able to say you saw Kelly at the playground. Or at the salon. Or at the gym. That’s as far as contact with them can go. No eye contact either, especially not with Regis.
4. The Today Show Plaza. The people waving signs? Yelling for Al? Proposing on TV? It’s all just too much perkiness. Not to mention all the individuals wearing turquoise. In fact, it’s been whispered that you have to hand over your 212 area code if ever you find yourself within one block of 30 Rock between 7 and 10 in the morning. The Today show, in other words, is the ultimate New Yorker no-no.
So guess where Nate and Thalia and I went yesterday!
Because we thought hey, we’re already up at 6:30 am with the baby anyway. So what’s the difference if we’re home or at this Justin Roberts kids’ concert were invited to, right? Thalia will love it and we’ll have her home in time for her morning nap.
I’ll tell you the difference – making bottles at 7:30 am is not the same as making conversation with well-groomed NYC mommies and their awesome shoes and their kids in their own awesome shoes at 7:30 am. That’s for sure.
Of course not all the mommies we met were as awesome as their shoes and their kids’ shoes. Okay, all except one.
Enter (cue the scary music) Me Me Me Mommy.
Expensive skirt. Expensive pedicure. Expensive nose. And the tightly-held belief that the she is the axis upon which this fair planet spins.
There were about thirty of us, plus kids, spread out picnic style on the cordonned-off red carpet in front of the stage. There’s plenty of room, certainly enough for the kids to crawl around and gnaw on each other’s free Putamayo CDs. And despite the early-morning fatigue that’s hanging over the lot of us, the vibe is pleasant and extremely friendly.
Suddenly the fashionably late Me Me Me Mommy stomps through the seated crowd like Godzilla and stakes out a small spot for herself. And her kid. And her sister. And her sister’s kid. Of course this small spot just so happens to be right in front of me.
Actually, right in front of me doesn’t quite describe it. The spot was me.
“Oh you don’t mind do you,” she says without actually waiting for an answer. Then she plops her bag down practically in my lap and sits her kid on my foot. She looks down, sees him sitting on my foot, smiles at me. And then she plants her own ass down, right against my other foot. And despite the disingenuous smiles that she flashed me every few seconds, she made it perfectly clear that she was not going to budge.
Let’s not forget now that Me Me Me Mom’s sister is also there, dragging her own preschooler behind her.
Me Me Me Mom waves her over, and then points to a convenient three inches of available space. And by available, I mean the space right in between Nate and I.
Oh yes. She broke up my family.
Nate and I looked disbelievingly at each other, then did the only thing we could do: we moved our stuff over and slid back a few feet.
It became abundantly clear that it was not a seat near the stage that Me Me Me Mom and her sister were looking for; it was a seat near the cameras. Every time those things were pointed her way, she forced her kid up to standing and told him to dance. You would have thought she was auctioning him off, the way she was turning him to face forward and wiggling his limp little body around. But at least it got him off my foot.
Of course Me Me Me Mom’s behavior violated yet another New Yorker rule: Pretend you don’t care about the cameras. Also: Stay the hell out of people’s personal space because you never know who’s carrying a knife.
But since Nate and I are too non-confrontational to actually bring the situation to some sort of satisfying resolution, we handled it the way adults do: We made passive-aggressive jokes about them, loud enough to hope they’d hear us.
Then we enjoyed the song Justin Roberts played.
It was a good song.
Sometimes in life–not always, but sometimes–the good guys come out ahead. Guess who ended up on camera without any position-jostling, foot-sitting, cameraman-flirting, or family-dividing:
And wait! I was there too!
Also there’s a nice view of Me Me Me Mom’s sister’s enormous back pressed against my nose.
I would say that when it came down to it, it was a very New York day after all.