I do love diners, and I wish I could remember the name of the first NYC diner I enjoyed. I would tell you where to find it so you could go and get the same mushroom swiss-cheeseburger I had. It was fantastic!
Buffeted by a meal and my phone call home out of the way, my attitude was much improved and I was ready for action. I followed Isabella back to FIT, where we went to the bookstore to return her recently purchased book. No joy. To her dismay, the school had just instituted a policy requiring check writers to wait until their check had cleared before getting cash back on a return. She could have store credit, but that wasn’t going to do her much good.
She was obviously upset, but good-natured about it. In fact, Isabella was pretty good-natured about everything. She was worried about getting into the classes she needed, though, and that was where I came in. “All you have to do is get in line. I’ll go get my other class, then I’ll come switch you out of line,” she promised, forking over a school I.D. card with a picture that could not have looked less like me if it were a different race. “If you get to the front of the line, register me. Use my I.D.”
“They’ll never ask.”
“Okay… But what about you? What are you going to use for I.D.?”
She flashed a grin and another card. “I told them I lost it and got a dup. I’ve got two drivers licenses, too. Sometimes you need an extra.”
Let’s face it, I had nothing better to do, and she had gone far out of her way and eaten into her schedule in order to pick me up. I agreed. I ended up standing in two different lines for Isabella, actually registering her for one class, sweating out the weary woman who might have asked for the student I.D. before getting kicked out of the building by an angry looking professor who could have been Tim Gunn’s older, bearded brother.
I had been loitering in a hallway, waiting on Isabella to finish a placement counseling session, unsure of what to do next when this man appeared. In what would become a running meme throughout the trip, he fixed me with a glower so fierce I looked around behind me to see who could possibly be causing enough trouble to merit it. No one was behind me. No one was beside me. It registered: He was looking at and walking toward me. Me!
“What are you doing in here?” He asked.
“I–uh–registration,” I tried.
“For what classes?”
I drew a blank, then lied, “I just got finished and I’m waiting for my friend.”
“If you aren’t in line to register, get out. Get! Out!”
Apparently that was the rule. I scurried like a rat off a sinking ship–by the way, have you ever wondered about that saying? I mean, where are the rats going to go? It’s not like they have little rodent life boats.
Anyway, I got myself back out onto the sidewalk pronto, hoping Isabella would know where to look for me. I hung around outside the main doors, watching people come and go, and then I remembered I had given my luggage to a stranger. The magical burger had made me forget.
It was another half hour before Isabella reappeared, apologizing. The sun was going down by that time, and I wanted to get to my hotel. This meant getting my luggage back, and that turned out to be an ordeal. Isabella’s friend was gone out to dinner, and his roommates weren’t home. We waited, then decided to go check into the hotel and come back.
This was a wise move on our part, since it would be close to midnight before Isabella’s friend returned our phone calls, her voice messages increasingly pleading as my panic rose that he had just stolen all of my things. I did finally get my things, and as we were walking away from the school, Isabella cried, “I forgot my apartment appointments!”
I didn’t understand the issue. When I had gone apartment hunting, I had just gone to the apartment complexes, looked around, and decided on one. Isabella shook her head. No, she explained, in The City you hired realtors to help you find a place. They set appointments for you, and if you missed an appointment, it could mean missing out on a place to live entirely. Now it was too late to even call and apologize. She’d have to try again the next day.
I was exhausted, and suggested we just go back to the hotel and go to bed. Thankfully, she agreed.