Today I am flying to La Guardia Airport and then driving to Long Island to visit with a new client. I’ll be helping them with marketing strategy until Wednesday afternoon. I am a little nervous about this trip. This is because of what happened to me the last time I had to visit Long Island.
First of all, let me say that everyone, and I mean everyone, talks about Long Island as if it were a town, or city, in and of itself. The dirty little secret that nobody ever tells you is that there are lots of towns in Long Island. Lots. So when you are driving in your rental car, and let’s say, hypothetically, you get lost, it is not helpful to go into a convenience store and say to the guy behind the counter, “I’m lost, could you please tell me how to get to 123 Nosenseofdirection Avenue?” Because this is what will happen:
“What town is it in?”
“It is in Long Island.”
“No, I mean what town in Long Island is it in?”
“You mean there are towns?”
“Lady, there has to be more to this address. You need a town.”
“Look, I’m from Virginia. I don’t know what town, I thought it was just Long Island.”
So, as you can see, they don’t make it easy to get around in Long Island. I did finally get to my destination but only because I had to call the client and put him on the phone with the guy behind the counter. I have no idea what they said, because the second thing about Long Island is that they are speaking a foreign language. They like you to think they are speaking English, but they are not. All I know is that the counter guy hung up, gave me a very pitiful look, and drew me a map.
I don’t know much more about Long Island because when I finally arrived at the client’s office, I was delighted to learn that my hotel was about one mile away. So that is all I did every day. Drive to the office. Drive to the hotel. Drive to the office.
After four days it was time for me to come home. This meant I was going to have to figure out how to get from Long Island back to La Guardia airport. My client (Larry the CEO) was very concerned. He wrote down multiple sets of directions and made me repeat them back to him. I assured him I was absolutely fine, and to not worry about me one minute. He made me promise I would call him from the airport just to let him know I’d arrived safely. I felt like I was talking to my mother.
Two hours later I called Larry.
“Hi Larry, it’s Kelly.”
“I’ve been worried about you, why didn’t you call sooner. Are you at the airport?”
“Uh, not exactly.”
“Where the hell are you?”
“Actually, I’m in Times Square.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
“No, Larry, I am not. I have no idea what happened. But I am in Times Square and you have to help me get to the airport.”
With the help of Larry, I managed to get myself to the airport and barely made my flight home. I have not been back to Long Island since then. I want everyone reading this to send me a little prayer at about 3:30 this afternoon, which is when I will be getting in my rental car to drive to Long Island. Again.