Thursday, July 29, 2010

Streets of Philadelphia

I recently ventured into Philadelphia to interview director/writer Todd Solondz for an upcoming piece in ICON. This was a big deal for me, but not for the reasons you think. Finally, I put on my big boy pants and drove into Philly.

This is kind of a big deal for me. I drive, but I don't derive any pleasure from it, never did. When everyone was thrilled to get their driver's license during junior year of high school, I did anything I could to delay it. Even now, driving to new places fills me with a bit of apprehension. I keep envisioning my car breaking down on some foresaken, apocolyptic neighborhood, a gang of street tough judging me as easy prey, and then me running for my life like I'm in "The Warriors"

Anyway, the drive into the city worried me a bit, but it turned out OK. I got to the hotel just fine and the interview with Solondz, a nice guy with loads to say, was excellent. (I wish my introduction to the publicist didn't feature me dropping my cell phone and tape recorder like Kramer, but you can't have everything.)

The way back, however, was an adventure. I got twisted up leaving the hotel parking lot, and I made a few turns until I found the street I was looking for. I went down what was a one-way street the width of an alley, eager to get back on track...when I saw a car parked right by the intersection. I honked, waited, and cursed at the absent driver.

Not knowing when the douche who left the car was coming back, I proceeded to back out of the street--a K-turn was impossible--and into oncoming, rush hour traffic. It was a dicey situation, but there was nothing else I could do. Luckily, I nailed the maneuver, and proceeded to find Route 95--45 minutes later.

Still, I'm glad I did it. There are certain aggravations you have to handle, and driving into cities is one of them, especially if you want to be considered an adult. I'll get there someday.

P.S.--Philly, for the record, has terrible street signs. I think they're printed in the same font as the ingredients' lettering on aspirin bottles.

P.S., Part II: I thought for about five seconds of taking a train, but it would have taken literally 3 hours to go from New Brunswick to New York to Philadelphia. I could walk to New Brunswick to Philadelphia in three hours.

P.S., Part III: That's a photo of Mike Schmidt, the Hall of Fame third baseman with the Philadelphia Phillies. Don't ask me where this is from. Maybe he's doing a sequel to "Sideways."

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