Well. I’m glad I did it, but holy crap that was miserable…and I’ve got the cold to prove it.
First and foremost, gold stars and David Lee Roth kicks for my team. I can’t decide if my respect for them has increased because they made it out in such shitty conditions, or if it’s dropped to nil for not knowing well enough to come in out of the rain. Seriously though, big wet (soaked to the bone) smooches to the pack of crazies that joined me for the jaunt.
Also big (but slightly less soggy) smooches to all those who donated! We surpassed our team goal and raised a whopping $2669.42! Why yes, that is a very strange amount. Someone anonymously donated the random quantity of $34.42. I suspect I should be able to channel my inner Dan Brown and figure out who my anonymous supporter is based on those symbolic numbers, but my chemo brain hasn’t broken the code yet. Perhaps I need a plucky, attractive sidekick and a nemesis with homicidal tendencies to augment my mental facilities.
Did I mention how cold and miserable it was last night? Darrell had texted me earlier, “Why pick such a shitty day to fight cancer?” I’m still unsure how I wrangled those poor souls out into the pouring rain. It’s hard to get my people to leave a bar on a beautiful June day, not to mention in the middle of a Nor’easter. All the same, we made our rounds from tent to tent, picking up our wrist bands, signing our waivers, collecting and lighting our balloons…all with water running down our faces and collecting in our collars. We had our photo taken and hunkered together beneath the overpass.
…and then we waited.
Once the lot of us had lost all sensation in our toes, music started playing. There was some muffled female voice broadcast through the speaker that I can only assume was Tina Fey. I’m just going to assume she said something witty and impactful because I think she’s a total riot grrrl. Then everyone sang the Star Spangled Banner. Not to sound unpatriotic, but…huh? What does the National Anthem have to do with the price of bread?
FINALLY the walking started. Walking might be a strong word. As Darrell described it, we were “shuffling for a cure.” We shuffled for a good twenty minutes before we reached the base of the bridge. By that point, a third of the balloons had already popped. Those that remained were settling low to the ground due to the cold temps, tripping the walkers and causing twelve people pile-ups in the middle of Broadway. Rocco had long since sucked out his helium for a series of entertaining impersonations.
As we climbed up the ramp, towering above the traffic and river below, the red lights of the Watchtower taunted us, flashing repeatedly “38 F” then “4 c” just in case we hadn’t noticed the chill in the air. The wind picked up with no buildings to shelter us. The balloons that hadn’t popped were now flying wildly in the wind, bouncing off foreheads and noses with surprising accuracy.
We made it to the very end of the bridge and turned around. I’ll break my two rivers rule, but only for a good cause. Even squinting through the squall, my heart skipped a beat looking at the looming wall of lights that is Manhattan. Not three steps later, some maniac on a bike burst through our group screaming “You’re in the bike lane you ASSHOLES!!” Ah, New York – I love you, too.
Back on solid ground in Manhattan, mine was the lone balloon still intact. We stopped at some trashy Irish bar (the trashier the better in my book) to grab some dinner and warm back up. My balloon didn’t last much longer. Rocco had plans for that helium…