New York, New York
The first time I passed through New Yorkâ€”well, actually just the airportâ€”was on my way to India back in the Seventies. My chief impression was amazement, that people actually talked like dat.
Twenty years later, I had a book published by St Martinâ€™s Press. It did okay, well enough that they wanted another book, and maybe one after that, so I began to think that maybe I should pull up my stumps and go introduce myself. I had chosen an agent by eliminating those I couldnâ€™t drive up and see, but there wasnâ€™t much I could do about moving the actual publishing house into this time zone.
So in September of 1993, when The Beekeeperâ€™s Apprentice was in production (for publication in early 1994) I got on a plane for New York, a young hippie mom venturing into the Big City.
My introduction to New Yorkâ€™s gentle manners was when I was standing in line (yes, I know, being New York I was in fact standing on line) for the shuttle bus into the city. For some ungodly reason, I had decided it would be a good idea to fly on the Monday of Labor Day Weekend. The line was long. The bus was stuck in all the other traffic trying to get to the airport. We were there a long time. And the young backpackers next to me, spotting the ticket-seller coming past, asked him in all innocence if he knew when the bus would come.
â€œYou donâ€™t want to wait? You donâ€™t have to wait, you can have your money back, you want your money back, here, Iâ€™ll give you back your money, you donâ€™t have toâ€”â€ How you say, In your face? With each demand, the two Californians stepped back a little more, as if adjusting their stance to a high wind. When they did not thrust their tickets out to be exchanged for cash, the man gave up and went away, leaving two pale visitors who would think twice before venturing a question.
The bus came eventually, and we all crawled our way into Manhattan, but one thing I never have figured out: Why havenâ€™t all the residents of New York just murdered each other in a fury?
In our next adventure: Laurie meets her editor, and is reduced to tears by a cover.