Thursday, June 22, 2006

Still Just a Rat in a Maze

I work during part of week in Time Inc.'s building on 50th and 6th, which sits basically right on top of the catacombs that run underneath Radio City and Rockefeller Center. In these endless interconnected hallways exist countless fast-food joints, the entrance to Top of the Rock, underground entrances to doorways to stores like Anthropologie and Swarovski, and the sweltering Rock Center post office. There are shoe shiners, florists, overpriced pizza places; there's a Starbucks, a pay-by-the-pound salad place, a big picture window where you can watch the ice skaters in Rock Center in the winter, and a million other things.

There is no map.

Rather, there is a map but it's indecipherable and asking someone for directions will result in a conversation that goes something like this:

"How do I find the post office?"

"Um, so you take the elevator down to one, then you take the escalator, it's over by the security guard. Then you take your first right by the McDonald's and the hall curves around to the left. Then there are TWO entrances to ANOTHER tunnel, take the first one, there's usually a Chinese bag lady sitting there, and then, um....." [Person looks panicked, runs away.]

However, I've been working off and on here for coming up on two years and through a combination of mailing and shopping necessities, and cravings for six-inch delights from the subterranean Subway sandwich shop, I know my way around these endless tunnels by now.

Not everyone is so lucky. People walk around like robots with shorted fuses, bumping into walls and turning into janitor's closets in search for the Top of the Rock gift shop. So I found it quite amusing today as I was on my way into work when I saw a man, a fat, bald man -- with pleated khaki shorts and a braided belt, obviously a tourist -- stop dead in the middle of the hallway, tilt his head back to the heavens, and shout to no one in particular:

"How in the hell do you get OUT of here???!"


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