Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ten Things Tuesdays: I Smell a Tourist

Ah, the holidays in Rockefeller Center. Since I work in the area, I am intimately familiar with the caverns beneath Rock Center, so I can avoid the scrum of slow-moving lookie-loos each year, all oohing and ahhing at the tree and the ice rink as they bump into poles and trip over pigeons on their way to bring their red-velvet-clad snotnosed toddlers to see the 200 dancing santas at Radio City. I mean, I try to be nice, provide directions, avoid stepping on their hammertoes -- but just how much can one girl handle?

Sometimes, they're just unavoidable. The other day, pushing through a bunch of people trying to figure out how one of them thar Metrocards work (and feeling woefully lacking in holiday spirit), I felt my nose crinkle up as I looked at them all, like I smelled something bad. That wasn't very nice now, was it?

But when I started to think about it, I realized -- you really *can* smell tourists.

And so, Grinchlike, I present to you this Holiday Season an olfactory map of the smells wafting from the ample acres of mottled skin and puffy coats that swaddle the burgeoning throngs of New York's holiday tourists.

1) Stale doughnut.
"Now, why would we want to try the bread basket at Balthazaar when we have a perfectly good continental breakfast FOR FREE right here at the Comfort Inn?"

2) Horse poop.
"Stan, wouldn't it be SO ROMANTIC if we took a carriage ride? Around Central Park? It's like we're IN A MOVIE!"

3) Knish.
"Is that a square doughnut? I don't get it. And why do they put MUSTARD on it of all things? New Yorkers are so weird. Oh well...WHEN IN ROME!"

4) Bulgari Voile de Jasmine Fragrance.
"Oh my gosh, LOOK! It's SAKS. Let's go BUY SOMETHING. Wow, everything is so expensive. No, no, I WOULDN'T like to try Bulgari Voile de Jasmine, stop! Stop spraying! [Cough.]"

5) Sweat.
"I KNEW we should have driven the Econoline. But where do these people park? Wait, how many blocks is it to the Empire State Building? I'm not paying for no damn taxi! We'll walk it. Come on, Helen. Keep up! My left arm feels funny all of a sudden. Tingly...so tingly..."

6) Gas.
"There has to be a public bathroom around here somewhere. Right? Um. I need to find one. Now."

7) Oregano.
"I can't believe they sell drugs IN THE PARK. What about the children? Should we buy some? I mean, that would be so EDGY, we'd have quite a STORY to tell when we got home; it'd be just like my days back at the University of North Dakota when we got a hot shipment in from Minneapolis. Smoking 'doobies' right in the park. Fifty bucks? Well, I guess it's worth it if we want to get the real, gritty experience. We'll take a bag. Thanks."

8) Vinyl.
"Gucci purses, right here on Sixth Avenue. Well, why not -- it IS fashion avenue after all. A girl can splurge. I deserve it. I'm on vacation."

9) Hair spray.
"This wind isn't doing anything for my perm."

10) Fear.
"Oh my gosh. There's a, a...BROWN person over there.."

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