That time I led the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade by accident:
“Through my sheer skinniness and the single-minded determination of the utterly oblivious person that I can be, I made my way to a wooden sawhorse employed to keep people off the parade route. The line of sawhorses stretched north and south, unbroken, all stamped, “NYPD.” Of course I could move one, anyone can move a sawhorse, right, but wouldn’t that constitute me, you know, ‘starting something?'”
* * * *
Each Thanksgiving morning I experience the flutter of a memory of a moment in which my own experience of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles almost came true. Mine was going to involve accidental participation in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade between a bus and a train, however, which is a notion that even John Hughes might have rejected as far-fetched.
Despite my lifelong proximity to New York City, I do not have vast experience within the city, and I think most of my time in Manhattan has been spent on foot as I walked from either a bus or train station to my destination. And then back. The secret reason for this is I do not trust myself on subways—one must know the subway system through experience and the only way to gain that experience is … experience. The one and only time I rode the NYC subway alone, I did not know how quickly we would reach my destination, nor how briefly we would stop there, nor how long it would take to get back from Brooklyn, which was far, far past where my destination (a job interview somewhere in the Financial District) lay. That one experience led me to a decision I still stick to: walk (nowadays, with a cane, slowly; I have not been in NYC since 2015) to my destination, no matter how far.