The day John and I chose to head to Philadelphia, a storm blew through PA to meet us. Not another Hurricane Somebody, but an actual storm with thunder and LOTS of rain. We were armed with a borrowed umbrella and giant smiles. We planned on four things for the day: jump in rain puddles, run up the Rocky steps, see the Liberty Bell, and visit the Franklin Institute dinosaur exhibit in the evening (when it’s cheaper), and one thing for the night: SALSA!!!! The rest, we figured, would fall into place, as it always does.
The rest being directions, any type of understanding of the layout of the city, where we could find gluten-free food, parking, and a place to sleep. You see? There’s a pattern here. If there are questions, ask my mother.
We begun by driving aimlessly in the rain while I started asking Bitch (that’s the name of our GPS…We call her “B” for short as per Lisa’s suggestion to get better results) where the Liberty Bell was located and how to get there. She gave us a convoluted answer involving a lot of snotty interjections.
“Recalculating….turn left in 200…Recalculating….turn right on….recalculating.”
“What the fuck, B?”
“Fuck it,” I pulled into the first parking garage I saw. John may have said something warily about how much money it would cost at that specific garage per hour. I’m sure I heard it before I convinced myself it wouldn’t be so bad. We parked and sat for a while, enjoying a moment of stillness, deciding our next move.
“Well, I saw a sign for the Liberty Bell a few turns ago. We can’t be too far,” were my confident words. See where this is going? If you know my father, my Aunt Gloria, or me…you know directional impairment is hereditary. At the time having only met my father, and on the way to meet my aunt, John seemed to still have faith in my confidence, so we set out into the storm.
We zig-zagged the streets until we found the Reading Terminal Market and had a really generous portion of sashimi at Tokyo Sushi. The guy made his own soy sauce, gluten-free! We bought some bologna, cheddar cheese, and a half pound of roast beef at a deli. We found all types of historical tidbits along the way, aged signs with information to help the tourist “know” Philadelphia. We found Chinatown. We found Logan Square. We found the Reading Terminal Market a second time, and had an espresso. We asked directions. Turns out I was going to guide us the wrong way. Big surprise. We found the car again after more zig-zagging.
We got to the car and sat down, completely drenched. It had been about three hours, and we hadn’t found the Liberty Bell. (I later found out I was about five miles off the ENTIRE TIME!!! 🙂 Oops. We decided to take advantage of the city and find a gluten-free bakery. John found one on his phone and we were on our way…to the payment stand for the parking. Yeah. Remember that?
THIRTY-THREE DOLLARS!!!! Three. Three. Thirty-three fucking dollars to get out of that parking garage! I considered backing the car up and sleeping there with John and Ed (Have we covered Oedipus yet?), but after a laugh and a glance at John, I whipped out the plastic. 😀 We continued our search for the Sweet Freedom Bakery, which we found relatively easily (Read my review on Yelp HERE). We stayed in the shelter of the bakery for good while, hiding out from the relentless rain and realized there that we had missed the no later than time for cheap entrance to the Franklin Institute. Oh well. There’s always next time.
That night we found a place to park and walked to a little cafe where I could write a little before dancing. We laughed, skipped, and splashed our way down the street, stopping periodically to enjoy a funny sign inside a store window or music behind a closed door. We made it to the Reef to dance salsa right on time, and oh how we danced. John was out there almost every other song shaking his salsa hips! 😀 So good!
We left the club exhausted and beaming. Logically there was no other way to get back to our vehicle/home other than skipping (we were sober, sweaty, and skipping at 1:30 AM)…That’s when you know life is good. We found a Holiday Inn in South Philly by the stadium and parked. We moved to the back of the truck and broke out the roast beef, cheddar, and brisket we had bought at the market, some rice cakes, some humus, and gourmet munchies were served. We sat facing one another in the back of the Rav4, smiling in the yellow parking lot light. We slept well that night.
We made up for my directional misgivings by waking up the next morning, and after running several miles together in F.D.R. Park, we zig-zagged our way back to the Rocky steps and ran up them, making sure to laugh at how short the run actually was. Before we left I had to allow John the simple pleasure of punching Rocky in the balls.
It wasn’t the fact that our trip was amazing and we played in the rain together, slept in the car together, ran together, laughed together, and ate amazing gluten-free snacks together before dancing salsa, bachata, and merengue together…that reminds me how much I love that man…it’s definitely the picture I took of the ball punching.
But the picture is good, right? 😀 Sorry, Liberty Bell, we missed you, but we had a hell of a journey! Until next time!
P.S. I drove around the damn roundabout like 7 times before I was able to figure my way out of the city. Thanks, Dad, for your genes. 😀