Psychology calls it paranoia. I call it life.

Travel as routine is numbing. And so was the frigidity of 5th avenue beneath my feet, making my way away from Central park and toward my well-passed lunch.

I had spent a good portion of the morning/early afternoon at the Museum of Modern art, oddly scared of what I saw; not enjoying a minute, but taking advantage of the $10 student-discounted-entry rate to the museum I usually love.

So there I was, cold and my pants constantly drooping, requiring I pull them up every block - in my mind - worried people behind dressed in NY's best fashion were offended.

Halal - street meat vendors were every two blocks, so I stopped and partook. The young man working the booth struggled to understand when I said I wanted 'lamb and rice', but, was finally able to decipher my thick-Midwestern accent and give me what I wanted. With, a side of pita.

After digging through his pockets, asking the adjacent street-art dealer for a couple dollars, I said it's okay and paid $8 for something I was promised at $6.

Crossing the street looking at my iPhone, disregarding the overly anxious and judgmental cabbies, I made my way to Rockefeller center to hope for a break in the overcast-reality of my minds-eye.

I sat - alone - on one of the circular-iron benches, peeled back the foil rim of the take-away box the Halal vendor had given me, and began devouring my lunch. Surprisingly, it's always very good and filling.

Becoming more aware of the surrounding crowd, camera shots and ice-skaters 50 feet from where I sat, I heard a large sigh from the crowd, clapping, laughing and then systematic 'hooray's'.

"This guy just proposed!"

"And she said yes!"

I couldn't have felt more departed from the whole of the tourists and vacationers. Honestly, who goes to NYC for a weekend in mid-January?

This guy does.

Or, rather, 6 hours.

So, I tried to stomach the enthusiasm of the churning crowd surrounding, but soon my mind began to run and my throat became dry. I watched as a young-Asian couple set down their coffees next to me, from the nearby coffee shop to the East of the ice-skating rink, disregarded them and then headed to watch the the newly-engaged couple in their victory lap of love.

They left their coffees, I thought. I worried. I considered drinking the closest one because at that moment, my throat really began to scream for liquid and the rice-lamb mixture began to creep downward.

I stood, after I had shuffled the rest in, and began to panic as the last bits of rice seemed stuck in my throat.

"What will I do if I begin choking?"
"Will anyone know who to call?"
"Maybe I should leave my phone open to my emergency contacts."
"What of my backpack, my company internet card, my laptop?"
"My camera.."
"If I end up in hospital, the van will be left past 7:30 p.m. and there will be a large fine to get it out!"
"Why do the pigeons get so close, but don't go for help?"
"If someone calls an ambulance, as the rice is stuck, how will I pay for the hospital bills to come?"
"I forgot to turn down the heat at the condo in Indianapolis."
"Is this move, really going to work if I have hospital bills from a choking incident in New York?"

My mind raced and the rice did not. I squinted toward the sky and thought: oh God, please let me get enough saliva to wash this down before I suffocate, either from the sanguine rice or the over-excited tourists, who'd probably regard me as a faking-homeless man and kick me to the gutter of E. 52nd street.

At that moment I got it in me to swallow and I was fine; well, from a physical side.

I thought for a moment about looking at the ice-skaters and did, only to see the Zamboni cleaning the ice for another go-around of over-priced-clichéd excitement.

Oh, to be a tourist in NYC on a cold-January day. My feet were cold and so was my mood.

What the hell was Frank Sinatra even singing about anyway? He probably didn't even write the damn song.

No, after looking, he didn't.


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