It’s all about trial and error. Mostly error.

30 May

Ever heard the saying “life’s the hardest teacher- it gives you the test first THEN the lesson”?

Well, let me tell you, if you’re not familiar with that phrase- get used to it. There’s never been more truth behind a statement than that one.

Where to begin? I guess I’ll start with Sunday afternoon.

My friend Erin and I decided to go out for lunch before I left for my New Jersey trip. (oh yeah, I forgot to mention- I graced New Jersey with my presence this weekend!) According to her professor, there was great, CHEAP Indian and Italian food both located on 2nd Avenue. (Please note that “cheap” is the key word in this sentence.)

Being the naive new-New Yorkers that we unfortunately are, we took his suggestions without any background research on the places. (Spoiler alert: BAD, BAD idea.)

The first place we went to (I won’t name names because 1- I can’t pronounce let alone spell them, and 2- I’ll let you make judgement for yourself- if you really want to.) was the Indian restaurant.

One would think the lack of customers would deter us. Nope. How about the waiters lingering in the doorway? Negative. Or- here’s the kicker- what about the bullet holes in the front window? Nah. We were feeling adventurous.

We walk in and are rushed by three waiters. None of them had anything to do because there were zero people in the restaurant. We were immediately seated and brought numerous breads and sauces. Erin and I soon realized that everything brought to us was not complementary and prices were ridiculously high. Additionally, the waiters were hovering- and I mean LITERALLY standing about three feet from us the ENTIRE time.

It’s truly beyond me how they expected people to make any sort of decision under that type of pressure.

We quietly discussed our escape route and finally my strong-willed Polish roots came to life as I told the waiters we had changed our minds, grabbed both mine and Erin’s purses and exited the restaurant before they could say a word.

So, the first place was a no-go. Not a big deal. We decided to venture a bit further down 2nd Avenue to the Italian eatery.

Again, this place was over priced and the wait staff was awful. We seated ourselves outside (which was a huge mistake in humid 85 degree weather) and it took almost 15 minutes to be served water, let alone to have our orders taken.

Not to mention, this restaurant had menus with fine print. Who does that? At the bottom, in the smallest handwriting imaginable, it said “we accept cash only.” Thank goodness Erin and I both had enough cash on us to cover our overly-expensive, mediocre-tasting meal.

Needless to say, food was a bust on Sunday, which is upsetting because we took recommendations from a New Yorker- thinking he would know what he was talking about.

Clearly, his idea of cheap is spending a small fortune on food I could make in my own kitchen.

Lesson learned: when it comes to something as vital as food, do your own research, read the fine print and absolutely never enter restaurants toting bullet holes in the windows as decoration.

On to my next lesson of the weekend: the subway system.

When I first got to New York, my brother attempted to explain to me the subway, how it worked and how to read the maps for the trains.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve ever ridden a subway, but it’s definitely confusing. (Keep in mind however, this is coming from the girl who gets lost in the grid-shaped city…)

Long story short, 14th Street and 14th Avenue are indeed very VERY different.

I mistook 14th Avenue as the street I lived on, got on the wrong train, and headed all the way downtown when I was supposed to go uptown. (That’s confusing too. Who decides what’s up and what’s down? I should have a talk with them.)

I ended up wandering the subway for over an hour until my stubbornness finally subsided and I asked someone for directions.

Once I exited the subway and made my way back to civilization, I made a promise to myself that I was never riding it again. Until I realized I have to catch the subway later this week. That should be comical.

So, as life tested me again and again this weekend, and I failed again and again, I learned one very important lesson: you’ve got to be able to roll with the punches.

Restaurant sucks? Wander around until you find something good. Lost on the subway? Put aside your pride and ask for directions. These little trials we’re put through on a day to day basis are simply opportunities for us to learn a lesson.

With that, I say thank you life for being the toughest teacher yet.

After all, everyone knows you look back at the teachers that were the hardest on you with gratitude when it’s all said and done.


2 Responses to “It’s all about trial and error. Mostly error.”

  1. Mary Jo Hartman May 30, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    This is so truly you! I enjoyed every word of it!

    • cateytraylor June 5, 2011 at 9:16 pm #

      Thank you, MJ! And thank you for reading 🙂

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