Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tourist Handbook

"Is that big building that reads 'Convention Center', the Convention Center?"

The Reading Terminal/Convention Center area is like a scene from a bad zombie movie this week with tourists visiting for the Philadelphia Flower Show. And they must have read from the 'Tourist Handbook':

1) When driving around the Convention Center area, make sure you drive really slow. If you don't know where you are going, it's always best to drive as slow as possible so it takes you forever to not get there. You are not going to go at a normal speed and risk going the wrong way or missing your turn, because if you missed a turn at 11th Street you couldn't possibly just go to 12th Street and circle back around. It is my understanding that if your miss a turn, your car just vaporizes immediately.

2) Make all of your turns from the wrong lane. The other drivers behind you, who are actually trying to get somewhere, really appreciate it when you are in the right lane, trying to turn left, and then just stop to wait for an opening, causing them to get stuck at another light. And pay no attention to pedestrians. Besides you're not driving fast enough to hurt us too bad if you accidentally plowed into us anyway.

3) After you park, you probably have to walk a few blocks. So when walking down the street, always walk 3 or 4 abreast and take up the entire sidewalk from side to side, so people either have to walk at the same snail's pace, knock you over, or walk in the street to go around you - where they very well may get hit by a car trying to make a left turn from the right lane. Also, if you could talk or type on your phone while walking at that pace, that would sweet. Don't worry, sidewalks in Philly are reserved just for you to shuffle along at your glacier-like pace.

4) When shopping in the Reading Terminal, make sure you walk like your shoes are bound together as if you were working on a chain gang.

5) When you want to talk with friends/family who are with you, make sure you just stop dead in the middle of the aisle, where hundreds of people are trying to pass you going each way. Nobody minds, so chat away.

6) And for women, make sure your pocketbook is at least big enough to transport a baby elephant. No sense leaving home for a few hours without every item in your medicine cabinet in the bag along with a meal, in case you got stuck in a big city like Philadelphia where there's absolutely no place to buy anything you might have forgotten. There's certainly not a Wawa a block away or anything. And be sure to accidentally swing that large bag into me and others as you stumble through the concourse, not looking where you are going. If you do it right, it will hang off your shoulder right at my crotch level.

7) Agonize over your lunch decision (or considering the age of the customers, possibly "Early Bird dinner" at 2pm) with the same deliberation most of us put into the purchase of our house. I know, I know, it's very complicated choosing between salad, pizza, or a sandwich.

8) And by all means, when you have a line of people behind you, make sure your change/substitute at least 2 things that come with the pre-made salads or sandwiches. There's nothing quite like eating a meal out and then changing the way the experts prepare it, so you can have it exactly like you would have eaten it at home if you had made it yourself. That's the point of eating out, right?

9) And always make sure you have to dig through your pocketbooks for at least a minute or two to get the money to pay. The people waiting in line behind you on their lunch hours have ALL DAY. And you've only been standing there waiting for 10 minutes with nothing else to do while they prepared your order, so I wouldn't expect you to do all of that ahead of time.

10) And if there is a group of you, when you pay make sure you all pay separately with your own credit cards. That really speeds the process up, while you wait for the vendors with their old dial-up technology to process six individual $8 salads and sandwich charges.

Come back and visit soon.

No comments: