Week two of my new life in New York and it is entirely possible I may lose my legs.
I fear they could actually fall off from all the walking. Today I saw ten apartments in three hours. That is a lot of walking and fast. People in New York walk like the pavements are made from hot coals. My legs can't cope. When I wake up in the morning they may have detached themselves from my body in protest. Why isn't everyone in New York thin from all the walking? Why aren't I thin yet?
To be fair, it's only been two weeks. At least I don't really face loosing my legs from an existing condition like the crazy, scary lady on the subway:
"I got diabetes you focking baaaastard! I may be a double amputee! Would yoo like that? Would yoo?"
She is swinging her cane around and accusing a seemingly innocent man of stepping on her foot. He sensibly escapes at the next stop. Unfortunately she is right opposite me and in my direct eyeline, so I busy myself with reading the adverts above her head. I fear any eye contact may result in her whacking me with the walking stick. She weighs about 90 pounds but I am scared.
''That's right! Look away!"'
Oh fucking hell. Is she talking to me? I am too terrified to look at her and find out. I keep focused on a Spanish advert about impotence. All the other passengers are also looking in any direction other than hers while she throws half a bottle of some prescription pills down her neck.
''Don't you all count your chickens you motherfockers! God knows. He knows!! You can't hide focking shit from him! You will all be found out. He'll get you all in the end, if I don't first!"
Oh grrrreat. My fabulous new life in New York is going to end with me being beaten to death by a crazy lady with diabetes and a cane on the Queens bound N train.
Thankfully she gets off at the next stop. Thank god, I would be really angry If I got murdered in the murder capital of America and it didn't even make the papers.
So I live another day to continue my hunt for an overpriced Manhattan storage cupboard that is known locally as an 'apartment'.
Highlights of the search so far have included:
1) An apartment for thousands of dollars opposite a housing project, with two crackheads slumped in the doorway and the remnants of not one, but three stolen bicycles outside
2) An apartment for thousands of dollars above a Chinese waxing salon with transparent screens in place of bedroom doors.
3) An apartment for thousands of dollars where someone appeared to have stolen the living room. Apparently the 2 square foot area I was standing in next to the cooker, was the living room.
4) An apartment for thousands of dollars with a park view. Unfortunately the view was compromised by a homeless guy playing air piano in the middle of the street.
The reality of what money doesn't buy you in Manhattan is marginally less shocking than the reality of the Real Estate agents. My hopes of a besuited, slick, tough negotiator ferrying me around in a sedan with blacked out windows have been more than a little crushed. I wonder where it all went wrong as I hobble behind the latest guy in baggy jeans, while developing blisters on my blisters. Not only is there no car- they take you on the subway and they don't pay for your ride. Or worse, they simply make you walk. Did I mention that? A lot of walking. At least at home you would get a cheap suit and a ride in a Fiesta Finesse.
I have a new favourite deli in my local Queens hood. The main thing I like about it is that it's clean. The one downstairs from the apartment always smells of cat's piss and The American and I regularly pontificate on what the Korean owners may be doing to cats to warrant such a stench.
The new favourite deli is Lebanese. The man there 'loves my accent.'
''I love your accent.''
"Thanks." I say, through gritted teeth. I imagine this is what it must be like to be famous. You just must hear the same thing over and over, yet you aren't allowed to get irritated because people are just being nice.
"You're Irish right?"
I spend 5 minutes explaining where Wales is to a blank face. I then pretend not to know where the Lebanon is.
''Don't worry mother," says The Teenager "everyone in my school is talking about the hot new Australian girl."
When I get home I tell The American that I was very nearly murdered on the subway earlier and should such a thing ever occur, could he please make sure it makes the newspapers.
'WHAT. THA. FUCK are you ON about you crazy Welsh woman?''
''Me. Being murdered. Make sure it makes the papers.''
''Cos I am not letting my brutal slaying in the murder capital of America go unpublished."
''Emma.'' he says ''Everybody knows that Chicago is the murder capital of America now.''
''Where are you going?''
''I have to lie down. My feet are killing me."