I buy into all propaganda.
Everyone that knows me and read that probably just shook their heads knowingly.
Target audience for all advertising? Yours truly.
Cereal that comes in a very tiny brown square box and claims to be healthier and better than all cereals? It must be the cereal I've been waiting for. (Loving response from my mother: "You just paid more for the shape of the box and the picture.")
Hair product that gives me 'day at the beach' waves? Obviously I need to look like I just came home from the beach every day. (Loving response from my mother: "It's salt and water, Fran.")
A couple of friends were going out for lunch one day in Queens, but I had to decline. Because I had to go get free lip balm in Manhattan.
For those of us that have resided in cities where nothing cool ever happens, it was very exciting to discover on a blog that I followed that Fresh was giving out free lip balms in special trucks around New York. Where I happened to be on one of my days off. There was a truck waiting for me in Bryant Park.
Those lip balms are usually stupid expensive, and it was about to be mine. For free.
[Side note: one time I walked into Sephora just to browse and smell perfumes, and the sales woman with pretty skin and a really great fro told me that this perfume changed her fragrance experience. And it has since changed mine. But I digress.]
Yes, it's a lip balm---but look for the adventure in the mile ahead, people!
So I stood and waited for my bus. And noticed it was about to pour great amounts of rain, and I stood patiently waiting for it without an umbrella. I waited for Brian the Bus Driver to stop and pick me up, only for the doors of the bus to open and reveal an impostor replacement that immediately noticed the shock and disappointment in my face.
"WHATSA MATTA, YOU ON DA WRONG BUS?"
"No, sir" (Internal cry: 'YOU ARE NOT MY BUS DRIVER FRIEND AND I AM SAD.')
The rain started falling in buckets and splashing all over the road and my dreams of free loot and lip treatments inside the magic truck.
Once we were in the city, the bus driver actually stopped to let me jump off and buy a cheap umbrella so I wouldn't be in seahorse mode for the remainder of the day.
Bryant Park, usually so happy and vibrant and full of life and activity was empty and full of puddles.
I ran frantically through, looking for the truck as my umbrella flipped inside out and I tried not to cause a scene among the imaginary park inhabitants.
AND THEN I FOUND IT:
I bounded across the street and was greeted by a man in a suit standing outside the back of the truck.
Me: EXCUSE ME, ARE THERE ANY LIP BALMS LEFT?
Fresh Man: We're closing this truck. We are going to try to open again later this evening at 114th and Broadway.
I felt the rejection seep into my clothes like the rain that I'd met from my faulty new umbrella, and I walked to Chipotle and enjoyed some lunch by my lonesome as I felt my lips begin to chap.
Later, in my desperate attempts to find a bathroom that I wouldn't contract anything from, I went into this bakery and had the world's best iced coffee with iced cubes that were shaped in a way that made me swoon. And, I had macarons. Mostly so I wouldn't feel bad about using their beautiful French restroom. Plus, any reason to eat macarons is okay by me.
My friends gently reminded me that after spending money for bus fare, and a new umbrella, the lip balm adventure wasn't actually free.
But at least I tried.