Tonight Marks Two Years in NYC (part 2)

New York: the city that never sleeps.

At any given moment during the day or night there are thousands of events and things to do. This means at any moment as a resident on New York, you are constantly missing out on thousands of opportunities. It’s a common conundrum: lounging on the futon with your favorite roommates, half a bottle of wine a piece, and half a season of Sex and the City may sound like the perfect evening after a long week. Until you make the mistake of thinking about all the things you could be doing and why live in NYC anyway if you’re just going to do something you could do anywhere else in the world and what if I’m I wasting my youth?! Then I try to focus on the fact I pay about $25 a day for space to keep said futon and wine and DVDs (and sleep) and it makes me feel better about wasting my life staying in.

When I was working my desk job I took my 8:30 am start time pretty seriously. No guys, sorry, I can’t go out to the bar now. No, I have work tomorrow. No, not even for one drink. I can’t! Stop harassing me! My Debby-Downer-ness pains me more than it pains you! were phrases far too common in my everyday speech. In my month of vacation unemployment I have reclaimed the night. With an enthusiasm I never had previously.  (Consequently I now understand the pangs of a serious hangover- an affliction I never faced in college- go figure.)

So instead of calling it a night at 11:30 pm, after multiple hours of running around in silly white pants and busing cocktail glasses, I decide the night has just begun. This needs to be the low point, all up hill henceforth. I’m surrounded by people who are on the inside of New York’s liquor industry. If there was ever a night to go out, it’s tonight. Unfortunately, this realization did not cross my mind earlier.  When deciding on an outfit today, my thoughts were: I’m wearing a provided “cocktail dress” at the party and What is easy to take off in a room full of other people? Thus the previously mentioned beat up Vans and checkered button-up. Fortunately after a 3 hours in a white belly-baring “Thai” cocktail “dress” I have mastered the “Fuck it, I don’t care” attitude. I’ll rock my 90’s grunge outfit where ever the night may take me.

My roommate is appropriately dressed having not been home since the work day at her fashionable-business-casual-advertising-agency job. But because she hasn’t been home in over 17 hours, in which time she worked two jobs, she is laden with stuff. Three bags full of it. “I’m only coming out if you carry one of these for me.” She doesn’t need to ask me twice.

Next thing I know I’m in the back of a SUV surrounded by Scottish people. My boss, who is awesome and the most awesomely chill boss, is at the wheel (it’s his car). The Scottish people are talking, which delights me to an embarrassing extent (me=sucker for accents- this fact may come up again). Bridget and Thomas they are, and Thomas works/worked (this was unclear) at a bar on the LES (Lower East Side) which is our destination.

This LES bar is packed with people this Thursday late night. A constant “Excuse me, I need to get through.” The ambiance is exceptional, the theme of the bar is something of a chemists lab paired with the romance of an old apothecary shop. Large test tubes and vials decorate the bar and all bar tenders are wearing white lab coats. This is clearly a place that prides itself on its signature cocktail concoctions. Part of me feels stupid ordering a beer, the other part is terrified as to the cost of anything.

It’s a fight to get to the bar as it’s so crowded, a fight I’m loosing. Quite lucky because it turns out Thomas has procured drinks for everyone. It’s quite a collection: orange blueberry, lemon and other flavors I can’t figure out, one that tastes like Orangina, then there’s one garnished with cilantro and the drink itself tastes exactly like cilantro. I stare tentatively at the one in my hand, it is green in color and garnished with a green bell pepper. A sip confirms the theory- the drink tastes exactly like bell pepper. They’re all remarkable in their flavor, but I’m not enjoying the taste as much as I think I should if it’s a damn expensive specialty cocktail. But each masks its alcohol content spectacularly (dangerous) and everything tastes better when it’s free so it’s not as if I’m not going to drink them.

There’s really only so much standing, being shoved, and shouting at people (the only way to be heard) that I can take, and this packed bar is nearing my quota. Eric, my boss’s old college roommate (equals stamp of approval from my boss), suggests we transfer to a club in the Meatpacking District where he knows the owner. With cilantro and bell pepper clouding our wits, the roommate and I say sure why not!

Which brings us to the cab ride of the previous entry. Where Eric realizes I may not get in to his buddy’s exclusive club. Great Eric. Couldn’t we have thought this through pre-cab ride? Are you trying to ditch me so you can get with my roommate? Cause that is not going to work (due to her love for me more…and her boyfriend).

Everyone promises not to go if I can’t get in. Thanks guys. This would be a sorry result- not the kind of night ender I’m looking for, so I do myself to make myself velvet rope worthy. I trade my button up for my roommate’s blazer with only my bra underneath. Vans replaced by the gold high heels I (conveniently) needed for the party I worked. My skirt is rather short and I have rather awesome legs (if I do say so myself) so I think I just may slide through. And I do. There’s no confrontation at the door, not even a snotty remark, Eric’s connection lets us cut the line and get in past the bouncer.

It’s 2:30 am, I usually leave clubs at this time. At the latest. Because things get crazy at this time. And in Kiss and Fly they are just that: crazy. Armando, our connection, immediately hands us all drinks. This is turning into a trend. Before we can even finish them, he hands out a champagne toast. Oh My God I Can NOT refuse free drinks!! There is house music blasting, strobe lights flashing, hundreds of people dancing. Periodically dry ice is blasted in a cloud of cold smoke from vents in the ceiling.

Eric had said he would never come to this place with out girls, and now a see why. We are bombarded with drinks from Armando, taken into the dj booth, introduced to the djs, generally shown off. This is not either of our scenes and neither of us is particularly impressed. We’re both just amused. Really? This is what we’re doing at 3am Friday morning? This is what 3am on Friday morning even looks like? I keep giggling because of the ridiculous of the situation (and the over flow of free drinks.)

The novelty soon where’s off. “I’m ready to go when you are.” We tell Eric we’re leaving. He does not take it well- he sulks. Armando thrust drinks in our hands before we can form the word “Bye” and we’re “stuck” staying for another drink. Second try we’re really leaving- neither of us is really having fun any more, feeling slightly guilty we’re ditching Eric-who has been extremely nice and generous and (I find this rather odd) has not put any kind of move on either of us- isn’t reason enough to stay. It’s 3:20, we could stay til 4 when the place closes and hitch a cab ride back but fuck that, we want to leave now.

So we leave, head to the subway, drunk but not messy, tired. I declare I can’t walk to the subway in my “stupid heels” so I sit down on a bench and switch heels for my slip-on Vans. While sitting, an attractive man approaches. “You’re gorgeous, darling. Isn’t she gorgeous?” He slurs at me in an Australian accent. “Are you from England?” I ask, mistaking the accent. “No. Australia. You’re gorgeous. I just want to kiss you.” Ha Ha I laugh at the ridiculousness. But no, this guy is serious. In fact he is assaulting my face with his mouth. Uh no! That’s ok! I pry him off me. Were I of sound mind I would probably be pissed and yelled a “You can’t treat women that way!” tirade. But I’m sloshed and find the whole encounter utterly amusing and easy to walk away from. Australian Face-Assaulter is unfortunately tanked but harmless.

On the subway ride home I banter with Rupert, and actual English bloke who’s trying to get to Times Square. What a night of accents. Scottish, Australian, English. He doesn’t assault my face. Which is probably why I decide I like him. He gets of at Times Square and we wave to each other as the subway pulls away from the station. I’ll never see his again.

New York gives me the feeling that anything can happen at anytime. Large or small, wonderful or awful. There is no ordinary, so things out of the ordinary are what is happening all the time. I love New York. It’s been two great years that I wouldn’t change for anything. Here’s to many more.

Tonight Marks Two Years in NYC

Actually, I don’t know if you’ll get in wearing that.

This isn’t a no shoes, no shirt, no service kind of situation. This is a club in the Meatpacking District, a neighborhood notorious amongst New Yorkers (and notoriously confusing amongst tourists as meat, as in dead animal, is no longer packed there) for being excessively trendy. Waiting-on-line-to enter-a-club-for-half-an-hour kind of trendy. Tight-mini-skirt-and-4-inch-heels-will-increase-my-chance-of-getting-past-the-velvet-ropes kind of trendy. I’m not exactly sure what my personal kind of trendy is, but it’s not this.

I’m in a cab on route to Kiss and Fly in the Meatpacking. It’s long past midnight and I am “bedecked” in a denim skirt, beat-up Vans, and a flannel-looking checkered shirt. I’m appropriately attired for a grunge show or maybe mid-day wandering in Williamsburg. For where I’m going and what I’m doing I am so in appropriately dressed that I may be turned away, denied entry and told my grungy-casual self is tainting the “cool” “hip” “hot” vibe. I’m not sure I can handle the embarrassment of this kind of public shunning. Would my self esteem survive? Would tears start streaming down my face as the big burly security guard stands firmly and ominously in front of the entrance? I am clearly not someone who frequent clubs and my outfit suggests I’m either clueless (as if) or unprepared for such a night. How’d I get myself into this mess? It happens to be the two year anniversary of my move to New York, no small thing in my world, an event worthy of celebration of the go-big-or-go-home sort.

The night started early with a huge private, invite-only party. Commemorating NY and my two years! Ha ha ha as if. Maybe for our 10 year. No, this is a party where I am on the clock. You may have read about my awesome job where I get paid handsomely to give people free drinks. Well, I’m at it again. Tonight it’s free drinks, free food, free DJ, a completely free party to anyone who happened to RSVP on a website (thus the “invite only”). All free because the spirit I’m promoting desperately wants people to not just think it’s cool, but to just know it exists. This party is the culmination of months of bar samplings and other smaller events.

I arrive early because they have hired people to do our make-up and hair, and a stylist to outfit us. I’m working the event with one of my roommates and we’ve been speculating for weeks what our outfits will look like. We’re thinking (hoping) black cocktail dresses that maybe they’ll let us keep. I’m next in line for make-up, the stylist is steaming the wrinkles out of various articles of clothing and asks for help holding up the pieces. The piece is a bright red pair of pants genie style, with wavy pieces ballooning from the sides and gold beads affixed at the end. (I wonder if that description gets your mental image anywhere close to reality.) I am told this ensemble is for dancers. Phew, I think, those pants would be hard to “pull off” (but easy to pull off, they have an elastic waist). Then she pulls out a pair of the same pants but white rather than red. These are what you guys’ll be wearing! Aw shit. That and a little wrap around crop-top shirt is my outfit. Just what I need, another reason to kick myself for not doing crunches on a regular basis.

I adopt the attitude of “Fuck it, I don’t care” which serves me pretty well. It helps that they’ve made my hair all shiny and straight and given my face the illusion of being blemish free. The cocktail I’m serving people is pineapple, basil, coconut, sugarcane, orange liquor, and the promotional spirit. Fancy, no? It’s the beginning of the night and they’re topping each drink with a basil leave filled with shaved coconut, the garnish of course increasing the fancy factor. Fortunately I’m allowed to sample one myself, for the pure purpose of educating guests (very professional and all). It’s quite good, especially when I down the garnish at the end- I may have been the only one to do such a thing all night.

Everything comes together at the last moment, it seems that is generally the way these things go, and guests begin to arrive. For the first hour or so, it’s great. Handing out cocktails, informing people what’s in it, some casual banter, all smiles all around. My word of advice to you if you ever attend such a free event: get there on the early side. You may think it’s not fashionable, but trust me. An hour in, the place is swarming- lines for everything- dishes piling up. My boss frantically tells me to bus tables. Have you ever bused tables in a belly baring top? I’d describe such an experience as paradoxical. I’m getting paid $50/hr to do the lowest rung on the ladder job. Kinda awesome. Kinda sucko as it is not what I signed up for.

By the end of the party I’m cranky. My arms are sore (not only have I not been doing crunches, I haven’t been doing push ups either) from carrying trays. I’m still clearing tables at the end of my shift time so when I stumble across a full bottle of the promoted liquor, I don’t hesitate to slide it in my purse. Hey, I’m not a trained busser, how am I supposed to know you aren’t supposed to pilfer the booze? All the bus boys I know do it.

The place isn’t clean, we’ve been off the clock for not an insignificant amount of time, and I decide I’m leaving. My roommate is more hesitant- she’s staying in the city for the summer and wants to get more gigs- but it takes little prodding from me to convince her to skidaddle.

So far this entry has had next to nothing to do with its introduction. That’s not about to change. Until next entry- to follow shortly!

Going out to the Hamptons

Outside strip malls, highways, multiplex cinemas, industrial yards, cliche America whizzing past. Inside the man sitting next to me orders me and my roommates where to put our bags that we momentarily placed on the 4th seat between us, “You going to the Hamptons? You don’t want to have your bag in your lap the whole ride, I’ll put it over head.” We assure this chino wearing, golf sweater sporting gentleman that he needn’t be concerned with our laps and our bags. Not your problem, sir.

This is a culture shock. I am going to the Hamptons for Memorial Day Weekend. I felt this a duty to you, dear readers (you few, you happy few) to be as NYcliche as possible my last weekend before I time travel to 1585 and my summer of renaissance. Bag Dude (I’m hoping he peers over my shoulder and sees himself refered to as such) is engrossed in conversation with the woman seated across the isle- apparently they know each other, which fits into this micro Hampton culture cliche perfectly. I’m trespassing in the realm of real-life gossip girls and Charlotte Yorks where everyone knows each other personally or through some easily identified connection that (if all goes right) sound deliciously hoity-toity to 99% of the population.

It’s been fun all week answering the question “Plans this weekend?” “Going to the Hamptons.” It is met with a myriad of responses: “The Hamptons? I thought you were unemployed.” “The Hamptons? Aren’t you fancy” “Hope you run into the Real Housewives!” “Oh I’m so jealous!” “Oh yeah, cool, I’ve been thinking of getting a summer share out there.” (The last spoken by my roommate’s co-worker, clearly trying to impress her.)

I’ve been going to the Hamptons since childhood. I could actually say that, it is fact. But, coming from me, that statement would be entirely misleading. My aunt and uncle, easily top of the list of people I want to be when I grow up, live year round in Southampton. They’re amazing hosts and I’m lucky enough to visit them at least once a year.

Bag Dude has whipped out his top-of-the-line, maximum screen-span MacPowerBook. My little European netbook, its dirty keyboard and dusty screen, cowers with intimidation.

We stick out in this crowd. One roommate is completely zonked out, her mouth open, her head nestled in her duffel bag. The other roommate is pealing a grapefruit- a task that essentially requires a mess- which is perfuming the train car and dripping juice down her shirt. I’m on my not-a-Ipad, eaves dropping, observing my fellow passengers, documenting my experience. We are weirdos on this train. Outsiders.

There’s no wireless on the LIRR, no outlets. My netbook battery gave out at the end of the preceding paragraph. Now I’m on the beach, literally my butt is planted in sand, the ocean infront of me, waves crashing as my sound track.

Some how I’m connected to the “Meadow Beach” wireless networ and squinting at the screen in the brilliant sun that’s making today a perfect Saturday. The waters too cold to go in but it is glorious to just be by the water. Perfect way to spend my last weekend before I head up to the woods on Tuesday. Time is flying- I haven’t packed a thing. But it’s hard to have worries at this time and place. My 80 year old uncle is known to start singing a song from his youth, (ironically) often while washing dishes. Living in a place like this, the didty provides the perfect lyrics for the ocean base line “Heaven I’m in heaven.” For now, I’ll just lay back and relax, dig my toes in the sand and stop squinting at technology in favor of the seaside. Glorious.

Blogger at Café

Presently I am the perfect cliché of Writer at Café. If you wrote a book and titled it  that, you would want the picture of me as I am this very second on your cover.

The far corner of my view is obstructed by the back of LUNCH SPECIALS and CARTA DEI VINI. In fact they serve a purpose of hiding my netbook so I don’t seem quite such a poseur to the common passerby. Although if anyone does see it, I still very much pass for a student and studying is a perfectly acceptable reason to be on a laptop in a cafe. I’m self conscious, imagining everyone can see me for the self-important blogger I am (but have been embarrassingly neglectful for over two weeks). I’m not editing a final paper, not answering urgent emails, not drafting an article, not managing my stock portfolio. I’m unemployed and struggling to motivate myself to form semi-interesting paragraphs about the goings-on in my life. Which, honestly, is just how I look, and if any one looked closely, I’m sure they’d be able to guess this in a second. You can judge this book by its cover, sure. But who am I kidding? This is New York City, the only person who is even aware of my existence is the barista who brought me my chai latte and maybe the toddlers being pushed in their strollers who take in their surrounding with a wonder we adults have long forgotten.

There’s a little boy playing peek a boo from the window of the building opposite. Which makes me think how rarely we take the time to look out windows. Growing up my bedroom window overlooked the intersection of 2 picturesque San Francisco streets and I literally spent hours staring out of it, people watching and daydreaming. Ten years later I spend hours staring at Windows XP. Granted, the view from my present bedroom window is largely the building across from mine and a pathetic excuse for a courtyard that separates us. But this stool in the Arte Cafe on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan places me face to face with a window. And between typed sentences and sips of chai I drink in my surroundings, able to cherish these moments as I am not on a deadline, have no commitments for 36 hours at the least, and am writing for the simple reason that I feel bad when I don’t.

Against the layers of cloudy sky above I see the dots of 3 bug-like blinking helicopters. When paired with a wailing fire engine flying down the street below I must wonder “what’s going on?” The internet at my finger tips provides no answers- must not be anything I should worry about. Had I a TV, maybe I’d see it on the evening news. But I don’t and so dismiss it from my mind and return to my window.

I see my bicycle is still safely locked outside and it is not alone. Every traffic sign and tree I can see bares at least one bicycle chained to it with the necessary extra-strength NYC locks. Not only do us bicyclist live in constant fear of dying on our bikes as we ride down city streets, the moment we get off them we live in fear they will be stolen in spite of the industrial locks. I dated a cyclist for a bit (Banjo Guy), someone who rode everywhere and had a sizable amount of money invested in his transportation, an amount which grew weekly as he added improvements/embellishments. Any meal with him, any kind of outing actually, was interrupted several times with him leaving to check on his bicycle. Though I found this annoying and excessive to perhaps the point of paranoia, I did understand it. Every time I return to my locked bicycle visions of it sans seat, sans wheel, or just gone all together flash before my eyes. However thus far not one of these visions has had any weight in real life. We’re (me and my bike) hoping it stays that way.

When I get up to go to the bathroom a fellow customer, an older man in a party who looks as though they hailed from Europe tries to get his bill from me. Momentary utter confusion. Apparently I don’t look like a blogger, I look like a cafe server. Hmm..same difference?

The UWS is living up to its stereotype as a family neighborhood. Countless strollers pass by, people walking dogs, and little girls holding hands in four-year-old friendship which I remember enviously, one wearing a pink polka dot sweater I would have traded favorite stuffed-animals for.

It makes sense I’m having flashbacks to childhood. I’m enjoying a surprisingly care-free month. I don’t have rent looming, I’ve been working enough to not qualify for unemployment/worry much, and my  nights are deliciously free of “aaah I have to wake up for work in 6 hours!”. I have time to sit at a cafe and type what ever pops into my mind. I’d say unemployment suits me, but that would be a lie. This is unemployment with the end quite in sight- less than two weeks away. I call it unemployment, most people would call it a vacation. Potaytoe Potahtoe.

Good-bye 9-5

Well guys, this is it.

My last entry on the clock. The last entry I can technically say I’m getting paid to write.

No, no one pays me to write this blog (big surprise right?) but my last dozen entries were written while I was on the clock, in the moments of so familiar to the administrative assistant- the phone isn’t ringing, reports are completed, mail’s been sorted- time must be killed. I hate to think what the secretaries of yore did sans computers. Us modern day office people sit in front of the machine that provides  society with more time wasting options than ever before. It’s either great or gross, your pick.

It’s my last half hour behind a desk. My bedroom is too small for a desk- that’s New York living- so all entries henceforth will be written from the comfort of my bed or the kitchen table. Or at Starbucks (or some other free internet venue) where people will oggle my netbook and I will feel pretentious.

I am not sad to leave this job. I think I’ve made that clear in previous posts, but I just want to reiterate. Let’s be honest, the 9-5 world kinda sucks. When the clock strikes 5pm today, I’m officially a working actor. I can say this because most of being a working actor is looking for work to pay the bills between jobs. That’s all I will be doing for the month of May. I’ve already started calling temp agencies, so who knows, I could be in back of a desk by the end of the week. But I already have some promotions lined up. Liquor, dodge ball, and protein bars. Hey, it’s better than theater consession sales and desks.

Though I will miss the theatre aspect of this job. I never benefited off the refreshment aspect-rather felt my eyes grow green with jealousy as a Jack Daniels connection gifted my manager multiple bottles of Jack- I have certainly benefited from the theatre part. I’ve seen half a dozen Broadway shows for absolutely free. It doesn’t get better than that. I was somewhat choosey with my picks- and therefore great enjoyed each one, but I can easily rank them:

  1. Next to Normal Oh my goodness, I’ve never cried this much while watching a play. The music is great, the story original (this is a rare that a musical has no source material), and it is so well performed. I often have trouble watching musical theatre, it so often leans to showing show-men rather than showing humanity and that is what this musical captured beautifully

  2. A View From The Bridge Liev Schreiber was brilliant and Scarlett Johansson not half bad. This play had the effect on me that tragedy aims for- catharis. I love leaving a theatre when a play has transformed my mental state, this and Next to Normal did just that.

  3. Red A two person single set play, I am a sucker for them. About Mark Rothco and his abstract paintings, which are easily the most scoffed at paintings in the MOMA. Brilliant performances from both actors. I love when performers make me abandon my critical eye as an actor/director and just suck me into a performance.

  4. God of Carnage Strong performances, single set, the rave reviews and last years Tony award gave me high expectations which were not met. I felt like the play had the potential to say more, I was waiting for its point, which never exactly came and I looked at my watch far to many times in the 90 minute run.

  5. Behanding in Spokane Again, high expectations that were not met. I love Martin McDonagh and have read the majority of his plays. This is my least favorite. That said, I still enjoy his dark twisted humor and Christopher Walken was captivating in this.

  6. La Cage Au Folles A lot of fun, just not my cup of tea. Apparently I like make-me-cry shows not feel-good ones. Really I like shows that have something to say and/or affect me significantly.

7. In the Next Room: The Vibrator Play Interesting subject-“hysterical” women and how hysteria treated in the Victorian era- presented in a straight forward way. Interesting but did not affect me

As I finish this post and pack up my things, “accidentally” slipping a box or 2 of tissues into my bag as well (and a pen or 2 and I printed out a bunch of resumes..), the girl who hired me and who told me I was fired says good-bye. Before she leaves she mentions if I ever want to see a show to just give her a call! Looks like I’m not even loosing that perk! Brilliant. Ok finished! Now to clear the computer history, turn it off, and I’m out of the office and on to better things!

Like My Bike

Currently I am wearing a bright orange flouncy skirt that twirls perfectly if/when I spin around in circles (an action that lifts my spirits- I highly recommend it should you find yourself fired.) Outside the sun is shining, the trees are green, tulips color street corners, and the average New Yorker’s disposition is down right cheerful. We’ve won. We beat winter and it’s not coming back. We can finally pack away the winter jackets without fear of jinxing everything. Trade uglyUggs for sexysandals. Put our pasty skin on display. It’s especially hard to be stuck behind a desk with one sad little window overlooking a sad black tar roof when it’s gorgeous outside. Only 7 more chances for that (yeah, I’m counting the days, this Fired-But-Still-At-The-Job thing is even worse than I thought it would be).

I have yet to go on a picnic (that needs to change no later than this weekend), but I have been spending a good amount of time outside in various green areas of the city.

After months of battling the winter blues (and talking about it a lot) I felt the need to celebrate the victory of spring in some tangible, extraordinary way along with spending as much time as possible outside. So I decided to buy a bicycle- kill 2 birds (having owned parakeets as a child, that may be my least favorite cliché). After many craigslist searches, careful consideration of how a bike would fit in my life- specifically my 10’x7′ room, and a test ride, I became the proud owner of this little beauty:

Looks a little weird right? Maybe you can’t figure out why? That’s because it’s not your average bike! It’s a folding bike! It folds in half and then some to become a perfect portable package, so inconspicuous I have to point it out to people who come to the apartment (Notice anything different?? Uh..No? Look at my awesome new bike!!!!) On weekdays it’s the perfect commuter- less than 10 minutes to work, and on weekends it’s the perfect activity- circumnavigating Central Park or up and down Riverside Park.

I have become a New York City Biker- arguably the most uniformly hated micro culture in the area. Pedestrians hate bikers. Cars hate bikers. Other bikers hate bikers. All three yell something inappropriate at me on a (more or less) daily basis. It can be tough for a sensitive person like me to take but I do understand the hatred. Bikers don’t get ticketed for running red lights, something we notoriously do. We zip through congested traffic. We’re hard to see, a law suit waiting to happen. We have no gas guzzling guilt. Every day is Earth Day for us. You can bet there are oodles of clichés about bikers in this  town(many true) but that’s another entry.

It’s a dangerous form of transportation and some bikers forget/deny this, making them a danger to themselves and others. During the worst snow storm this winter I saw a delivery guy riding his bike, snow whipping through his hair as he was not wearing a helmet (STUPID). What takes the cake is HE WAS ON HIS CELL PHONE. This sight made me stop dead in the street- dumbstruck by his idiocy- so stunned that when the light changed I almost got hit by a car. See! A danger to themselves and innocent bystanders!

Don’t worry. I’m a very careful biker. My brakes work and I wear a helmet. In my wildest dreams I would never imagine talking on my cellphone. When I am on my bike I am hyper-aware of my surroundings. It’s a surreal, exhilarating feeling. I love biking and hopefully I can bring my baby upstate with me and continue this spring trend through the summer, though I’m not sure she’s suited for the woods!

Good News and Bad News

There is Good News and there is Bad News, to the extreme on both ends.

Fortunately the Good News happened first. Other wise I might not have made it through the week.

Us new New Yorkers get asked “So why did you move to New York?” all the time. It is often a precursor to the discussed What’s the difference between the East Coast and West Coast? My answer is generally “Theatre.” Yes, I am an aspiring actor, in case you forgot, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you had. I’ve been doing much more aspiring than acting these days. And honestly not too much aspiring even. With ENT bills still haunting me and Mahattan rent, making money has been my #1 priority for many months. I’ve assistant directed a play and been on a handful of auditions but I have to admit it’s been on a hobby level. Which I’m okay with- putting off pursuing my dreams for a bit is fine, plus I’m pursuing my dream of living in NYC which is impossible without money. It’s all relative.

We artists are obsessed with “selling out”, “failure”, “giving up”.  Right, these fears only plague artists.

Any how.

On Monday, 7 minutes before the end of my desk-job work day, I received a call from the only audition I’d been on in April (maybe I’d been on 2, but I don’t think so) offering me a part. A paid part. An offer to pay me money to do what I love.

You want details? It’s an offer to be a part of “the oldest full-time professional acting troupe of any Renaissance Festival, and the inspiration behind many interactive entertainment groups in major theme parks across the country” to quote the website. The part is that of a female pirate, “piratess” (yes, there were pirates during the Renaissance just ask wikipedia, and yes, female pirates did exist, though rarely: it’s legit) in a band of 3 pirates out of 30 actors in the over all ensemble. The contract is from June 1-August 16 with the festival only on weekends, meaning the rest of the week is devoted to rehearsal annnnd basically summer vacation because it’s all in upstate NY, 6 hours away from NYC and they provide company housing (and board on the weekends). Spending a summer pretending I’m a pirate, swimming in Lake Ontario, star gazing, hiking, and other “middle of no where” (as we refer to it in NYC) activities; free rent, and a weekly pay check? Or sitting at a desk from 9-5 on beautiful sunny days, dreaming of evenings spent doing all the million awesome things there are to do in this city in the summer and weekends at the beach? Not too much of a contest. I will sorely miss Shakespeare in the Park, roof top bars, outdoor movies, my friends, etc. etc. But trading in the Administrative Assistant title for that or Professional Actor? That’s my dream right there. And June 1st, it looks like it will be coming true- I signed the contract (!!! contracts scare me) but have yet to receive my counter signed copy, so it’s not 100% official.

My reaction to success surprises me. I would imagine myself ecstatic at such an offer, shouting from the rooftops  with glee. It’s much more mixed than that. There’s fear in such success, disbelief, worry that it’s too good to be true.  In this particular example- worry about subletting my apartment for the summer, being unemployed on August 16, telling my office I’m leaving. I guess that makes me a grown up.

Now the bad news.

I decided not to tell work immediately that I was leaving. Wait for 3-4 weeks notice. My superior recently gave me a wink while talking about previous people in my position, how long they stayed on for, and how nice it would be to have someone stick around for a couple years. I could have told her right then and there I wasn’t planning on doing that, but instead pretended it might be an option, and now that I wasn’t even getting past my 6 month mark I felt a little bad. Not that I had signed a contract here or anything.

On Friday however, I learned that quitting my job was nothing I would have to worry about. Because on Friday I was, abruptly, never-saw-it-coming, no-kind-of-warning FIRED. I’ve never been fired before ever. It was shocking to say the least. Everyone who is in the office on a normal basis was about as shocked as I- or so I’ve been told. My firing was in the hands of the Big Boss Man (with the Prostate Problem) who is, as I’ve mentioned, almost never in the office. He had never reprimanded me previously, never mentioned I was doing an unsatisfactory job and needed to improve or face consequences. Maybe it’s because he found my blog, but I highly doubt it.

I’ve been told I was let go because my sales reports had too many detail errors. I can’t deny this, but will say the majority of these errors were because he demanded the reports prematurely, expected me to understand things with no explanation, or because the creator of the report told me it was “ready to go” when it wasn’t. I trust people and don’t read minds. It’s all an extremely aggravating reason to loose a job.

To add to it? They told me I could stay on until the end of the month (April) and needing the money, I accepted. So, as I type I am still behind my desk. Fuming as it is Administrative Professionals Day and no one gives a shit about me. It is awkward as hell working here knowing I’ve been fired. Talk about no motivation. I mean, what are they going to do? Fire me? And no one is talking about it. It’s this huge elephant in the room. I’ve named him Marvin. Marvin the Elephant is the only one in this office who understands me.

Whatever. I was going to quit any way.

So here I am, 8 more days stuck at a desk, 1 month of unemployment, a summer of professional acting, and then…who knows. I have a 4 month plan- that’s more than I can usually say.