"Update" NYC

Push and Shove

New York. A city that’s notorious for its pushy people, crowded streets, tiny apartments and endless possibilities. It’s a city that is unforgiving at times, that can try your patience and push you right to the very edge.
Every single New Yorker has had the conversation with themselves at one point or another and has asked, “What am I doing here?”

As for me…I know the answer to that question. It’s because each and every single time I’m pushed to that edge. I know that the city will catch me.

It’s not just the city that push and shoves us. It’s life. Life pushes us, shoves us to that breaking point because it’s a test. That test is designed to remind us to never take the things we have in our lives for granted.

When it comes to the push and shove of things, I couldn’t help but wonder…when do we jump?

Last Monday was business as usual. Alarm goes off at 7:30. Shower. Dress. Meditate and one spritz of my scent and I’m on the streets of Manhattan. Each time that I leave my apartment and my feet hit the pavement. I’m reminded at how lucky I am to live in this city. Maybe not during the winter months but I’m still grateful.

I walk in the office. Turn the computer on and take that first sip of coffee from my lady on the corner of 52nd & Sixth Avenue. As the coffee begins to run through my veins, I begin to work. There are days where the words flow with the greatest of ease and then there are days where I sit and stare at the blank screen. It’s not just me out there, it’s everyone. Everyone that gets up with purpose goes to their jobs and can be greeted with the, “Good day” the “Gad day” or the “Indifferent day”. Then there are days where you are greeted with the “Unsuspected day”.

On Monday, it was business as usual. I was working, took a lunch and when I came back not two hours into the remainder of the day; I was called by my boss. I went into the conference room and along with him was someone I had never seen before. However, I knew exactly what was going to happen next. I was being let go or rather pushed out. I was told that I was simply too expensive and that they were changing things within the agency. I was giving a severance and the offer to ask as many questions that I might have. I told them both that I was fine with what was offered and I thanked them for their time.

As I packed my desk with all my personal belongings I was surprised at how calm I was. I knew I was calm because like so many of us…I was comfortable in my job. Maybe I even took for granted that I had a job. A job that I was confident in. A job that was in walking distance from my apartment. A job that I could do in my sleep and was no longer challenged. I could go down the Deepak Chopra route and say, “Everything happens for a reason.” However, when you’ve just been let go from your job and coworkers are asking you a million questions as you pack your desk. You want to go down the Bruce Willis-Die Hard route and say, “Leave me the fuck alone.” I handled it well. I said goodbye to the people that I enjoyed working with and left with my head held rather high. As I walked to my apartment with my bag of pink post-its, it dawned on me that I was just handed that pink slip. I laughed out loud as the pedestrians on the streets, pushed and shoved their way back to the jobs they had. I got to my apartment and began to break the news to some friends and family members.

For the remainder of that day, all I heard was, “Take some time off” or “Use this time to figure out what you want to do next.” If only it was that easy. It would be easy to do these things if my savings account wasn’t all in my closet full of shoes and clothes. Or if I still wasn’t trying to recover from an identity theft that left me broke just two months prior. It wasn’t my best day and hell…it really hasn’t even been my best year. However, I know what I have and have always had in my life and that is…belief. Belief that things will work itself out with hard work, determination and never veering off the path that I’ve chosen.

The next morning, I still acted like it was business as usual. Except that it wasn’t. I had nowhere to go. No purpose to step out onto the busy streets of the city. Instead, I went down stairs to my deli, got my coffee and began feverishly looking for a new job. I sent resumes, contacted head hunters and old coworkers to figure out what exactly this next step of mine was going to be. After a couple of hours of work, I met my very recently former coworkers for lunch. Plus, I left some files behind at the office when I was in such a rush to get the hell out of the office. After lunch, I went to the gym to sweat out the frustration. Later on that evening, I met up with some friends of mine for dinner and conversation. I wasn’t alone. I was never going to be alone and they certainly reassured me of that.

Wednesday morning and I had so many things to do before I caught a train to Fire Island. I hadn’t been out there all summer and I was dying to go. I was making a day trip or rather a first date. You see…prior to me being let go, I had been chatting with this guy from Scruff. The conversation had been rather great for the past three weeks. We conversed about everything from work to music and it all was falling into place. He had rented a house out there with some acquaintances of his for two weeks. He wanted to take me out on a date when he got back to the city. However, when he would be getting back to the city; I would be leaving for my share on Fire Island later on this month. So, we both knew that we wouldn’t be meeting for the first time until the second week in September. We both were alright with that but seeing that my recent schedule has given me free time…

That Monday that I was let go, he actually called me on the phone. It was our first time talking on the phone and I wasn’t exactly in the best state of mind. However, by the end of the conversation, we thought it would be a good idea for me to come out for the day and visit him. I admit I was more excited about getting to see the beach, feel the sand between my toes and the sun on my skin. So, on that Wednesday morning, I packed as light as I could; which isn’t easy for me. I was all packed including what my date had asked me to bring him from the city. He asked me to bring him baby powder. It wasn’t just baby powder he wanted, he wanted a specific baby powder that had corn starch in it. I had never heard of this before but there I was the night before at CVS asking the sales person for baby powder with corn starch.

As I waited at the Long Island Rail Road and waited for the board to tell me which train I needed to take. I was in a state of, “What the hell am I doing?” Most of my friends knew what I was doing just in case I was to get murdered. However, the date was kind enough to send me all the information I needed to get there because I get lost all the time. I had a feeling that this date was actually going to be rather fun. It had the perfect scenery for the making of an excellent first date. A ferry, the beach, perfect weather and belief.

He sent me a text along the trip to make sure I got on the right train and told me to message him when I got to the ferry for he would be picking me up. Then as I boarded the ferry, I got a nervous feeling in my stomach. I began to actually question myself. What exactly was I doing? Meeting a stranger on the beach for a few hours before I had to go back to the city? I mean, I’ve done crazier things for a date but I wasn’t even supposed to be going on a date in the month of August. I told myself that now that I had all this free time on my hands that I might as well have an adventure.

The ferry docked and there he was. I recognized him immediately. He was shirtless, board shorts and flip flops. We greeted each other with a hug and quick kiss on the lips. We immediately walked to the Pantry to grab sandwiches for we would be having lunch on the beach. I was attracted to him. I believed he was attracted to me. He teased me, flirted with me and we stopped by his house to grab two towels. As we got inside his room, I asked him why he wanted the baby powder with corn starch. He told me, “It’s for my balls.” Did I just hear him correctly? Did he just ask me to bring him baby powder with corn starch for his balls? He continued with, “They sweat. I don’t like the way my balls feel when the sweat.” Well, this was a first. Usually when I go to Fire Island, I’m asked to bring a bottle of booze. Never have I been asked to bring a product for a man’s genitals. I just handed him the baby powder and got into my bathing suit.

We ate on the beach, talked and then we began to walk along the beach. We talked and then there were times where I didn’t want to talk at all but to get lost in the beach. He told me that at four o’clock that afternoon; he was having some friends he’d met the night before over at his house for cocktails. I didn’t mind because I needed to catch the six o’clock ferry back to the city anyhow. We go back to his house after the walk along the beach; we relaxed in his hot tub and then got ready for his friends. The friends show up and I actually knew one of them because we used to work together years ago at a former agency.

As I sat there, I was surrounded by theater queens. They were talking about Patti Lupone, Andrew Loyd Webber and there I sat not knowing really what to say. Most of them were in their late forties and early fifties all but one guy. This one guy stood out. He stood out because he was young much younger than I. My date went from attentive toward me to ignoring the fact that we still were on a date. He didn’t look at me once and every time the young pup opened his mouth, he hung on his every word. My date also kept looking at his phone to check the time. He was checking the time because at any minute, he could throw my ass on the ferry and pursue the young one. I didn’t care. I kept drinking my free drinks, conversing with the theater crowd and ten minutes before six; my date said it was time to go. I grabbed my bag, said goodbye to everyone I had met and that included my date. I knew that I was never going to see him again and as of today; I only received a few messages here and there. I went from being greeted from the ferry with excitement to being pushed right back on that damn boat. It wasn’t exactly how I had imagined it but I sure as hell wasn’t going to fight a twinkie for attention from a guy I had just met.

When I got back to the city that night, I grabbed some dinner to go and went to my friend’s apartment. It was at his place that I got the release that I needed. We went to his rooftop with a bottle of wine and we laughed so hard that tears were coming down from our faces. All this time I didn’t know what I needed. It was to laugh. To laugh at just how life was playing out for me. It was the perfect way to end a rather interesting day.

By the time Friday rolled around, I had no idea what day of the week it actually was. That was how fast I got acclimated to the life of unemployment. It was nice to know that I already had on my calendar a visit to my friend, Feathers, country house. I packed and stood on the corner of 56th and Park Avenue waiting for my friend to drive up and pick me up. Along the drive we updated each other on our lives including all my recent events. We decided to stop off at a casino and just as my luck would always have it…I lost money instead of gained. I wasn’t even the slightest bit shocked that my friend ended up winning. After that, we get to the house where we were greeted with wine and pizza. We stayed up till almost 2 a.m. laughing, playing games and of course…drinking. We did that the next day as well.

As the week begins, with no real direction and a few interviews already set up. I couldn’t help but fully understand the need for the push and shove.

When we get comfortable, complaisant and accept the choices we’ve made; there are times when we need things to change. When we can’t control that next event that will happen in our lives it forces us to make a new choice. We will never understand all the reasons why certain people have better luck than us or why we are dealt the hands we are given. The best thing to do is push, shove and make the most wonderful things in your life a real possibility.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Mike

    Best of luck Alex. ‘That what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.’ Stay calm and carry on.

    • Mike,

      Thank you for the kind words and for even reading.

      -Alex

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