I walked across the street. The cross walk was beeping. I only had two seconds to make it across so I jogged. When I got to the other side of the road, I realized right street, wrong way. I turned around and waited to cross the same road again. Oh, how the locals were probably laughing at me—but then I realized the locals were already two blocks down on their way some where fancy (as I guessed all New Yorkers were headed somewhere magnificent and grand). So I laughed at myself and shook my head because no one was still there to laugh at my mistake of walking in the wrong direction. That’s New York.
Job-things. I had no idea what I was doing. On the first day, I stood in front of a Starbucks and looked through the window. I started at Starbucks because I had a little Starbucks MUG pin a really awesome person gave me. It really only takes one person to believe in another to make one extremely brave soul. It gave me some courage, at least. (Plus, the Starbucks MUG pin was green so it was obviously a lot of good luck.) So, I stared through the window-glass and looked at all of the people in line waiting to order their vanilla lattes and hot teas. So, I thought to myself, do I just go in and ask the cashier if they’re hiring? Do I ask to see the manager? Is that weird? Is it weird that I’m holding this bag resumes? Is it weird that I’m giving them a resume when not one word on it has anything to do with coffee? Should I still list my accomplishments although they don't relate to the coffee-making business at all? Will the manager ask me questions on the spot? What do I do? If all else goes to hell, should I tell him to check out my blog?
If it wasn’t as cold as it was, I might have stood outside of that window for hours. However, my teeth started to chatter so I walked in. I tricked my body into standing in line by telling it I was just ordering a coffee. A nice warm cup of coffee. When I reached the register, I betrayed my legs and asked if the cashier knew if they were hiring. The manager overheard and cut in. Apply online, and stop in again afterwards, he said. He smiled sincerely. And I felt better about everything. Except I didn’t want to apply online. I wanted to apply right then and there. I suppose that’s not how it worked. Hi manager, can't you see I'm "The One"?
So back out into the cold I went. The wind cut raw roses onto my cheeks, turning them crimson. My nose froze so harshly that I held my gloved hand up and pressed it against the entirety of my face. It probably looked like I was walking around with ebola, but when my body reached a certain low in temperatures, I could have cared less.
A sharp flash of memory interrupted my thoughts. My memories revealed hands rubbing mine. Back and forth. Friction. Warmth. I looked up and I saw him there smiling at me. You’re so cold! Give me those, he said. There he was trying to warm me up. But he wasn’t. He wasn’t there. I pushed the memory out of my mind. Not now. Not in the cold. I didn’t want to think of him. I didn't want to think about him being so far away. I didn’t want to think about him at all. Why did the cold numb everything but my mind?
More shops told me to apply online. Finally some managers asked for resumes or business cards. And when I stepped out of a business with one less resume, I felt like I had somehow made some progress. I stopped into a little bakery to see if they were hiring… OKAY OKAY and to eat something yummy. It looked adorable; I couldn't resist. The young man apologized. They weren’t hiring and the staff was full as it was. Then I asked him what his favorite pastry was and he handed me a white chocolate macadamia cookie with cranberries. On the house. I sat down at a small table, the bakery was only large enough for four small round tables or so.
“I think they’re hiring over on 5th. There’s also another coffee shop about 10 blocks down. Just passed The Muffin," he said.
“You’re not from here, huh?”
And so a conversation started. I stayed in and enjoyed a cookie for a half hour. I enjoyed telling him I had moved to New York on a whim. Just because. I just happened to want to go to the East Coast. I just happened to want to start an affair with the world’s most seductive mistress. The man sitting at the next table joined the conversation: “A girl who follows her intuition. I like that. Do you like music?” And then suddenly I knew about a not-so-well-known jazz party that happens every Tuesday when all of the snores have fallen asleep. I finished my cookie, and they wished me good luck on the job search.
The man I sat next to looked at me and said, “New York’s a Bitch. But she’s your bitch if you want her.”
The worker said, "New York's a mistress alright...She's as enticing as hell, but the struggle is real!
"Yep," I replied. "The seduction is real--I mean--the struggle. The struggle is real." I walked out of the bakery. New York did have its charm. She was an appealing mistress, but I wasn't sure if I was ready for an affair...And I'm still not.
I stopped at small shops and look at greeting cards (the new birds of hipsterville, I think). Owls are hitting the end of their trend, anti-humored greeting cards are going to fill mainstreamed “hipster” stores like Urban Outfitters by the end of the year. Just wait. I saw an octopus designed pendant. It made me think of him. I decided to buy it for him. How much? Too much. Maybe I can still buy it for him. Jade, my head said, you don’t even have a job. I didn’t buy it for him. I left empty handed—with the exception of a folder of resumes I had yet to give away.
Perhaps my life isn’t a fairytale, but then explain this: On the third day, when it started to grow dark and cold and luck seemed to be far from on my side, I made one more stop. When I walked into a retail store, I happened to approach the directing manager of all said retail stores in the New York area. Just when all hope was lost! (Cue the sparkling of pixie dust now!)We sat down and talked. Yes, I said, it’s the end of my third whole day in New York. She made me feel at home. She didn’t think I was a silly girl. I felt she saw something. Looking for a job, are you? She asked. How about an interview tomorrow? Maybe getting one interview out of thirty attempts doesn’t sound very fantastical, but to my virtually frozen cockroach of a body, it certainly was to me.
I walked home with such a spark in my step that I felt all of New York knew I had just landed an interview. Of course, all of New York was already two blocks away going to wherever it was New York went. When I arrived home—on my little couch—I had received a few emails from strange addresses. Two more interviews! That was three for the next day!
On another strange whim, on my way to an interview the next day actually, I walked into yet another store. We’re taking interviews next Monday only, the manager told me. Yes, I answered, but I have three interviews today, and I want to work here. Can you fit me in earlier? Tomorrow earlier? And then magic. She smiled, walked behind a desk, and asked me if tomorrow at noon sounded alright. It sounded swell. I shook her hand.
I was finally making progress. I knew I had it in me. I walked out. Everything was great! New York was lovely! Who said New Yorkers were rough? New York wasn't a bitch! Or maybe she was. Maybe she was my bitch. Who said this city was dangerous? Who—!
A body skidded in front of me and made me jump. A woman rolled up in a snow coat ground her teeth against the sidewalk with such force I thought she must have been launched into the air and onto the ground by a cab. I had no idea where she had come from, but she laid their at my feet. Are you okay? I asked with my hands still up in the air from surprise. I’m okay, she answered and stood up. And then without another word she continued on her way. I gulped. Oh, this was my street! I scurried across the pavement trying to make it before traffic belched forward into the intersection. Once I made it safely to the other side...Wait a second. I turned around. Wrong way. I stood on the corner waiting for the traffic lights to summon me back to the correct path once more.
Where did I think I was going? My sense of direction was… Well, it never was very good. I laughed at myself. The traffic light turned. It was time to start heading in the right direction.