THREE MONTHS : Top 10 Notable NYC Moments
No. 1. The Suitcases. My job has me running logistics with freighter trucks full of event goods, managing hundreds of people at a time, meeting chaos head on and doing so with a smile and a plan. As I flew to NYC, I had an unhealthy focus on how in the world I was going to get a mere two suitcases and one box up three flights of stairs without leaving my belongings on the street. Yes, we all understand it was what I chose to focus on instead of the enormity of the task before me but nonetheless I was worked up in a I'm-about-to-cry-like-a-tired-toddler way. Instead, I just thanked the driver, sat on one suitcase and laughed. Not a mental breakdown laugh, just in an okay-Kelley-now-what kind of way. When I looked up, my eyes met the guys' behind the bar which anchors the first floor of my Soho building and he yelled, "Welcome. Where are you headed? Let me help you." And he did. And those boys took me under their wing and taught me just enough about being a New Yorker to be able to blend....well, a little.
No. 2. The Rookie Day and The Rich Cabbie. The first morning I woke up in NYC, I was incredibly confused as to where I was. I knew I was going to have to get some perspective. And fast. The map of the subway system still looked like spaghetti so I walked out of my building, got coffee and grabbed the first cab I could find to The Met. All I could think of was that I must see my favorite painting in the world, The Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage. It depicts her angels visit to reveal to her what she was born to do. Though I make absolutely no correlation between leading a French army at 16 to moving to NYC to reinvent in mid-life, I loved that she listened and I was proud of myself for listening too. I was so preoccupied I left my phone in the back of the cab...on the first day of my grand adventure. Um, what? Um, seriously? I waited six hours then knew I had to replace it. Later that night, three friends and my mom called to say the cabbie wanted to return my phone. How he unlocked it and got to them, I still don't know. He gave me an address and my roommate walked me to Greenwich Village.
"Are you sure that's the correct address for your cabbie?"
"Well, that's what he said."
We walked into the most GORGEOUS building and she whispered in my ear, "This is Alec Baldwin's building."
It also happened to be my cabbies and his doorman had my phone. Welcome to New York!...and thank you for being so nice.
No. 3. My Dorothy. The day I met the most beautiful tiny little woman, it was hot and she was juggling a few things. She happened to be at least 100. I offered to help her. She sang a two verse mini street concert just for me. Full story here. I'll never forget her.
No. 4. Cicci, The Adorable. Two weeks in, I was prepared to leave New York. I wasn't cut out for it. I was too naive. I forgot what I'd come for--to gain but also to leave something of value. I didn't belong. I packed one of my suitcases then took a walk to settle myself and regroup. I ended up in Washington Square Park where all the answers reside and I just sat with dark sunglasses and a bit of a wet face. Then Ms. Cicciollna arrived. She was the most perfect baby bulldog I've ever seen. And since my son loves bulldogs as much as he loves his Aggies, she definitely caught my attention. She was accompanied by one really kind man and one beautiful woman with the most inviting smile. They sat down right beside me and let me love on that sweet pup all I wanted. Come to find out Ciccis auntie is a Texan. When they left, she handed me her business card and said, "I would love to have a drink with you, here's my contact information." I didn't share for a while just what her gesture meant but I'm still here. With Cicci kisses.
No. 5. Friend Visits. When friends come through NYC, I get soooooo excited. I've already had six visitors in three months. I still have to encourage myself not to hug them too tightly lest I break a rib because I'm just so excited to see them. Each one has had a different bucket list of experiences they want to participate in so it's been a lot of fun to explore. Not being near family and friends is the single hardest piece of this entire adventure plan but I still know I'm supposed to be here during this season of life.
No. 6. The Mousy Look. I found myself in the strangest and funniest meeting with a high-profile woman. The night before I went, the woman who connected us called and said, "Please try to look as mousy as possible."
"Well, "she" likes to be the most attractive person in the room, always."
"Um......okay. It's just the two of us meeting, correct?"
"Yes, but she only hires really subservient, mousy people."
Thought bubble....."....and you thought of recommending me? Awesome. Maybe I need a haircut."
So, I donned my mousiest look and off I went but all I could think of was, if I accepted this project I would have to wake up every morning and prepare to be my worst self. And, well, that's kind of messed up. I was intrigued by the whole exercise but just decided that wasn't a healthy way to approach life...whether I'm having a bad hair day or not.
NO. 7. West Village Roommate. I moved in with a French actor last month. I refuse to accompany him to a coffeeshop ever again because everyone stares at him -- the women and men. He's incredibly kind and very easy to co-exist with. Yep, it was awkward at first but I really did not want to live alone or ship all my furniture from Texas until I settled. I wanted the full NYC living experience and well, I sure am getting it. I wish I could say more but his story isn't mine to tell but know that it's rarely dull around here. And I've now added another "brother" to the Soho mix to watch out after me and it's a nice feeling.
No. 8. The Night Owl. I don't know the city well enough to feel comfortable staying out super late but one night I did. My mistake was telling my mom, "Oh, I'll be home by 9:30 and I'll call you on the way back." I sort of didn't. As in, I didn't. In fact, I stayed out really late drinking a nice red wine and having a lot of fun. And my battery died. When the nice cab driver got me home safely, I didn't think about charging my phone. I also didn't think my mom thought I'd been murdered. I also didn't think she'd call a bunch of friends to share her fear. I ended up getting a few hours sleep and waking with a smile (and headache) but apparently my mom stayed up all night. My friends did not. Sorry, mom. I'm alive!
No. 9. French Comedienne. I walked in one night night to find the most stunning Parisian woman of 60+ waiting for my roommate. We talked and I learned that her kiddos were grown and living their own lives and in constant contact. She lit up when she talked about them but said she had decided to bring a different kind of joy into her life now by becoming a comedian who does a set on stereotypical French women. Um, what? Um, how awesome are you? Um, way to dream in amazing ways. Um, what a reaffirming and delightful way to build a life.
No. 10. Eli, The Cab Driver. My French cab driver turned 84 last week. His name is Eli. He made berets for 40 years. He worked for a man he really loved. He refused my fare. I'm still thinking about him.
No. 10.5 Adam Levine. I was headed to pick up Cicci for the day when I stopped for juice only to turn around and see.....him. Yep, he's as cute as you'd imagine. He's also a joy magnet.