Thursday, July 31, 2014

Modern-Day Good Samaritan

“The car is broken down.”

“What now?”

“Going to be late; can you walk home?”

“I can walk home.”

“I’ll see you at home.”

“Keep me posted on what is going on.”

On the train on my way home already, getting messages that I would have to walk. The day was not entirely unpleasant (perhaps a bit hot), but I had been in air-conditioned places all day so I didn't mind. The train landed on time, I disembarked, and decided that I would walk to the grocery store first before heading home. Grab a few things for dinner.

I actually don’t like walking in our neighborhood, and I plotted a route to the store that would put me on the side of a road with high-moving traffic and not on a road with a particular bar I am wary of walking past. Overall, there would be good traffic, lots of people, and a minimal chance of being harassed. (Which, sadly, happens more often than it should.)

All in all the walk started off well; my P.J. Harvey was blaring, my new shoes were comfortable, and the day was getting hot enough that I felt a little sticky, but in general I was feeling upbeat and pleasant.

Then a car slowed down next to me. I ignored it, because this is generally the best thing to do when cars slow down next to me in my town.

Then I heard “Hey do you need a ride?”

Which caused me to turn, because the voice was that of a woman not a man.

I have not real issues with hitchhiking and have done my fair share of it, starting when I was 16 and going on and on. I’m more than happy to thumb a ride when I want to get somewhere if it will get me where I am going.

Granted, I wasn’t going that much further.

“Really, I’m just heading up there,” I pointed out the market, which was at this point probably only a thousand feet away.

“That’s cool, I don’t mind.”

In my mind I calculated the risks and decided this girl seems safe.

“Okay, but really, I’m just going up there.” Open door, put a foot inside.

“That’s great; I can really use the money.”

One foot in, one foot out.

“I don’t have any money,” I responded.

“Even just a few dollars.”

“Like I said, I’m going to the shop, right there, and I will use my debit card. I don’t have cash.”

“Even a buck or two?”

Three things flashed across my mind: Back out now, don’t take our your wallet in front of crazy chick, shut door.

Which I did in that order, while saying thanks but no thanks, I really don’t mind walking and I don’t have any money.

“Whatever, you bitch.”

She squealed off, covering me in a bit of road dust as she leapt forward down the road.

So much for the modern-day good Samaritan.

To and From New York

Whirlwind.

This is the only way to describe the day. I admit, though I have enjoyed working in Chicago, the job I have is not most suitably me and I want a job that is more suitably me. Looking, searching, and possibly finding, I stumbled upon a job and put in an application for what the hell purposes, never actually expecting to even really be considered.

And then they called me.

And we interviewed.

And we interviewed again.

And they called me again and asked me how I would feel about coming to New York to meet people in person.

When I said yes, I assumed that I would be going overnight, but instead I was booked for a single day. Fly out in the morning, talk talk talk, fly back in the evening.

The flight was only two hours both ways, so I figured why they hell not?

I reconsidered why the hell not at 4 in the morning Chicago time, but was up, showered, and out the door by 4:30 no problem. Usually I can go straight out the door and get a taxi on the street with no wait, but apparently the taxis didn’t get the memo this morning so I called and then worried that I was going to miss my flight when I realized I wasn’t getting on to the airport until 5:20 for a 6:50 flight.

My cab driver, who was very talkative, explained that he would get me there in time, and he did, so the reality was I had nothing to worry about aside from drinking a ton of coffee and going over in my head what I needed to do.

Out at La Guardia, I called for my cab, and then waited and waited while my cab didn’t find me. Apparently this was going to be one of those days where nothing was going to be easy. But still, New York.

Even on the edge of the city I can feel the thrum of it. As I finally got picked up to begin the drive to my destination, it struck me again just how different this particular concrete jungle is from my Chicago. Dark and older, seemingly more travelled and traversed, it is a city I have a love/hate relationship with. Granted, the last time I was in it I was working so much I really didn’t get to know much of it…and by the time I was starting to enjoy it, I was gone.

This day trip to New York was not unlike the month I spent there in 2010. Too fast, too rushed, too impossible to know the city or what it holds. I spent most of my day on the road or locked in offices, dealing with a variety of things, all of them occupying my mind more than being in NYC. There was a strangeness to it, and while it was not much different from going to and from Seoul, it was different in the amount of time I had to spend waiting on either end, since you can’t just show up a few minutes before you need to leave; you have to be there at least an hour before. Still, the travel itself only made me a touch tired.

The 16 cups of coffee had a lot more to do with my insomnia on a night where I should have been absolutely tired.

The coffee and the low, dull, trilling thrum of two cities competing for my attention, with me in the middle not sure where I wanted to be.