I moved to New York in March one year ago. When I arrived at my sublet, it was freezing and snowy. I struggled to lug my two giant suitcases down the steps to my room. My roommate left for work and I just stood there, taking in my space. My space. Happy tears rolled down my cheeks as I remained as still as possible, trying to memorize that perfect moment.
I did it. I finally did it. I took a terrifying leap and landed in a sweet little room that was mine.
That tremendous, bubbling-over joy inspired me to write this series.
My first week in town, dear friends hired me to babysit their one-year-old. I had nothing to do until my three o’clock baby-date, so I decided to roam Central Park and soak up the gorgeous weather. I happened upon the Jackie Onassis Reservoir. A paved path lined the perimeter, so I altered my course. The city looked vibrant and alive through my shiny sunglasses. My dad called, so I popped in my earbuds and chatted cheerfully as I snapped dozens of pictures. About half-way around the reservoir, I noticed the time – 2:45. I had to be at 90th and 3rd Ave in fifteen minutes. Frantically, I pulled up my google maps to see where my little blue dot was. My little blue dot was on the complete opposite side of the park. A mile and a half from my destination. This “cute little lake” I decided to explore, turned out to be the full width of Central Park. I pulled up my uber app – I had meandered all the way to the Upper West Side. Would that I had wings. “God, grant me a boat!” was an actual sentence I bellowed as I sprinted the path I had so joyously tread thirty seconds prior. I barked at Siri to call my employer. Straight to voicemail. Twice. Charging on pathetically in my particularly non-athletic shoes, my agent back in Chicago called. Like the other thoughtless decisions I made that day, I picked up. (Attempting to sound casual & focused while dodging angry New Yorkers is a skill I quickly realized I lacked.) At long last, my flailing, out-of-shape body and I breached the park and ran to 90th street. Four long blocks left, I waved limply at a cab and begged the driver to take me on what would be a ninety-second trip. Reluctantly, she agreed to cart that sweaty excuse for a human across town. After leaving a 100% tip, I leapt up the front steps and buzzed their apartment. Only three steep sets of stairs stood between me and the finish line. The door was open and waiting for me. I apologized profusely for what ended up being a grand total of fifteen minutes late. Mortified doesn’t begin to describe it.
A year later? Still mortified. So what did I do? I wrote about it.
That instant light-switch from total bliss to total panic was completely ridiculous and amusing to me. When I was late for my first day of work because I had screwed up, (and for a very silly reason), I prayed it was fiction. I would have much rather been chomping on popcorn and cackling at what an idiot I was. Some good came out of my bonehead moment though – I created a story about a newbie who stumbles blissfully through her first experience with the Big Apple and must figure a way out of the messes she makes. Popping the popcorn as we speak.