I returned to my overpriced, falsely advertised, hospital-like residence fully intending to move out by 3 p.m. on New Years Eve based on the obnoxiously over-posted fliers warning that this is when the office would close for the holiday. Around 2 p.m. a housekeeper busted into my room with her master key unannounced and unaffected by my unwelcoming response. I politely assured her I’d be finished packing shortly, and she responded by repeating eight to ten times that she wanted to go home and had planned on leaving early. Following an uncomfortably endless confrontation clouded by an apparent language-barrier, I threw my hastily/forcibly-packed, overflowing luggage into a cab and headed in the general direction of my friend’s apartment, as I couldn’t pull up the address on my phone in my chaotic rush. Not only would my hostess be at work for another hour, I could barely move my belongings and the delay in providing an exact address left me on the wrong side of the street in the rain.
I managed to clumsily drag myself into the lobby riddled with shame and fully prepared to plead with the doorman who I’d been warned wouldn’t bend the rules to lend me a key. Fortunately, he gave in, providing it’d get my mess-of-a-self out of this pristine lobby (and, perhaps, because my friend called ahead). Ten minutes later I found myself sweating, tainted, and bra-less at a diner bar nearby. (I default to bar seating when alone; I don’t know where to direct my attention in an empty booth). Habitually, I held back the tears by scanning The New York Times app over four cups of coffee—that always does the trick.
My latest roommate (actually anyone I’ve ever lived with or viewed my own pictures in front of) would never have believed I was in public in an over-sized sleeping tee, void of make-up, with a headband solely intended for face washing still holding my greasy bangs back. I told myself what I always do here, “You’ll never see any of these people again in a city of 10 million.” But in reality, each humiliating public appearance increases the probability that I will unexpectedly see someone more than once, and the chances increase with how limited the areas I frequent remain (Upper East Side, Lower East Side, East Village…that’s about it).
After a calming, lonely hour I met my friend in her place, vented about the insanity of my day, knowingly missed an appointment to see an apartment, and showered for a second apartment-viewing appointment. Hour’s later appointment #2 had been cancelled by the occupant and re-scheduled for the next day. More impatient than relieved I headed to the financial district to meet one of my best and oldest friends who was visiting with her boyfriend slash eventual fiancé who I hadn’t met or approved of yet. I can say with confidence that I have never been so happy to see a familiar face as I was then.
Becca was the perfect person to save the second downfall of a day. She’s naturally bubbly and positive and her boyfriend was reassuringly perfect for her, which made me happy. We had a pleasant dinner (at which moment I realized I hadn’t eaten since my five allotted peanuts on the plane the day before) and began to get ready for New Years Eve. [Here, I’m choosing to omit an unpleasant encounter with a New York City elitist. You know, the person who can’t believe any restaurant, show, or museum could be as good as the one they personally recommend. My standard response: I’m sure you’re right. Works like a charm.]
Becca, boyfriend and I (third wheel) accompanied boyfriend’s aunt to an adult dinner party. After awkward stares and a few, clever, “Who brought the teenagers?” comments we escaped to an age-appropriate bar just in time for the ball drop. But not before meeting veteran writers who assured me print is doomed and pursuing a writing career is a fruitless waste of time. Yay for 2009!!! Too bad it had to end so soon. I opted out of jumping on the bandwagon of complete strangers sucking face long past midnight and spent the next hour people watching with the front wheels of this tricycle. We got a few pictures, rolled our eyes at the text messages referencing Times Square where we WEREN’T, and wrapped up fairly early. I spent about three hours trying to fall asleep to the standard sounds of sirens and enraged car horns and woke up what seemed like moments later to get back to incessant apartment searching (I know it’s redundant, but incessant is the only way to describe it). “Welcome home,” New York City said. “Ready to keep spending through your savings?”