Thursday, July 17, 2014

A mystical bus ride.

Last night I had one of those strange New York bus rides that my friends from outside of New York think I concoct. This one was weird and mystical, wise and profound.

I left the office around seven and I walked seven blocks to 54th between 10th and 11th avenues. There I pick up the M31, a snail of a bus, but one that is convenient for me. Heading home, it runs across 57th Street from west to east, then turns up York Avenue where it deposits me just half a block from my apartment.

I prefer the bus to the subway, particularly when where I'm leaving from and where I'm going to is far from the train.

The M31 is, as I mentioned, a slow-ass bus, but the route it runs works for me.

Since when I commute home I get on at the first stop, I always get a seat. What I usually do once seated is open my computer and log onto the internet. This gives me time to finish some work or answer a few emails or just see what various friends are up to on social networks.

Last night however a woman sat down next to me and began speaking to me. In short order I shut down my Mac and was fed 90% of her life story.

Her father-in-law escaped from a Soviet prison camp at the end of World War II. He walked across Europe to Dussledorf from whence he immigrated to the United States. My friend was vacationing in Hawaii, single at the age of 36 she prayed to meet a nice man who didn't just want to fuck. She made a motion with her hands that teenage boys make to mimic fucking.

When she returned to New York she was walking in Central Park and she met her future husband. Even though she's Puerto Rican, he treated her with respect.

She told me about her two daughters and one son. About all of them moving to a studio apartment on 57th Street to get into a better school district. "I didn't want my kids growing up and saying 'yo,'" she said to me. She is obviously no fan of Stallone's "Rocky" movies.

"I worked for 17 years at Young and Rubicam. They had me interview three times because I'm Puerto Rican. They didn't want to hire me but did because I knew how to use a computer back in 1986 and no one else did."

She continued. "I think some people are born with grace. You know what means 'grace,' she asked me.

"It means you're blessed," I replied.

"That's right. You work all the way on 11th Avenue, but you don't work alone, you don't walk there alone."

"No, there are a lot of people who do it."

"That's not what I mean," she said. "You're not alone."

It would be easy to dismiss this lady--maybe she's just a crazy religious zealot who believes her three-year-old grand-daughter can communicate with her dead great-grandmother. But I think she's right.

It's no picnic, I have to say, freelancing, starting over as it were after 30 years in the business. But I think she's right.

If you play your cards right, keep up your portfolio, your reputation and your integrity, you're not alone in the world. Even if it feels that way at times. Someone or many people are watching out for you.

My friend got off at 57th and 3rd. She's 67 years old, she told me and had not a wrinkle on her face. She looked more my age than hers.

"I go to lots of clubs," she told me on leaving. "I go to many because I don't like to gossip and I get bored. Tonight I have Bingo!"

I wished her luck and said I enjoyed talking with her.

I'll bet she won.

No comments: