Weird Shit Velcro – Stories About Navigating The Human Landscape

I have captivated all of my friends and family for many years with my dating and daily life stories. Thus, this blog is my opportunity to share these amusing and ridiculous anecdotes with anyone who is interested, bored with their life, passing time or just has the awesome, shit ass luck to run upon it by chance. If nothing else, you will be entertained…start with March 20 "You will be entertained….too good to make up."

East Coast Beard and Mustache Championship…..not limited to men

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I am in Philadelphia for Easter and, as usual, I made some new “friends” while walking my dog, Hugo, who happens to have a celebrity like presence. People cross the street to take his picture and pet him. He is generally a chick magnet so if I were gay I would be totally hooked up.  I am not, however, but as you may have surmised the dating thing clearly isn’t going all that well other than the ongoing entertainment value.

On my journey to the health food store, my new favorite place in Philly, I was invited to have a drink on the corner of 4th and South by some people that, Hugo, the dog “picked up”. Because we live in NYC which is a very dog-friendly city, Hugo thinks that tables and chairs outside are an opportunity to sit, hang out, meet new friends, hopefully receive some table snacks and people watch. Thus, we shuffled over to a table and made some new friends. They semi-coerced me into having a margarita with them and I say this kindly as I am an easy sell generally but especially since I had a wine filled lunch earlier with some other new girl friends I met in Jamaica about six weeks ago so I was sufficiently socially lubricated for the encounter with these nice folks who were in from Lancaster, PA.

We bonded because I mentioned to Tad, as we watched the tremendous amount of facial-hair-clad semi-theatrical men and women that surrounded us, that I am starting to like dogs more than people. We shared our mutual road rage encounters from the day before and he agreed.  I had just arrived in Philadelphia and was in a bit of a rush but a woman actually yelled at me that I was a whore for trying to pass her husband as he blocked two lanes. I screamed back “that’s dirty whore to you bitch.” As I drove away I actually found myself laughing. What a weird encounter and what is happening to me I thought? I can’t help but keep going back to the “too much time in NYC” bit. It does make one a bit hard…on the outside anyway.

As I sat at the restaurant and sipped my margarita, the people watching was borderline absurd but highly entertaining. When I left the table and continued to walk around I saw more facial hair than I had even seen at a Phish show or Jazz Fest in NOLA so I started to ask what was going on with all the weird beards. It turned out that there was a Beard and Mustache Club competition being held tonight – Yup there is such a thing. Who knew! So I took a few pictures….



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The Hate Factor…..

I vaguely remember when the city made me feel invigorated.  I liked the pace, the theater, the restaurants, the clubs, the people watching, the fact that everything delivers – and I mean EVERYTHING, central park, Lincoln Center and the many venues to see live music.  Mind you, I have never “loved” NYC but I have enjoyed many aspects that it offers.  I also felt at 22, as I do now, that NYC can be one of the loneliest places in which I have ever lived.  For a big city, it’s hard to meet people and if you are not a native New Yorker it can be tough. And I am pretty outgoing and can practically have a conversation with a wall but I have felt lonelier here that anywhere I have ever lived. Both then and now.

When I lived here during my first stint after college, I went through a banking training program (#1 at the time) and hated it so much by the end that I wished a bus would run me over on my way to work so I didn’t have to open one more checking account.  Literally hoped I would get run over. I hated my job. I hated my boyfriend. We had broken up and he came over for dinner one night saying he wanted to talk. He hugged me and told me how much he loved me and had missed me.  When I left his embrace and looked at him, I saw that he had a hickey the size of an orange on his neck. What a moron! “Think turtle neck” I yelled while screaming that he should get the hell out of my apartment. While we are friends now, many years later, at the time I felt like a knife had gone through my heart.  

I also grew to hate public transportation at the time. I grew up in the burbs but I always found the subway to be an expeditious form of transportation as long as one of the homeless who walked through the cars yelling “I have lice, they jump” didn’t knock into me. Toward the end of my first and only year, I took the subway home during rush hour one day after working said job that I despised.  The 6 train at rush hour, as some of you may know or have experienced, can be so crowded that you literally cannot move. When I got off the subway and looked down, I saw that some guy had jerked off all over my skirt and stockings. In shock and horror, I ran, or I should say sprinted, home stripped, jumped in the shower  and poured rubbing alcohol all over my legs (yes I am a bit of a germaphobe) and cried.

It’s a lot of “hates” I know….but really I kinda did feel that way….

A day later, I was walking by a Club Med office at lunch and walked in and asked how I could apply for a job.  It was quite an application process, head shots included, but three weeks later I had landed a gig at Club Med in Turks and Caicos.  As a hostess. All I wanted was a mindless job before I went to law school. My father hung up on me when I told him but I still showed up at his house that weekend with a U-Haul and pretty much all of my belongings. And off to Club Med I went after requesting my law school applications.  That had been my original intent after college until I got wrangled into the banking training program by my father. A banker. Shocker I know.

Well, last week I went to see a friend who happens to manage a restaurant in mid-town to talk about my career. Or I should say my sort of lack thereof as I finished 13 months of cancer treatment in December and cancer is a bit of a career killer for one who is self-employed.  Anyway, as I sat there and told him that I felt the same sort of urgency to leave NYC as I did when I was 22 he looked me in the eye and said “You know Nik, I just learned last month that this exact space was the Club Med office.” Holy shit! I thought. He went on “and in fact, you are probably sitting exactly where you interviewed.” And I actually was. In this vast city with a population of over 8 million (”> and God knows how many venues, I was sitting in the same spot where I started the end of my NY journey the first time.  If that isn’t the universe telling you to get the hell out I don’t know what is! 

I don’t hate it here. I am just done. Cooked. Well done. And when you know you are done you want to just get on with it and start living your life again. So I am done with cancer. Done with friends that I learned as a result of cancer weren’t really friends. I like to call cancer an “interesting experiment in human behavior” – you learn a heck of a lot about people.  Some people you thought would be there disappear. Many in fact. And some people step out of the shadows and are absolutely amazing. It’s like being given a gift.  I also now know why dogs are called man’s best friend. I couldn’t have lived without this little guy last year……………………… And now I have a blank canvas and I get to paint it.  Image So what is my “Club Med” now….hum…..ideas? Thoughts? I am very open to suggestions. Thank God for the puppy!

PS – After I wrote this I was referred to Goodbye to all that by Joan Didion. A great read and I totally get it.

Navigating the subway

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Navigating the subway

Just wishing I was navigating a landscape that included a beach and palm trees rather than a crowded subway. Sometimes everything in NYC seems so hard. Albeit it has it’s conveniences but a friend from here just took his kids to LA for spring break and when I asked how it was going his reply was “great! So easy. Unbelievable that we live in NY the way we do and that we choose it…” Couldn’t agree more!

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Man down….two 911 calls in less than a week!

I have captivated all of my friends and family for many years with my dating and daily life stories.  Thus, this blog is my opportunity to share these amusing and ridiculous anecdotes with anyone who is interested, bored with their life, passing time or just has the awesome, shit ass luck to run upon it by chance. If nothing else, you will be entertained… 

Tonight I went out to have a low-key dinner with a girlfriend, Melanie, at JG Melon on the UES. Shortly after we sat down, two women and a man were seated at the table next to us.  To say that the quarters were close would be an understatement as my left shoulder was only a few inches from his left arm. He was a big, sort of unremarkable guy.  They sat and ordered drinks which the waitress promptly spilled on his coat as she delivered them.  He never reacted to the spillage but nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the threesome.

Half way through our meal the large lug got up to go to the bathroom I presume.  He seemed to trip on Melanie’s foot and she apologized profusely as he walked a few more feet and turned the corner just behind her.  About three seconds later we heard a crash and a loud thud as he literally hit the ground like a large tree.  I thought he had just tripped again. But there was quite a ruckus and, as Melanie and I peered around the corner, we saw that he was down on the ground and not getting up. Unconscious.  Jesus, not again I thought.  How could I be involved in another 911 call just four days after the last one for another stranger?!  I turned around to his female companions and said calmly “your friend is on the ground. I really think you need to help him.” The shorter, more seemingly drunk now that I was paying attention brunette replied “oh, he’s fine.” “No he is not. You really need to call 911!” I urged her.  As she got up to survey her damaged friend, the more sober blond looked at us and said “I don’t even know him. We just met tonight.”  As if we cared.  “Call 911” was my retort.  I looked behind the bar and one of the bartenders was on the phone I assumed to the police.  Finally, the remaining non-friend of said man down got someone from 911 on her cell and I heard her report that her male companion was approximately 46 and semi-conscious, drunk and in need of assistance ASAP.  As the commotion around us continued, I looked at my friend and said “I do feel badly for these people but I can’t even get involved in this. And after the other night I truly hope it’s not the same cops!”  Let’s just say that the officers of the NYC police department were not nearly as friendly as the NYC fire department but I do realize that they all have tough jobs and they did save the Japanese tourist’s finger.

I must note that the police arrived much more quickly tonight than they did on Tuesday night.  Slow Friday night I wondered?  Or was it because it was the Upper East Side versus some random hotel on West 48th Street.  Well, it was only 830PM.  Early for NYC on any night of the week.

Several cops managed to get the huge, drunk sad sack situated on a wheelchair of sorts while his female companions scrambled for cash as Melons doesn’t accept credit.  Neither had cash so, unbeknownst to me, Melanie offered to give them cash as did I when I learned they didn’t have any.   I have to admit that other than peering around the corner initially, telling the woman to call 911 and offering them money I didn’t leave my seat.  And I continued to drink my Grey Goose and tonic.  Melanie narrated the scene for me as it was all happening just behind her.  It’s unlike me to not help or engage but perhaps the other night took it out of me a bit, or maybe because it’s Friday and I had a long week, or I just didn’t want to see if any of the officers were duplicates from the other night and deal with what that interaction might entail.   Maybe it’s just that I am exhausted from being back in NYC and from all the weird shit that happens around me on a constant basis and somehow often sticks to me….hence the velcro bit in case you were wondering…..


The Inventory – Chapter 1 of my dating book…

I have captivated all of my friends and family for many years with my dating and daily life stories.  Thus, this blog is my opportunity to share these amusing and ridiculous anecdotes with anyone who is interested, bored with their life, passing time or just has the awesome, shit ass luck to run upon it by chance. If nothing else, you will be entertained… 

Dating in New York. You might think that it is all fun and games. Games maybe. But fun? I would have to say no at this juncture.  Sure I provide endless entertainment with my dating stories for my married friends.  Some are happily married. Most, I would say, are bored, have settled or are just simply unhappy. Many are getting divorced. They remind me that since I am in my late 30s, ok maybe early 40s (UHH) but I look like I’m in my 30s, that really I am just strategically bypassing my first divorce. Now that is a new way to look at it, I guess. Yes, I have left my sunny 30s.  Depressing?  Well, some days yes. But then again some days I look around at the choices I have, and those that friends have made, and I am quite happy, not content which to me connotes something negative, to come home, do what I want, when I want and sleep in the middle of the bed exactly how I want.

The most interesting thing is that I look at the people my friends have married and I am not envious of one. Ok well maybe one but he truly seems to be the most extraordinary person. Granted, I don’t have to live with him, but from what I hear from his wife he seems pretty great. First of all, he is from the South. So the Southern charm and manners come into play, which is usually a bonus. Not that some Northerners don’t have impeccable manners but there is something unique about the Southern man.   They met in med school at my alma mater Tulane.  For their first date he was so nervous he forgot to get cash that day and had to borrow money from a friend to take her out.  They got engaged within 6 months. I thought she was crazy, but I met him soon thereafter when he cooked a five-course meal for my arrival at their home. He even baked the bread. It was ridiculous!

His apartment, for a single guy, was quite well decorated. I did find out later that his mother had helped but so what?!! There was not a leather couch in sight! His father was his best man. The wedding was perfect. He made the curtains for their new house….and I swear he was not the LEAST BIT metro-sexual at all. After the first night when I stayed with them, I awoke to shirtless Steve, ironing his shirt and asking a bleary eyed me if he could do anything for me. Well, looking at his perfect abs I did have some thoughts but I refrained and said coffee would be great. I don’t even drink coffee but I couldn’t even think…I am not a morning person. Never will be.  When Steve left I asked my friend what was wrong with him.  I told her I was convinced there had to be something seriously wrong – was he bad in bed, had a terrible family, give me something to hold onto I said.  No one could be THIS perfect. She said no, he really was THIS perfect. Ok so that is the only one I might be slightly envious of.  They are still married, living back in the South with two beautiful children and both have successful careers as physicians. Damn.

My life, however, is filled with strange dating experiences. They have ranged from blind dates, to meeting people on planes (one of which turned out to be married I learned later and attacked me in the plane bathroom – not the mile high club but some kissing yes….more on that later), meeting in bathroom lines, parties, bars, restaurants, cabs, elevators, on the street, jury duty, work,  on-line dating, through friends, through strangers, movie premiers, the train, the subway, the metro in Paris, the tube in London, the gym, on vacation, on the beach, while on other dates, while interviewing, on a ferry, in the airport (a great place to meet by the way), on the chair lift, library, of course while in school, high school reunions, neighbors and when I lived in LA getting picked up in my car. Before the millennium I had a book written in my head entitled “Cars Not Bars, Dating In The Millennium.” Sounds silly but if you have ever lived in LA you understand. If not, it really doesn’t matter.  Most of my dates end up with nicknames. Let’s see, there was the “mint guy”, “the liar” (who later became a friend but since all my friends knew him as “the liar” his nickname stuck), “catch ya later Kenny”,  “the dumb guy”, “freeway guy” – you get the picture. Anyway, the other night I had perhaps what might be the most bizarre un-dating experience I think I have ever had. And believe me, I have had some doozies.

I wasn’t feeling particularly social but I went to meet a few friends at a restaurant bar because I haven’t seen them in ages.  My friend Janet picked me up in a cab and to the new sushi restaurant in midtown we went.  It was great to be out. Despite the fact that I work from home and usually have plans every night of the week, I hadn’t been out in a week or so and was feeling very out of the loop.  Anyway, immediately upon our arrival at said restaurant bar I met a man, no I have to call him a guy, named Ted. Ted, by his appearance, seemed like a nice, normal, somewhat preppy guy.  He was tall, brown hair with a little salt and pepper, blue shirt, blue blazer, grey trousers. Couldn’t see the shoes although I have always thought shoes do say a lot about a person. He was eager to have me sit next to him and get rid of the people who were taking up what would soon become my prime real estate.  I sat down in the seat next to Ted with my girlfriend on the other side. We did the polite mutual introductions and then he and I started talking.  He seemed intelligent. Always a good quality. Mandatory for me.  You will understand when I tell you about the “dumb guy”.  He was well spoken and we hit it off.  His looks were not particularly striking or handsome but there was something about his eyes that intrigued me.  A bit of a sparkle.

I did the typical NY/LA/American repertoire of asking where he was from, schools he attended and what he currently does for a living.  Now unlike most of my counterparts, I really don’t care what someone does. Do I want them to have a job? Yes.  Do they have to have a somewhat normal job? That is subjective of course but to me it means that they are gainfully employed full time. I decided a few years back that I am too old for this starving actor/musician/finding himself in his mid-30s kind of guy. Doesn’t sound like I am asking too much but give me a starving actor/painter/musician and they will fall in love with me….so NOT my type. I just don’t get it. Sorry if that offends anyone but only one of us should be “finding ourselves” and these days that is me.   Anyway, this one, Ted, appeared to be gainfully employed although he was very evasive about what he actually did. He did inform me that he was golfing that day in Florida, had a breakfast meeting the next morning in NY (which is why he came home) and was going back to Florida the following day to give a speech to a bunch of bankers.  So he thinks he is a big deal. I let it go and stop asking questions about his work. He tells me that these types of questions bore him and that I should ask things that are more personal, things I really want to know.

Now since I was not drinking, because I am on antibiotics and recovering from a bad cold, I don’t have my “alcohol courage” or alcohol as a social lubricant so to speak. He is not drinking either – hung over he had told me.  So I ask him about his family. “All dead” he says. Huh, I start to wonder. My imagination takes over – did he kill them all?  No. I have been watching too much news.  Then it comes up that he is actually married but only because he has no family and wants to leave everything to this so-called best female friend if he should meet his maker unexpectedly. Now I start to think this is a bit strange but I roll with it. I figure he is interesting and my friends are busy talking to a bunch of loud, unhappily married New York men (one of which ends up kissing one of my not so single friends).  I ask if they live together. He says no and mentions that if he meets someone this contract can be dissolved in an instant.  I am more intrigued.  He asks me if I have ever been married and I reply no.  What am I waiting for he asks. I am waiting for the “right” guy.  What is the “right” guy he asks and says directly that maybe HE is the right guy.  I reply “you never know.”  We talk for about 45 minutes or so although I really didn’t pay much attention to the time. He gives me a few back handed compliments and continuously asks me to take a walk with him.  I say that although it sounds like a nice idea, I would like a rain check.  He gently rubs my back as I lean against the bar. It feels pretty good so I let him continue. He asks what I like to do on the weekend. I reply that I like to go to the theater, horseback ride, play tennis in the summer and go to the beach although I avoid the Hamptons.  He hates the Hamptons too. In fact, he says he prefers to go somewhere where there are no New Yorkers.  I say I actually agree. We both like living here but like to get away from the bad attitude that often permeates the landscape of the city.  He asks if I ever just do nothing on the weekend. I reply that I love to do nothing but I tell him that it is much more fun to do nothing with someone than doing nothing alone. He agrees. I say that I did nothing last weekend and had we known each other we could have done nothing together. He smiles.

At this point he has pulled out his credit card to pay his bill. “Leaving so soon?” I ask.  “Not sure” he says – “could go either way” he says looking into my eyes. I smile.  The conversation continues.  At one point my friend Janet interjects and asks what we are talking about. Ted responds that we are getting married. “Really?”  I say in unison with Janet. Yes he says – he explains to Janet that we had early issues in our conversation which we successfully talked through which is important, we have some things in common and we have some sort of instant connection and we are flirting.  I ask where are we getting married. He responds that he doesn’t care. That the marriage is more important than the wedding. GREAT answer.  I have never been one for big, fancy weddings. He says it should be private between two people in love and no one else. I somewhat agree but say that I must have my mom there, as we are quite close (even though she drives me absolutely crazy sometimes). He agrees. The deal is done.  Janet smiles in a knowing way that obviously we have hit it off.  She tells him that she has never, in seven years of friendship, seen me talk to someone I just met this intensely.  I might have to agree I think silently.

While Janet is talking to Ted with me in the middle I ask him if he will leave if I run to the ladies room as I have been holding “it” for quite a long while so I could speak to him. He says he will escort me and get his coat so he can leave.  I go to the ladies room and come out and he is outside the bathroom waiting. He asks for my card and I give him one and I ask if he has one (not that I would ever call him because I don’t call guys generally) and he says no. Typical man I think.  I then offer to walk outside with him.  Something I never do – talk to a stranger the entire evening and walk him to a cab? We exchange niceties about how great it was to meet each other etc…and I wish him luck with his speech and shake his hand.  He leans in for a kiss and I try to position myself so he kisses my cheek but he instead holds my face with his hands and gives me a soft kiss on the lips. Ok kind of inappropriate I think but also kind of nice at the same time.  I smile, say good-bye yet again and walk inside.

I left the bar soon thereafter and got home to find a very sweet email in my in box.  To which I responded with what I thought was appropriate and nice. I talk to a friend on the phone and tell her about my night and say that I met Ted who seemed like a great guy but something seemed a bit “off:” about him given our conversation. I can’t put my finger on it.  She tells me to trust my instincts as they are usually right.  I shrug it off and go to sleep with a smile thinking I had met a truly nice, albeit slightly “off”/eccentric, guy.  The following morning I realize that he is truly nuts and thank god that I never even got to the point of going out with him. The following are the sequence of emails that transpired from my lovely evening when I met my potential husband to our subsequent break up much less than 24 hours later.

Tuesday, March 14 8:19 PM – He wrote

Hi N – Thanks so much for letting me get to know you a bit. Really appreciate it. Was so special that we talked through our rough start. That says a lot, don’t you think?

Wonderful of you to say that it would have been great to spend last weekend doing nothing together. Really appreciate your candor and of course the compliment–am very flattered.  Miss rubbing your back and laughing together. As much as I couldn’t stand being in that place at that time, it felt like we were in our own world.

Good night angel.

Lots of xoxoxos, Ted

Mobile: (917) 694-0000

Tuesday, March 14 10:21 PM – I wrote

Hi Ted –

It was a pleasure to meet you as well!  I didn’t last long after you left…wasn’t really feeling social tonight so it was nice to speak to you and get to know you a bit.  In fact, talking to you was very easy and comfortable in a strange sort of way.  And thank you for the rub!  I hope you have a good breakfast meeting and great trip to see Minnie and Mickey tomorrow.  Give a call when you have time so I can see if you give good phone! I will look forward to getting to know you a bit more….

Happy dreams!


Wednesday, March 15 4:13 AM – He wrote

So nice to wake up and have a message from you! I do hope you’re sleeping soundly. I was asleep within 15 minutes after getting home but now I am up. Boy do I wish you were right next to me so I could give you a squeeze and a kiss. Can’t believe you left shortly after I did! If we better coordinated the timing of our leaving, we would have made love this morning instead of typing away!

What’s your cell number?

Wednesday, March 15 8:29 AM – I wrote

I was sleeping soundly at that hour….are you one of those people who needs no sleep? Did you actually get up at 4:15AM? If so UHHHH! FYI – I rarely use my cell – I know I am one of those strange people but best place to reach me is the work # (I work from home).  And, for the record, I don’t ever go home with strangers – just not that girl sorry but it is a nice thought….thanks for the sweet emails! Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 15 8:39 AM – He wrote


Wednesday, March 15 8:54 AM – I wrote

What does that mean? Or are you just an angry morning person b/c you have been up forever?

Wednesday, March 15 9:18 AM – He wrote

It means that how I’m feeling with this is that it’s not for me. Think it would be too much work for me and I won’t work when I’ve just met someone and there’s no foundation there. Want the foundation to come together effortlessly, and in this case it won’t. I know that for sure. Nobody’s fault.

Wednesday, March 15 9:18 AM – He wrote

I’ll be more specific about why I lost interest. It was the accumulation of a bunch of things. Here’s a partial list, going by memory, since I don’t have our emails in front of me. Again, nobody to blame. Just different approaches.

Rather than the “I don’t sleep with people on the first night” crapola, how about “You know, I thought it was great when I gave you my cheek and you took my lips. Really appreciate your being a man about it. Felt great. Would have loved to keep going but was concerned about stigma. Hope you understand.”

Rather than “Are you one of those people who doesn’t sleep?”, how about “How come up so early? Is everything okay?” Shows you care.

Frankly, I expected more from a 30 something year old!

Wednesday, March 15 10:14 AM – I wrote

Wow – talk about reading into things….how about I am not a morning person and just wanted to shoot you off a quick one before I got started on my back to back conference calls….sorry you don’t like my phrasing but I think your emails are completely unwarranted and frankly mean. I thought your email last night was adorable and I was truly looking forward to looking into those eyes again. You really shouldn’t judge people so incredibly harshly when you don’t even know them!  It was delightful to meet you, spend time with you and chat but to send me these types of emails are incredibly judgmental and frankly I am shocked!  To use your categorical phrasing – I would expect more of someone with your intelligence and savvy.  If that’s all it took for you to lose interest then it is most certainly your loss and I frankly feel sorry for you.  Regardless, I hope you have a good day and your speech goes well!

Wednesday, March 15 10:15 AM – I wrote

And also rereading your emails – yes your wording may have been better than mine but I cannot think clearly nor do I have the ability to be tactful sometimes in the AM – that is just me – never been a morning person not even when I used to get up at 4:30AM to skate. Just me. But still feel your judgment is unduly harsh but you are entitled to your opinion. Have to jump on a call as I am already late but wanted to respond.

Wednesday, March 15 10:43 AM – He wrote

Isn’t a rule of thumb that if a shoe doesn’t feel right the instant you try it on, don’t buy it?

Obviously you and I have some chemistry. But you’d have to agree that for whatever reasons, the rest is a mess.

Thank you for your good wishes. Same to you.



Unbelievable — the exchange that I had had with this stranger, who knew me not at all. And all before noon!  I couldn’t make this up if I tried.  It was worse than the “Sex in the City” episode where Carrie gets broken up with on a Post It.  I got dumped by email before even being asked on a date after being proposed marriage!  Fascinating!  Such is my life.


You will be entertained….too good to make up.

I have captivated all of my friends and family for many years with my dating and daily life stories.  Thus, this blog is my opportunity to share these amusing and ridiculous anecdotes with anyone who is interested, bored with their life, passing time or just has the awesome, shit ass luck to run upon it by chance. If nothing else, you will be entertained… 

I just spent two weeks in the SF Bay area and, upon returning, the contrast to NYC is stark.  When I first arrived in SF, I was struck by how many homeless people there were.  I have rarely been afraid in NYC during the almost 13 years in which I have lived here and I must admit that I had a few moments during my first 24 hours in SF when I was genuinely afraid. I think the homeless people in the area of my hotel significantly outnumbered the non-homeless population.   I was staying near Union Square on the borderline of the Tenderloin – a name that I found odd at first but it really somehow suits the area and it painted the landscape a bit for me.  However, as soon as I returned to NYC last week I noticed a couple things.  There are fewer homeless people in New York City but the people who have homes are much more mean than they were in SF.   Most people are extremely friendly and tolerant in SF.  People SMILE in SF (I love to smile and do so as often as possible).  Not so much in New York (apologies to my few dear wonderful NY friends).  New Yorkers take pride in walking down the street and not looking one another in the eye. Head down and walk.  NYC Mantra.  The climate in SF is more friendly to all it seems especially at this time of year and it appears that the laws are much more homeless-friendly.  Their signage is also extremely innovative – eg. “I’m not going to lie, it’s for booze.”  I don’t know about you, but I am more inclined to pony up a few coins to someone who has put some effort into their marketing campaign.

When I left my house the first afternoon after getting back to NYC, my first interaction was with my dry cleaner who had torn my dress.  Rather than apologizing he said “nothing lasts forever.”  Really?  Way to retain your customer. Thereafter, I got in a cab to go see the Allman Brothers and the driver screamed  at me because I didn’t know the exact address. What is confusing about west 70 something and Amsterdam or Columbus? There are many, many more stories but tonight really hit home and made me realize that I do need to let others derive entertainment and pleasure from my crazy every day/night life.

I went to a networking event after a conference that I didn’t attend.  Needless to say that I’m trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up but lately I have not been in any mood to network with folks in a business that I have no idea how I fell into.  Back to that later but the event was good.  Met some cool folks and ended up at a dinner.  I have a small bladder. Goddamn it is all I have to say. I have learned more from bathroom visits than perhaps I have during my every day life. If any of my colleagues from dinner read this please remind me about the market research reality television show idea – it has to do with the ladies room.

So I went to the bathroom and therein began the rest of my evening.  While I was in the restaurant bathroom I heard the absolutely most awful screeching sound from behind the wall behind me.  It was an extremely high-pitched woman’s scream that almost surpassed my English Bulldog’s screech as I drove him from Phila to NYC after his total knee reconstruction.  I walked out and asked the restaurant manager what that noise was.  Busy on his iPhone he said he was too busy to deal.  Instead of going back to my table, I turned around and walked into the hallway of the hotel that was, unbeknownst to me, attached to the restaurant and saw a crowd outside of the bathroom.   I asked if these people knew what was going on. “No” in unison.  “Are you her friend?’ “No” again. Why isn’t anyone doing anything I thought as I entered the bathroom honestly assuming I was about to walk into a horrible domestic violence situation but still in I went.

The screeching continued and I quickly walked into the last of three stalls on the right and saw a young Asian woman crouching on the floor to left of the toilet with the middle finger of her right hand stuck in the hole that you press to flush the toilet.  Screeching. Blood. Running down her wrist a bit. Holy shit I thought.  I have always had the ability to be calm in a crisis.  Any crisis but my own that is.  I screamed for the manager while I rubbed her back and repeatedly told her everything would be ok.  A young guy came in with the maintenance man for the hotel who tried to pull her finger out.  Super screeching from said girl.  No this is not going to work I thought and said out loud. “Call 911 and get the fire department here!” So much for my networking dinner.  I told the maintenance man that he needed to unscrew the front so we could look inside. He followed my instructions.

For the next 20-25 minutes, I sat on the floor and reassured this young Japanese girl that she was not going to lose her finger.  The only two things she cared about were whether she was going to lose her finger and the fact that she couldn’t pay for the medical bills that might ensue.  I still haven’t decided if this was a reflection of what foreigners think of our American health system or if she was just a very conscientious twenty-something tourist Japanese girl.  That said, these were the only two somewhat understandable English phrases this woman could utter. Over and over. “No lose my finger” and “can’t pay for hospital” and I got it.  And was on it.  I am a make-shit-happen sort of person. I have built a career on this characteristic alone.  God knows how many people heard her screeching – that is truly the only way to describe the sound and no one helped.  Humans are so perplexing to me.  I have never understood people who aren’t doers but are watchers.  They sit on the sidelines and never make anything happen and perhaps that is a blessing for them.  I wish I could be one of those people at times but I can’t just walk on by.

I continued to rub her back and reassured her that she wasn’t going to lose her finger while I yelled at the slow-as-a-glacier staff to get the fire department in there to cut the metal around her finger.  She thanked me over and over.  I just didn’t want her to lose her finger.  She was pretty and young and god knows this was a vacation she would always remember.  Finally the police department arrived and then the fire department. I was asked if I was a relative. I solicited a staff member of the hotel to get one of the female colleagues that I didn’t even know at my table and instead in walked my new favorite person of the night. Greg.  At least I have a witness to the weirdness that my bathroom trip had turned into.  Long story longer….I almost got arrested for just trying to help. The girl kept her finger and was taken away in an ambulance while her bizarre friend asked for my card, thanking me profusely.  Thank god I didn’t have one on me. Where was she when we needed her?

I went back to my table where everyone had continued to eat and have some sort of pleasant conversation I am sure. No one on my end of the table had any idea of the night I had just had and I think they were a bit overwhelmed by my brief synopsis of the story.  They had finished their dinner.  My elevated pulse and the fact that I couldn’t get the martini that I really wanted and had to settle for really bad, warm chardonnay really sealed the deal.  In reality, I am glad I spent the night in the bathroom and I helped someone that no one else would help. And that makes all the difference to me.  I am now sitting on my floor having that martini while I write this however….

So this is my life…and this is just the beginning.