Monday, October 06, 2014 Has Nothing on Me

I have a rule that I never post about my social life on the Internet. I know that may sound weird coming from someone who has no qualms sharing the most embarrassing things about his life online and onstage, but we all have to have a line, and that’s mine. It’s mainly out of respect for the other party.

But, I love this story too much to keep it to myself. So this one time, I’m making an exception.  About two and half weeks ago, I somehow managed to score a first date with a beautiful girl named Evgeniya. She had walked into my Verizon store to buy a phone charger, and I was instantly attracted. She was tall, Russian, and had a strong, lovely accent. I kept her talking, trying to figure out a non-awkward way of asking her out.

Which I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to be doing with customers.

Anyway, I chickened out. I started kicking myself. What are the chances she’d come in again? Probably nil. Then I thought: maybe I can find her on Facebook! Using the information she gave me, I found her profile and sent her a friend request.

Which I’m also pretty sure I’m not supposed to be doing with customers.

Long story short, I managed to eventually charm my way into the aforementioned date. It went well enough. I found that she owns her own business, and has lived in New York City for six years. She’s already well-established in the Big Apple. I’m currently renting a living room from a friend. I decided not to mention this. I knew I had some work to do to impress her.

The next day at work was “iPhone Day”, the first day we could sell the new iPhone 6. The store was a madhouse, flooded with Apple nerds begging for their new toy. Realizing we’d be slammed all day, our Regional Directors ordered pizzas for all of our stores. I hardly touched any. The only other rep had a couple of pieces. And the end of the day, we still had a pie and a half left.

“Do you want any of this?” asked my coworker Greg.

“No,” I replied.

“I guess I’ll throw it out, then.”

“No, don’t waste it. Give it to me, I’ll find some homeless guy to give it to.”

Greg looked at me weirdly. “You’re going to go wander around Astoria looking for a homeless dude?”

“It’s New York City,” I said. “It won’t take long.”

“Be careful, man. Seriously.”

I left the store with the pizza, and honestly had no idea where to go. You see homeless guys in NYC all the time, but how the hell do you intentionally find one? As predicted though, I didn’t have to walk very far. Strolling down 30th Ave near a train station, I saw three dirty-looking guys engaging in an animated conversation in another language. I walked up to them and asked loudly, “Hey! Are you guys hungry?”

These guys were ECSTATIC. One guy grabbed the box, thanked me, and excitedly shook my hand. The second guy did the same. The third guy shook my hand and spoke in a language I couldn’t understand. All three were laughing. The third guy wouldn’t let go of my hand. He kept shaking it.

“He’s saying ‘Thank you’,” said the second guy.

The third guy kept talking. It was an awfully long ‘thank you’. I was laughing and smiling, but I also wanted my hand back. All three of them were laughing and smiling too. I was beginning to think they wanted me to hang out and watch them eat. I started feeling a little awkward. The third guy was still talking.

All of a sudden, over my shoulder, I heard: “Um, Joe?”

Hand still firmly in the third guy’s grasp, I turned and looked.

It was Evgeniya.

At this instant, these things ran through my mind:

A) There are over eight million people in New York City.

B) There are hundreds and hundreds of blocks in New York City.

C) The ONE person of those eight million that I gave a damn about making a positive impression with just walked down the ONE block I happened to be on where I’m apparently just "hanging out" with homeless people.

D) Oh, and let’s not forget that the previous night I never mentioned my accommodations.

To her credit, Evgeniya instantly recognized what was going on, and laughed. Really laughed. For fifteen solid minutes. She couldn’t even speak, she was laughing so hard. And yes, I was laughing too. I offered to walk her home.

As we were leaving, one of the homeless guys yelled out, “She’s a catch!”

I think he may be right.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Subway

I was down in the 15th St-Prospect Park subway terminal seated on a bench, waiting for the F-train, pretty much pissed off that I had to go in to the city on my day off for a last-minute breakfast with the Regional Directors of my company. As it always does on weekends, the F-train was taking its sweet ass time getting there.

A 20-ish girl walked up to sit next to me. She was heavy-set, African American and had a little space between her two front teeth when she smiled. As she sat, she accidentally kicked my shoe.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry." Her voice was sweet and melodic.

"No problem," I responded.

"I'm sorry," she repeated.

"It's really no problem." We smiled at each other.

We ended up next to each other on the train as well. Standing next to her was a 30-ish guy carrying lacrosse equipment. She smiled and asked him if he played soccer.

"No, lacrosse." he smiled. "A lot less running around." She laughed. Obviously she was no sports expert.

I should pause here to mention that small talk is uncommon on the subway. Everybody usually kind of stares straight ahead or buries their face in a book or their phone. She apparently is unaware or doesn't care about that.

They both shared a laugh over something I missed. At the next stop as she was getting off, she looked at me, smiled, and said "Have a nice day!"

"You like to spread positivity, don't you?" I asked.

"I try."

"I like that."

"Thank you. Have a great day."

I'm generally a pretty positive person, but I think lately I've kind of let myself slip into negativity. I've been working and commuting a tremendous amount of hours, haven't had much time for the gym, the stage or even a social life, and it's probably starting to show. But that girl made me feel a lot better. And guess what--the breakfast I had with my RDs went fantastic. My schedule should start freeing up soon.

I'm not religious at all, but I do think the Universe gives you what you manifest. And, every once in a while, it'll send you a message. I don't think meeting that girl was an accident. I think that was just life telling me, "Hey, you got this. Keep your chin up."