Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New York Sightseeing (it's not what you think)

One some days at some times, life seems to be a perpetual uphill climb. You know those days. The ones when no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to go your way. The days when you grumble, complain, and toil in the face of inevitable failure. Yeah. i had one of those days yesterday. The silver lining to my gloomy Thursday, though, was that I had my first accidental new New York experience. It wasn't fabulous like fashion week or dangerous like paintball, but I gained a bit of information yesterday that may be useful for future endeavors. At least it was useful for my purposes yesterday. Here's how it went down (bear with me, folks; a little exposition first):

On Thursday morning, I had a scheduled meeting with my fabulous agents on Park Avenue. They had requested that I bring with me a stack of new headshots to my meeting. For those of you normal non-actor folk, resumes are stapled to the back of 8 x 10 pictures of actors, a veritable calling card for auditions. So, every time someone needs a "headshot", I must print out my resume, staple it to the back of my photo in four corners, and trim the edges of the 8 1/2 x 11 resume to align with the 8 x 10 photo. Knowing I had to do this approximately thirty times before Thursday morning, I traipsed over to the Office Max on Wednesday between shows to purchase some new black ink for my printer. Good girl, Michelle. Way to think ahead. 

Around midnight on Wednesday night, I decided to forego the DVR'ed men's episode of American Idol (they kind-of suck this season, anyway, right?) and get to work on my resumes. Yeah. Not so much. My printer, unbeknownst to me, was out of cyan ink as well as black ink. What the heck kind of color is cyan anyway? And it refused to print anything. Cyan or black. No matter how many times I tried. Okay, no problem. I called my neighbor, "Rach, can I email myself my resume and print it out on your printer (30 times)?". Nope. Rachael had left her computer at work. That's okay, I could print from my computer on her printer. Three strikes, me. Her printer wasn't installed on my computer. By this time, it was 1am. I decided to call it a night and figure it out in the morning.

The next morning, I got up early, donned my impress-everybody-at-my-agency-with-how-tall-and-skinny-I-am heels and hopped on the bus. After running numerous errands, I had exactly 50 minutes to put together the resumes and head east to Park Avenue. I sidled up to the Staples Copy Center on 47th and 8th. "I need to print from an email". "We don't have email service here", the woman answered while playing with her tongue ring. "I just need to print a one page document from an email. You mean to tell me that the STAPLES doesn't have internet access?". "Yep. Not for you." She smacked her large lip lined lips. UGH!!! Why is it ALWAYS so dang hard. My feet were hurting, I was going to be late, and some delinquent was giving me attitude on Eighth Avenue! I pulled out the only thing left in my bag of tricks. I cried. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I cry on cue. No, it's not an acting thing. It's physical. I kind-of pullback my lower jaw and pull up my ears . . . whatever. It worked. "Oh, hun. They have computers across the street at the sightseeing place". What?!? I picked up my ego, threw it into my bag, and ran across the street. 

The Grayline New York Sightseeing Headquarters is bright, tacky, and covered in photos of New York sights. It's the place where they sell tickets to the big red double decker bus tours and the Circle Line. I have walked past this place thousands of times. And pushed over many a tourist on its sidewalks. I couldn't believe I was entering this tacky place. I could have my New Yorker card confiscated for this, I thought. Hey, I was desperate. And time was running out. I took a deep breath and walked in. The building, unlike the exterior, was spacious and brightly lit. An information desk sat at the center of the space and wrought iron picnic tables were scattered in the space around it. A few cheery employees in red vests were speaking various languages to tourists surrounding the desk. I found a free red-vested person. "I need to print something out from the internet". The grey haired woman smiled and pointed me toward the back of the building. Well, at least she was nicer than the woman at Staples. I followed her directions to a small table with two computers, swiped my credit card, and downloaded my resume. 30 cents per minute. Pretty standard, I thought. Then, I pressed print. To the tune of thirty copies. I turned back to the computer to log off and prepared myself for the total to be applied to my card. With all of those copies, it had to be ridiculous. I opened my eyes. $1.50. What!?!? No charge for the copies. I laughed. Eat that, Staples! And a quiet, clean computer in midtown to boot! 

I took my free copies to a table and spread out my travel stapler, scissors, and photos, and went to work. For a good fifteen minutes. Nobody bothered me. I mean, nobody. No tourists, no employees. Nobody. This seemed to be the one place in the city that a person could go and rest indoors for free. (Other than the library - see other blog). My only company was a Times Square cop at a table across from me reading a book. He'd figured out the secret as well. Now, don't get me wrong, the sightseeing headquarters had no frills. Patio furniture on what looked like white linoleum did not a comfy living room make, but for me at that time, it was just as good. 

Sometimes living and/or working in the city is much harder than anyone (including ourselves) could ever imagine. Walking everywhere hurts our feet and kills our shoes, heavy bags give us headaches and knots in our shoulders, we spend an average of over an hour and a half per day commuting around 22.7 square miles of land, and most of us New Yorkers go through at least ten umbrellas per year. It's nice to know that we have the option to go hang in a sparse little living room in midtown if we have days like yesterday when everything seemed to be going wrong. Oh, but guess what? I got to my meeting on time. With all of my headshots. See? Maybe it wasn't such a bad day after all.

No comments: