Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Getting My Affairs in Order

Ahhh. The carpet is swept, the Febreeze has been sprayed, rent check written, and bank deposit made. What a busy day for this Broad Meadow New Yorker. Now of course it helped that today didn't start with a bourbon on the rocks or a hungover recollection of what I may have done last night (just kidding mother . . .). You may think going to the gym, tanning, and getting your back shaved are shallow pursuits, but they are very important to a young actor living in New York. Clearly you don't live in an area where people have ready access to the beach all the summer (not that I've been, but that's a different story). I won't say that I have become shallower since moving to the city, but I will say that I certainly have had to up my game. A typical lack of fast food drive-ups and giant Gulp size sodas seems to make for a fitter, more attractive population. That and a greater abundance of wealth and Botox. Running through my errands, carefully marked down in a neat list on a stolen Locale waiter pad, some tasks took only a few minutes ("charge phone," "look up the Arthur remake"), while others required considerably more time and energy ("gym," "blog"). After hitting the gym, I did usual circuit of tanning/library/bank/grocery, looping from my place to Steinway, to Broadway, and back again. While the tanning and the iced green tea from Starbucks that accompanied it were fairly easy, both the bank and the library attempted to throw me a curb ball. Checking out my usual load of books and movies (it's research, I swear), the automated self-checkout informed me i owed $21 in fines. Having just paid a large set of fines the day before, I informed the attendant that this simply was not true. While she tried to make sense of the squibbles on the screen, my persistent righteousness and piercing glance told her she better get her braids in a ball and call the supervisor. Enter a very white male librarian. After he too was confused by what he saw on the screen, yet tried to tell me I had no idea what I was talking about, I pressed harder for freedom, eventually getting him to wave the fees. Sucker. Now, such a sanction would never have been granted, if I was the Latina lady standing next to me with her litter of children. Sorry bout it. Crossing the street to the bank, I got in the long line to deposit to tiny checks. Enter my next customer service wonder, a plump business woman in shiny spike heels and business coat named "Ntina." Like a siren, she lured me to her desk to complete my deposit, me thinking I was some sort of Chase VIP. After filling out my deposit ticket, she confirmed my name, address, telephone number, employer, shoe size, Zodiac sign, and eye color. Then she offered to open another credit card for me, a savings account, a rewards program, and a new feature called "Person2Person Pay" that allows you to email people money. After fervently saying "No," to each of her questions, I finally had my transaction completed. On leaving the bank, I duly noted there was no line. For some reason, the Chase associates make me feel more naked than a 7th grade physical.
Returning home from my Astoria circuit, I took a shower and gatehred steam for my last to-do. In my quest for completeness, I ventured to industrial Woodside, walking next to a major highway, in search of my case of Zagat-recommended wines. Noticing a great deal in the mail, I could not pass it up, exchanging my credit card # for 12 bottles of wine plus this special offer of 4 tasting glasses and tasting notes for each wine (!!!!). After a few failed deliveries, and one troubled conversation with 1.800.Fedex.Go, I realized that I would have to put in some real work to get my discounted wine. Having lost one online purchase to the Post Office, I was determined to Get That Wine. Noting the chain metal fences and broken down cars, I was glad I was performing this chore in daylight. How quickly cheery little Astoria melted into deserted streets, warehouses, and highway. After trekking on foot to the Fedex Home Delivery Office (not as flashy as your regular Fedex/Kinko's), the associate helped me locate my package, kindly letting my Indiana ID slide for proof of age and residency. If my cardinal-embossed license should attempt to interfere with my next wine pursuit, I may just have to make a visit to the local BMV (the NYC/Queens BMV? Now that is a blog waiting to happen). After noting its exorbitant weight ("Shit, that's heavy. Oh, excuse me"), she retrieved my package from the back, scanning it into the system as "picked up" and looking at me like I was crazy for walking to the Delivery Center. "Don't worry," I said, "I am going to call a car." Pushing SEND on my contact "Taxi Cab," I hustled my box to the corner and waited for a creeping black car. After an initial worry the car couldn't find me, I waved my hand, large box in tote, attracting the attention of another yellow cab and strange looks from the local residents. Waving the cab along, I stepped into the car sent especially for me. Wine in the trunk, I did my best Anna Wintour, sitting cross-legged with sunglasses mounted on my face in the back seat, silently taking in the car ride. I recalled that moment at the end of The Devil Wears Prada when Meryl Streep turns to Anne Hathaway and says, "This is what everyone wants to be." Looking over my crazed afternoon, I thought, "Yes indeed."

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