So my first week in the city ended with a free three hour self defense course on Friday evening. I went home a little tipsy (they gave us cider) and happy. Yes, that seems counterintuitive: a women’s self defense course located in a dojo in one of the many darkened warehouse streets of the city that ended at 10 pm and let us free with alcohol in our veins. But I promise it wasn’t that weird. We had plenty of time to digest and eat chips and chat and make friends to walk to the train with and it was exactly what I had wanted to do once I got to New York. They did warn us that the moves we learned needed to be practiced—they cautioned us against becoming overconfident for having momentarily excelled at maneuvers that needed to become second nature to ever be of use. But I will say that it was exceptionally empowering to learn about—to understand—my body as a thing of force, rather than a thing to be invaded. And once having had that sense, it is easier to envision future potentialities without fear.
The rest of the week I trained for the host position I’d interviewed for on Tuesday. I am happy to say I am officially on the schedule now, even if the promised “full time” hours never materialize. It is good just to know I’ll be getting a paycheck in a few weeks. I had another interview on Thursday or so, and could not tell them what my availability would be until the other job scheduled me. The places have similar hours though, so it looks like, if the second still works out, I will mostly be working at night. That leaves daytime for ‘real job’ applications, portfolio work, and room for a publishing internship/job come fall.
The weekend also brought Brooklyn Pride Parade and a great night of dancing afterwards. One of the things I miss most about New College is the ‘Walls’: our school-wide parties on Fridays and Saturdays that centers around dancing and drank. I love dancing, sober and otherwise, and didn’t get to do it much this past year in any public venue. That feeling of ‘ecstatic wonder’ that the best of New College experience embodies is what we hope to take with us when we graduate.
Saturday and Sunday I went in for the rest of training for the brunch shift. I was posted as a door host (read: one of those idiots standing outside attempting to smile but not too creepily at passerby) and spent the best of the time chatting with my fellow hostess, Kim. This work environment is very communal, at least from what I’ve seen. There are ‘family dinners’ at four and the staff often goes out after work together. It’s exactly the type of place I wanted to work to start putting out some feelers and setting down roots. And I don’t know why I can’t seem to cease to be surprised that anywhere you go you can meet people that feel like people you have met before—call it ‘archetypes’ or ‘casting,’ or whatever you will. But that too is reassuring in a macro sense.
It was while attempting to smile at passing (mostly hetero) couples invitingly without essentially flirting with just the male counterparts (easier said than done when it proved easier to catch their eyes) and while trying not to make mental/visual comparisons of myself to other images (also beckoning, also trying to sell something) that the dog shat. A small black spaniel a few steps behind his owner started crouching down and the next thing we knew, there were blood clot splatters literally only in front of our doorstep. The owner apologized with a hurried “Oh I’m so sorry, we just got back from the vet’s and he’s still having problems” but produced no poop bag, which would have been impractical given the consistency. I burst out laughing and Kim, horrified, spent the next ten minutes tossing water onto the sidewalk in between unsuspecting passerby. During that time, I am pretty sure I saw the guy who looks like Andrew Garfield but isn’t (let’s call him a C-lister). He was tall, dressed smartly, and walked with purpose through the crowd while talking on his Bluetooth with that air of absolute focus…. that most New Yorkers maintain. But I’m still pretty sure he was a ‘someone.’