Sunday, December 31, 2017

10 Things I Learned in New York -- Front Desk Clerk

Part 2 -- Front Desk Clerk

The hotels--and buildings in New York--were a lot different from what I expected.  For one, they're super compact.  The elevator in our hotel even had a sign announcing it is "consolidated": fancy word meaning 2 people will physically fit there, even if the sign reads "limit 7."  That saying "packed like sardines in a can," well, it must've come from New York!
     In the cheap hotel we picked, people plastered themselves against the wall just to let others pass by.  And my husband, a man of average height yet exceptionally broad shoulders, only had a couple inches of clearance on each side of him in the hallway.  
    Anyway, after arriving at the hotel, the front desk clerk looked at me strangely as I continued waving at him until he gave me his full attention.  "Ummm, can you?" he asked.
    "I just wanted to see how your day's going."
    "Well, it's average...."
    "Average?!  Are you kidding me?  You work in New York.  You, my friend, you're livin' the dream."
    At this point, Mike (my husband) chuckled. I remind him daily--he got into this marriage voluntarily!
    "This isn't the dream, ma'am."
    I set my suitcase (which would hardly fit through the teensy hallway) next to Mike.  My feet sprinted over to the front desk clerk and then I faced the same direction as him.  "You see out that door?"
    He nodded warily.
    "Out there is so much excitement.  It's just waiting for YOU!"
    The man snorted and couldn't help smiling.
    "You're not from here, are you?"
     "You from Texas?"  
     "No--I'm from Idaho!"
     "And, you, lady from Idaho?  Are you livin' the dream?" he asked.
     "We all are."  I grinned.  "It happens when you simply realize it.  Life can get so messy, so miserable, so hard.  But it can also be amazing...if we embrace it.  We're still alive aren't we--it's a good time to act like it!"
     He quieted and instead of looking patronizing, his eyes studied me and then he nodded.  "Okay." He looked from me to Mike and laughed.
    "Goodnight," Mike said in his low voice.
    "Have a good one," the front desk clerk said.
    As we waited for our tiny elevator, I heard another tourist ask the desk clerk how he was doing, I couldn't help grinning when he told them he was "livin' the dream."

What I learned from him: people can be in the best place ever--the land of opportunity--and not even realize how amazing that is.      
    Sometimes we all need a reminder that life can be crap, but it can also be the best thing ever.  

Perspective has the power to change the quality of our lives.

Signing Off for Today,
EC Stilson 

To read Part 1 of this series, please click HERE.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

10 Things I Learned in New York -- The Taxi Driver

Part 1 -- A Taxi Driver

Mike and I arrived in New York while darkness ate even the stars.  Lights shone brightly from looming buildings, and even though I felt like an ant, I couldn't wait to see everything and meet everyone!
    A taxi driver pulled to the curb at the airport.  Mike had called him shortly after we landed, so we didn't have to flag anyone down.  The drive to the hotel was a bit crazy--and long; cars jerked back and forth; the driving lanes seemed much smaller than the kind we have in Idaho.
    After a while, the driver asked us where we're from.  
    "Idaho," Mike said.
    "Are the freeways different over there?"
   "Oh, yeah!" Mike said.
    I laughed so hard--I nearly choked.  "Idaho...doesn't have rush hour.  Idaho has mostly two-lane freeways.  We don't have traffic--we have potatoes.  Potatoes and deer."
    The driver glanced at us in the rearview mirror and smiled.  "So, what brought you to The City?"
    "He bought me a ticket to New York for Christmas.  I have a kind of strange bucket list--and one of the items on it is playing my violin on the streets of New York."
    "You're too young to have a bucket list," he said.
    "Not in this traffic!" I said.
    "The violin, huh?  You're in a band."
    "A huh," I said.  "And you play something too?!" I could tell by how he gripped the wheel. Years of playing an instrument, well that changes how people hold things. 
    "The drums," he said.  "I used to be in a band--thought we'd go somewhere.  But I'm too old now, so I quit."
    "You're never too old." It was a stark rebuttal--but I meant it.
    Mike and I held hands in the back seat, and I smiled at my sexy Italian.  I couldn't believe I married a man who gives me my dreams for Christmas.
    "So," I finally said to the cabbie, "if you could give us one piece of advice--one thing for us to remember from this ride--what would you tell us?"
    He thought for a minute before responding. "Well.... I've been married for almost 30 years.  My wife, she might be opinionated, and I might have to give in...a lot, but Heaven brought that woman to me.  When I was young, I had more women than I wanted.  I'd go out in this crazy city--and girls would just find me.  And then I started getting older...and it's strange what time can do to a man. Once I couldn't have enough women.  Then I started wanting something different.  Just one, you know?
    "So I tried giving my ex a call.  Was gonna tell her I wanted to settle down.  But I dialed one wrong number.  You know we didn't have cell phones, or even those cordless ones. It was one of them rotary phones.  Well, I dialed the wrong number and a girl answered.  I married that girl a while later and now it's been almost thirty years."
     I could see his eyes; he stared out the windshield nostalgically, probably thinking about all the years with his wife.  "Sometimes in life you might think you got the wrong number, but you actually got the right one.  People think they should: go back and make other choices, change things, be different. If we accept mistakes, they can make our lives better than before.  You remember that--it's coming from a has-been musician who drives cabs to put his daughters through college!"
    As he pulled up to our hotel, I thought of that saying: God doesn't always give us what we want. He gives us what we need."
    "Thank you," Mike and I both told as we got out of the cab. 
    "I'll never forget what you said." I waved.  "And I want you to remember something from me too--you're not too old to play the drums.  Maybe you met us so we could hear your story, and then I could tell you to pick your drums back up again!"
    "Okay," he smiled fondly.  "Have a great time in New York." 
    We shut the door, and he sped off between those mammoth buildings.