notes from the road

Change o’ plans again?

08/02/09
I didn’t write yesterday because I thought my decision was final and that my journey here in New York was all but done. I surfed the net and read in libraries and jogged, walked and enjoyed Central park – for the first time listening to my ipod. Today though was a different story. Late last night I agreed with a big friendly black guy called Marvin to go to a Church service in the morning (when in Harlem it would be a pity not to see any singing no?). So this morning I went with him, an Italian guy from my room, and a Dutch guy from another hostel that Marvin had met the night before. Marvin is one of those happy, super friendly guys that everyone he meets he makes friends with, and he meets many people. His Dutch pal David is probably the coolest person I have ever met. He pretty well only wears black suits with white collored shirts underneath, is a writer, taught himself philosophy and astronomy, has thick accent and a deep voice and looks like Adrian Brody. He also smokes cigarettes, which fits the image a little too well – almost making him seem a little cliche – but not quite. I was quite tired and seemed to still be in a hostile, non friendly, I want to be alone mood, which I’ve noticed I seem to get into sometimes when I am alone and want company. Despite this I enjoyed their company and I think the feeling was mutual. Later on that day I went to see Marvin sing Jazz songs at a later Church service on 107th street between Broadway and Amsterdam. Afterwards at the dinner for a donation (yeah!) I got talking to a Polish guy Martin – probably because he looked like me with longish hair and a beard. He was a lovely chap – has a wife and baby and has been over here for three years. Something in our conversation sparked an idea for me. If I’m going to extend my visa then why not try and find a job that I am interested in? Perhaps it drove home how much I working as an online chat person wasn’t what I wanted my career to be when I responded to Martin’s question of what I was going to do in LA, and almost felt embarrasment when I said my plans.

I feel like a bit of a duffer changing my plans so much, but so be it, nothing is solid at the moment. I contacted Meaghan a high up recently ex worker at TOMS who has spent some time in New York and asked her what she thought my chances might be getting work in New York, and I sent in an application for a event marketing job that I am actually really excited about – I think I made a pretty good job of the application too, though it might depend what they are after. The add was for a entry level position, for serious career minded people who didn’t want to be stuck in the office the whole time and it pays $30 000 a year ($6k more than TOMS). The only pickle now is that I think the TOMS guys will call me tomorrow. I don’t want to turn that one down as it is better than a kick in the pants, but I’d like to see what is out there. Hopefully Meaghan will get in contact with me also some time soon. I might go ahead with the TOMS thing, and I can always pull out at some time. Humph. I guess another good position to be in.

Here is something that I do have to learn though – how to say no to homeless people. Or not necesarily that, but what I can do to help them without busting all my finances. Today when I was walking to Church the second time I guy in a wheel chair asked me for $28 so that he could stay over night at a hostel, and that on the 5th he would have money and would pay me back if I met him on the same corner at 6:00. I gave him $40 (as close as I could get from an ATM) and remembered what time he said and where. Later coming back a guy offered to show me some card tricks, he did, and they were very good – getting my card to come out of his mouth folded up. I only had $1 on me and when I gave it to him he was very dissapointed and I didn’t want things to turn ugly. They probably wouldn’t have, but I complied with his girlfriends suggestion to use an ATM just to be on the safe side. I offered to buy him food, but he said the shelter gave them that and he needed to save up for clothes. I asked him not to spend it on booze or cigerettes, and he said he wouldn’t because his grandma had taught him to honour someones word. Apparently he has a physical disability, and his girlfriend has a mental disability and they are unemployable. So I parted with another $10. Both these people that I gave money too really needed it, and more so than I do. But I am running quite low on my own money – only $300 or so left, so I can barely afford it myself. It was odd when I was listening to the man in the wheel chair tell me why he didn’t have any legs and that he was losing elasticity in his face and that parts of his fingers were falling off, I thought, it’s ok, it’s not my obligation to give this man money, society doesn’t make me and I can walk off at any moment and not be doing a bad thing. Then I caught myself thinking this and was shocked. There must be something I can do to help and I believe that I am not un-obligated.

Oh, also from my readings from Magic yesterday I realised that he set up the starbucks right around the corner from where I am staying now. I checked it out today, had a coffee and did some reading in it actually, and there is a photo of him inside there – cool eh?

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