"You mess this up and I will have your ass on the first flight back to the bootheal". This was one of the first things my boss ever said to me as I was handed my first assignment on the job I had just transferred to in New York City. Three things entered my mind as I heard him say that: First it was true I was from Missouri originally but I was not from the area in the southeast corner of the state called "The Bootheal", as a matter of fact I had never been there. I had actually considered the St. Louis area, where I was actually from, a mildly respected urban area of the country until I moved to this place. Secondly, I am fairly certain there are no airlines from any of the three major airports in the NYC area that have direct flights to the bootheal. And finally, how did this guy know what the freaking bootheal was?
That was two years ago and people I work with still think I am from an area of the country called the bootheal, which they do not bestow on me as something that is flattering but I have given up trying to correct this perception. Though, at least since October I get to leave work every day muttering under my breath to a higher power thanking that higher power that the Cardinals beat the Mets in the National League Championship Series.
I tell people that I always wanted to live here, though 'always' might have started in 1990ish the first time I watched a full episode of Seinfeld and saw all the comedic hi jinks the average New Yorker got to experience. And it was right next to New Jersey, and that is where Bruce Springsteen was from so Jersey had to be a cool place as well.....right? So anyway, I did seek out the transfer through my company and was elated the day it was approved. The first mistake I made was not asking for a $1,000,000 bonus upfront that seems to be required to even get an apartment in this place. I used to think I made a nice salary, wow I can not begin to describe how wrong I was. I think the day I realized this was the day I was introduced to the term "broker fee". Living for over a quarter century in the comfort of the heartland then all of a sudden being thrust in to living in Manhattan is probably what a football coach feels like when his players dump Gatorade on him after a big victory. Only instead of standing on the sidelines of a stadium, you are sitting snug in your pj's drinking coco on your couch watching your favorite tv show (I'm sure my coworkers would assume He-Haw) when the cold Gatorade hits.
I have been wanting to do this for awhile. Its hard to live here and not have an avenue to share the ridiculas things one sees and experiences on a daily basis. I did feel I needed to live here for a couple of years though before I started this though. That wide eyed kid in 2004 driving a u-haul through the Lincoln Tunnel who made a right turn at the end of the tunnel instead of the left that Mapquest clearly said, who wound up driving through the heart of Times Square on a Friday night during rush hour with his Labrador Retriever sitting shotgun (who lasted all of one week in a Manhattan apartment before he decided he wanted to move back to the Midwest) was not ready for a blog. Two years and some change later the wide eyed kid is a lot more jaded. To the point that on my recent trip back to Missouri for the holidays I felt like I was on a different planet. Actually at one point, when on television a character mentioned he visited his Rabbi, my mother looked me dead in the eyes and stated "That character is Jewish because he has a Rabbi........ and the Jews do not believe in Christmas".... Thanks for that Mom??? It is true that that Suburban St. Louis will never be confused with Crown Heights.
I feel like if I wrote this two years ago that my posts would be titled "This city is loud", or "My apartment is small", or "Cabs honk a lot and smell funny". Actually in all honesty, that is still going to be what the posts are called.