Such a GREAT week! A grin on my face everywhere I go, and so much energy coursing through my body. I just feel exhilarated. Why? Well, Vincent is here. He arrived at 1am on Wednesday morning, and it is so nice to be together in the city where we fell in love. My job told me it would be the last week, but on Friday asked me to come back on Monday, possibly Tuesday. Anything can happen.

The “intentional” job second interview happened on Tuesday and went well, I think. I will finally meet them in person this coming Tuesday, and I am looking forward to it. My gut feeling is they are interviewing so many people, there’s no chance of a job, but maybe something else will come from it? My second guess brain says, “Why not me?” I have so many years of life experience with which to answer their questions. Maybe it is because the young woman who has been interviewing me is super nice and sweet, but I feel encouraged by her. Or maybe they’re like that with everyone. Still. Not your typical company.

Five minutes after that interview the staffing agency I met with last week, that had the law job that was filled, called to offer me a chance at a very high paying executive assistant role for one man. She stressed that I’d be alone a lot and a lot of people would not like that. I assured her it would suit me fine. So, on Friday I donned the nylons and interview outfit. Kissed Vincent good bye and left with really high hopes. We’d been dreaming about me getting a good paying job (defined as making more than he does), and then he could semi-retire and join me in the city more permanently. But on the subway to work an hour later I got a text that the bigwig I was to meet for the interview canceled. Turns out he wants someone with more financial experience. So, I went to my job very overdressed and stayed there. I did have the usual feelings of “why do these things get so close and then get snatched away?” but I also still felt some encouragement. I guess things just feel a little closer.

Also, I got a call from an agency for a tech writing job, again. The woman was really enthusiastic about my resume and told me I’d get an interview for sure. I didn’t, but it is encouraging. She also “rated” my resume online, so that might mean something. A fishy woman called me telling me her company wanted to interview me and was I free the next day. Thing was, I couldn’t understand what company it was, and it was an “I found your resume” thing, not a job I’d applied to. When I asked her to email me the details, which is what all the others do, especially helpful when there’s a language barrier, she said “I’m talking to you now to answer your questions!” So, I asked the name of the company, and she spoke and spelled it so fast I still had no idea. I asked what the job would be and she said “It’s a new company, we’re in Flushing Queens right now, but we’ll be moving to Manhattan in two months. We won’t know what job you will do until you talk to our HR person.” Okay. I wasn’t willing to give up job hours, but she offered Saturday morning and I though, okay, it’ll be an adventure. And since she told me she’d email the address, I figured I’d research it then. The week went by with no email, and I decided it was totally too fishy. Then on Friday afternoon I got a blanket interview invite with directions to the place in Queens from a “Chloe in HR” with a Gmail address. Still no company name. Very fishy.

The whole thing reminded me of answering ads in Kalamazoo and finding yourself at a financial advisory center workshop being told you’ll make money, but it’s really selling, and I’m not comfortable with that. I tried to call the number (if you have any questions….) and I emailed questions twice. The number went straight to a full voicemailbox, and no answers to my email. I ultimately decided not to go. Yes, an adventure, but fours hours of travel time. We went to the zoo instead.

I know I said it last week, but this week even more so, I’m happy. So happy to be here. So many little encounters, eye contacts, shared smiles with strangers. A woman who was probably high was alternately swearing and singing on the train very loudly. It was so crowded she was hard to locate, which is the first instinct when something is acting out of the normal, to locate where they are so you can orient yourself to safety by identifying the potential threat. I caught the eye of a man who raised an eyebrow as we shared that experience. At 59th street, changing trains I saw a man lying on the ground but quickly realized he wasn’t hurt, he was doing a photo shoot. Things are always happening everywhere if you look.

The old woman who seems to be in some pain on the elevator as I have my arms full of laundry. She gets off at the first floor, I go to the machines in the basement and realize the card I have with me is not the laundry card, so after loading the machine and riding back up to my apartment and grabbing the right card I find myself riding the elevator up with her again. She took a very short walk. I gave her a chagrined smile and waved my card “I forgot my card!” “Ah, you’re young, it gets better!” I think she was referring to my memory.

On my return from Kalamazoo two weeks ago I was slowly descending the stairs at 238th and a man offered to help “Can I carry that for you?” he asked, and I automatically said, “oh, no, I’ve got this.” Last week returning from Bradford, with an even bigger suitcase a young man simply took it from me, with a smile and carried it down to the platform at the bottom. Very sweet.

At work this past week I’ve been sitting with a young man from Cuba named Efrain. He’s very nice. We’d talked a bit before, but now as we’re neighbors there is much more conversation. He took me out for a coffee on one of our breaks, and I’ve been sending him links to jobs he might find interesting. One day he turned to me and said, “I didn’t know that Liza Minelli was Judy Garland’s daughter!” in his thick accent. I laughed a bit, and said that people my age all knew that, and softened my laughter lest he think I was laughing at him, by explaining it was understandable he wouldn’t. I tried to tell him what a big deal Liza was in the 80s and 90s. And I mentioned Cabaret.”

“You’re not that old.” He told me.

“I’m fifty-five.”

“Oh, really? I would have thought you were in your 40s.”

Day. Made.

I keep trying alternate routes to work, sometimes by choice, sometimes because a train isn’t running. None of them seem to shave the time, which is running an hour and forty-five minutes or more. One day I was waiting for the D train, and the helpful little screen said it was arriving in 1 minute, so when the train pulled in I got on, pulled out my kindle and began reading. Sometime later we were at High street. I didn’t recall ever stopping at high street before and realized I was on the A train. Oops. I jumped off and found a map, thinking I’d have to backtrack to West 4th. But I soon realized I could ride one more stop to Brooklyn and get on an R. While at the map a German family asked me for directions to Chelsea Market. I pulled out my phone and was able not only to tell them which train to take, but where to go when they got off. Yay me! Plus, I’ve never heard of Chelsea Market, I need to check it out.

I love to watch the children’s faces on trains, too. Friday a little Asian boy sat next to me while his mother stood in front. I am not always as keen as I was to give up my seat anymore. I find my willingness is balanced with how long the ride is to be, and what shoes I’m wearing. On Friday I was wearing heels. In any case, the mother was young, and the little boy sat next to me. He started taking off his backpack, and I helped him. He looked up at me with big eyes “Thank you.” Very polite. After a few stops the seat on the other side of him opened and the mom sat down. He reached in his backpack and pulled out a little construction paper kite he must have made at kindergarten that day. He swung it around on its string, and then jumped up and grabbed the metal pole with one hand, trying to circle quickly and let the kite fly. There wasn’t room for this and his mother quickly pulled him back to his seat. I reached over and held the string high, leaned in and started to blow at it, so that it almost looked like it was lifted by wind. He started to blow too. More spit, than air, but we had fun doing that until I got dizzy. His mother said something to him in Chinese, and when I left the train he again turned to me very sweetly and they both said, “Thank you.”

I’m not the only one reading kindle on the subway. Twice last week I looked at the kindles of people next to me and they were in Chinese. So, interesting. The whole world in a subway car. One day I tried to decipher how many people a car could fill. An empty car has 45-60, seats I think, depending on the design. So, when every seat is full, and every bit of standing room is taken, there must be up to 100 people in a car. And how many cars in a train? I don’t know seven? Ten? All those people snaking through the subway every day.

And because we all have our routines, I tend to always try to ride a car at the front end or back end of the train, and I suppose others have preferences too, I am beginning to recognize faces. Thursday night on the way to 238th street was a young couple I distinctly remember watching before. Also, in the morning faces begin to contain a certain familiarity. Routine irons out the dissimilar.

When Vincent and I were younger and first in love in the city, he would meet me at the subway stop when I came home or walk me to them going to work, cherishing every moment together. This visit he’s been doing the same. The nostalgia is strong as I emerge from the train and see him smiling at me, offering me his arm. The memories echo so strongly. And I am happier than I’ve felt in years. This has got to be the right thing. And when I meet these people on Tuesday, and talk about mindfulness and intentionality, my story has to stand out, I think, from other candidates. Maybe it will all lead somewhere splendid after all.

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