Gali and I attended Avenue Q

This morning I woke up at 6:00am. Because. Hair. And was ready for the interview by 7:30am. The interview was not until 10:00am. And it was not an interview. Reading about appropriate attire for the executive job when heat is stifling, I had bought a dress/suit (actually two, one on Amazon, but then they dithered on delivery, so another at Lord & Taylor and there I was). I wore the sleeveless dress suit on the subway, tattoos free for all, (and maybe it’s the world we I live in but I suddenly noticed women in similar attire with whole sleeves of tattoos) on the subway. I hate my flabby upper arms, but heat trumps all.

I arrived for the second time at this law firm, checked in and re-met the lovely Monica. Monica assured me several times that I must be special because they never call anyone back to retest. This time she only expected me to test for PowerPoint because they “couldn’t find” my earlier test. As soon as I sat down and opened the documents I found my previous test – which included inputting and formatting – so I opened it and spent 20 minutes on finessing the formatting to make it as perfect as possible. She’d hinted that how much time I took was included in the evaluation, so without having to re-input I looked superfast! I also insisted on redoing Excel because that’s the only test I really feel I failed at. It took a few moments for her to set me up on that test and during the awkward quiet I asked her how long she’d worked at the company.

This is one of those dear generous women who want to share themselves, I think. The question triggered stories about her life, and hardships, and I wanted to know her better, so I could put her life in context. For her and for me. She told me she’d been there 22 years, but also stated “life doesn’t always go the way you want it.” She said she’d had to take care of her father, who died. It took me a moment to grasp this sentence but as she elaborated I realized she meant he’d “died” for 20 minutes, and then been brought back to life but with serious damage from oxygen loss. Every organ had lost some functionality. For the next ten years she had to take care of him and that was part of her answer for how long she’d been at the company. There’s a metaphor in there I want to explore about the miraculous stories of people who “die” and return, and the strangulation of life’s experiences.

I did the Excel – SO much better than before, and I hope it goes to the “bigwigs” who hire. This lovely woman actually hugged me at the elevator as she said goodbye. “You’re a gem!” she said. But also “If this doesn’t work something else will.” It’s all about context.  So. Everyone I’ve met so far in NYC thinks I’m a “gem”! From their mouths to God’s ears. I called the agent on my way out the building, and she said the deciding HR person is out of the office until Monday, but maybe I’ll hear something this week. I’m kind of doubtful because a lot of New Yorkers are taking long weekends or whole weeks for July 4th.

Vincent said the I Ching predicted a shocking surprise – I got back from the law firm in time to change clothes and do the phone interview with Texas. That was pretty easy because the job is so much of what I have been doing for the last nine years that every question I had an answer for. They said they would decide early next week who to invite for campus interviews.

Then I checked my e-mail and I’d been “nominated” to go to the UN for testing. When I first started applying for NYC jobs I thought – why not work somewhere exciting and only NY? So, I’ve applied for a few jobs there, revising, editing, etc. The first one I received a rejection, but I applied for a “temporary” position of six months – thinking if I can get in, I might be able to work my way up, so I think this nomination stems from that. So, next Friday I am to show up at the UN and test for two and a half hours. I’m not sure on what. I googled some of the tests and they seem to be comprehension. They also have a lot of language requirements (you’re required to speak two of the six UN languages fluently, and I don’t), but this job was primarily in English so they were lighter on that. So, there’s an adventure coming.

Did I mention my husband and son are here? They brought me the holy chair of which I will write at length another time. Let’s just say it represents my legacy at Sindecuse. It’s a holiday weekend, nothing is happening jobwise, so I last minute decided to accompany them to Montreal on Saturday. A short trip, but more time spent with them. Gali greeted me with such a bone breaking hug that I can feel my absence.

Last time Vincent and Gali were here, I almost bought Gali tickets to Avenue Q for his birthday but we ended up being too tired to go. This time we decided to make that happen. We went to the TKST booth. My first Broadway (Off Broadway) play for my son! I felt he would love the humor, and I’ve never actually seen it. We left Vincent on his own at 59th with vague plans for Carnegie Hall. We got off at 42nd street and finally reached Times Square. We had tried to show this to Gali before but hit 42nd and 7th and went the wrong way, ending up at Port Authority. This time Gali and I got to really walk in the touristy awesomeness. We got to the triangle, he full of questions I can’t answer (and I fucking taught a class on the history of Times Square and theatre!) and then we’re at TKST.

I knew already what I wanted at 40% off – Avenue Q Orchestra Seats. While in line there was an older man selling us a table at a “only real French Restaurant” just a block or two up. He kept mentioning celebrities that ate there – Spike Lee, others I couldn’t comprehend because he was lacking a considerable amount of teeth – He kept assailing us from the sidelines, but I took his menu. I nodded and smiled as he talked, his name was Eddie. We exited the line near him and he said he was a playwright, and knew a lot of actors and did I know I looked like Loretta Young? Usually I get Faye Dunaway, but not for years. I thanked him and we moved on.

Gali and I walked toward the theatre on West 50th. He wanted a pretzel so when we found a cart I started to get one, but guess what? NYC pretzels don’t come with cheese – just mustard. (I love mustard). Gali was scandalized, and the vendor assured us that no one would offer cheese in NYC, I guess it’s a Midwest thing – so we went looking for a place to have dinner. We had two hours to kill.

Walking to 9th Avenue, going on a memory of a diner somewhere around there. An old fashioned, breakfast through the day, grilled cheese diner. So many restaurants on those blocks. When I first moved to NYC my apprenti friends and I would meet a Chinese restaurant that served cheap white wine in carafes at dinner. Refillable carafes. I didn’t find that place, but I found the Galaxy Diner!

We ate dinner. We had two hours to spend, and then slowly made our way back to the theatre on 340 W. 50th street. New Stages. What a wonderful place! It’s like a mega theatre with four or five theatre spaces showing different plays. Not movies – plays. And yes, they are very tourist appealing, fun things like Jersey Boys, Avenue Q, Something Harry Potter called “Puffs”, Something else about not following rules. In short, the risqué, or rule-breaking – or burlesque of theatre. There was a huge outside dining area as well.

Our seats were far house right against the wall, which might have interfered with the sound quality a little bit. Gali and I kept turning to each other saying “what did they say?” Overall the show was great, but there turned out to be a show within a show. In the song about porn the monster looked at the audience and sort of indicates that someone there is as bad as him. Then this audience member actually stood up, as if acknowledging he’d been caught. Now, this could have been part of the show, but I don’t think so for two reasons: 1) why would you pay an actor to sit in center of the Orchestra for an entire show for one gag; and 2) his timing was off, he held his “joke” too long. Then, a few minutes after that the same man excused himself from the center orchestra (which is very awkward, the seats were pretty tight, so you’re really knocking everybody’s knees as you walk by) and left through a side exit. I was seated just next to the exit so I could actually see him leave the space and go out through an exit door. A moment later an usher came running after him. A moment after that the House Manager came running after them. All the while the show is going on. About ten minutes after that the man and the HM returned and the HM sat him in an empty seat front row on the end of House Right. At intermission the usher stood at attention blocking that exit (which I believe went to the street). I stood up and said “rough night, huh?” He replied in a thick Slavic accent “You have no idea.” At this point the audience member and the House Manager were talking very loudly. The man was saying he’d lost his wallet, and people started looking back at his original spot. He was so loud that I heard him shout when he found it from the lobby. When I returned to my seat, I tried to make conversation with the usher, but it didn’t go. I wanted to ask what was going on, but stopped myself assuming he wouldn’t tell me and I was coming off as a busybody (which I am). Instead I asked him about the sound quality, but he didn’t really have much to offer.

On the subway ride home I watched a couple in the corner of the car. She had her head on his shoulder, one leg looped over his knee. They each had one earbud and were listening to music. He’d start tapping a beat on her shoulder and she’d respond with a counter beat on his thigh.

I downloaded the music for Avenue Q and we listened to it on the drive to Montreal. That way we could understand more of the jokes.

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