We talked about our passions and things were we were obsessed with. Brad loved books (of course, him being an English teacher). EE Cummings. Hemingway. The playwright Neil LaBute. He spoke about each with such vigor and knowledge. I was impressed and treasured seeing his eyes sparkle with appreciation. None of these others came close to his love of J.D. Salinger. Brad insisted that he was Holden and explained his frustration with his students when they read the book and thought that Caulfield was a “whiny bitch.” He was even more disappointed in me when I told him that I never read it, reading books like “the Giver” and my favorite novella, “Night” in high school.
The next Saturday, we were sitting eating breakfast at the corner coffee shop when Brad nonchalantly told me that he had a present for me. I was excited yet nervous. No guy has ever bought me a present before. After my feeble attempt to not rush through my oatmeal and fruit cup, we walked back to Brad’s car where he presented me with a beautifully wrapped rectangle. I opened the paper, holding “Catcher in the Rye.” I wanted to cry. It was a thoughtful gift and I was touched. I wrapped my arms around Brad’s neck in thanks.
Reading “Catcher in the Rye” took some work, though. Brad’s students were right. He was whiny (even though I recognized many of his thoughts as my own. Yup, I’m that crabby bitch, too). Reading about his adventure while listening to my roommate fight with her fiancée via Skype was too much to handle. I retreated to the down into my personal bat cave, where the shroud of darkness would help me focus: the subway. I finished “Catcher” in one night, riding the G train back and forth, from Long Island City, Queens to Kensington, Brooklyn for four hours. It was magical and I fell in love with the book…
…Ask anyone about job-hunting in New York City and I’m hope they reply with a groan or by running away in the opposite direction. In a metropolis of eight million, it seems like everyone was applying for some kind of work. I wish that my university offered “How to Find a Job 101.” Maybe it my fault for moving to New York without a plan of attack or a least knowing a way to make some cash in order to feed myself. I figured that it would be easy to find work waitressing at a hipster café or at the market, scanning cans and food stamps. Eleven job interviews and two employment agencies later, I found work at a call center, phoning folks across the country about what brand of light bulb they use and if they could ever afford first-class air travel. The hours and pay were terrible but at the end of my shift, I could run to McDonald’s next door and treat myself to a hot fudge sundae before catching the subway home.
This is how my summer went: Wake up. Explore bits of my ‘hood. Eat crappy yet cheap food- breakfast/lunch/dinner all at once (eating once a day was what I could afford to do). Go to work at 2pm. Work until 9pm. Meet up with a friend or walk home back from Midtown across the Manhattan Bridge back home (the subway’s expensive when you’re making minimum wage). Go to bed. Boring, right? I began to question my move to the Big Apple during those long treks back home. I saw myself becoming that one person I never wanted to be: DULL. I worked at a terrible job. I wasn’t meeting people. My talent laid in writing and I wasn’t doing so. I moved to New York City for a reason. I just needed to figure out what that reason was….
I never wrote a book before so this a new (and scary!) journey for me- especially since I’m writing about something so private and meaningful. I’ll be posting its paragraphs as I write along and attempt to complete it by the new year- ENJOY!
I moved to New York City two months after my 25th birthday. It was always a dream of mine to live in Manhattan even before the future twenty-somethings of new America fell in love with the women from “Sex and the City” and flocked to the East Coast in mass herds to write cheesy fashion blogs and feed their YSL pump obsessions. Since my youth, I somehow knew that this city would be my salvation, my homecoming. Here, I knew I could be my true self- a bright but introvert, a shy but pretty Andrea and I was determined to make the most of things. It was my chance to reinvent myself into the muse-sex kitten-brilliant woman that cute men in sweater vests were always falling in love with in indie films. The darling maniac pixie dream girl. Yes, that was going to be me. I would get the dream job (writing for whatever publication that would hire me), find the perfect apartment and bed Mr. Right who hopefully looked like Ryan Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid Love.”
A year and a half prior to my big move, I was committed into a rehab facility for self-mutilation, multiple suicide attempts and an eating disorder. It was time of utter disbelief and self-discovery. It was there I finally learned how to be my real self. After leaving the hospital unscathed and outpatient treatment with the confidence I should have gained years before, I got on this “Live Your Life to the Fullest” kick. I was always that person who sat the in the back of the classroom, refusing to raise her hand even if she had the correct answer. I hated the way I looked, the thoughts I thought and was convinced that the world was indeed better off without me. After my stint in rehab, I finally started believing in my dreams and myself. I discovered that was a knockout, complete with mind-blowing curves and a pretty face. (I will never forget the woman who asked me if I modeled while I shopped with a friend. I stopped picking at my face that day.) I finally started listening to all the people who told me I was smart and creative and I believed it. I knew that I was better than nine-to-five office work, living in a rural western town with a head full of wishes. In my heart, I knew I was destined for bigger and better things, bigger and better places. It was time to pack up my things and move across East…