So, it is very cold.
I was going to say, “let’s just get that out of the way,” but it is seventeen degrees here. There is no shuffling that off to the side, and no ignoring that I am once again the person who vehemently demanded to leave Boston and the cold that tried to scrape my face off. That person went home and lolled under a few palm trees and she got soft. Forgot all about how a three minute walk can make you forgo breathing, the frost slicing against your nose and challenging your need for oxygen. Forgot all about the taxi, a modern marvel. Not just the gears and transportation; it’s the shelter and the chance to collect yourself that are mind-blowing. They impart strength, in that that you are not freezing right now, and give you the grace to accept the fact that you will be, soon. That’s crucial, the ability to build up an internal well of well-being such that outside forces cannot immediately hit your core.
And yet, there is more to this NYC introduction than loss of core body temperature. Loss of dignity, for instance.
Professionally, this move was just a transfer; one office to another, one firm, no big deal. But I live inside my own head, which is one giant bubble of interpersonal trepidation, and walking in on my first day loomed pretty large.
I woke up feeling queasy at the thought of navigating the subway system for the first time during rush hour, so I hopped in a taxi. The driver deposited me in front of a concrete skyscraper, so I screwed up my courage, all “Three bucks! Two bags! One me!” Only, wait…this wasn’t the right address. So, I paced up and down the street, committing the ultimate tourist sin of looking up and meeting a lot of new friends via their passing shoulders. Back and forth. Is this it? No, now I’m on a completely different street, this can’t be right. Finally, I realized my mistake (a building tunnel connecting one street to another) and set off. Two steps in, my foot gave a little tell-tale dip; the whole heel of my left shoe had decided it wanted no part of this adventure and ripped almost completely off.
Obviously, you can’t start a new adventure without a pratfall or two. “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m the girl from LA who can’t make it in the city for 24 hours without literally falling over her own feet.” I spent the rest of the day on mock pointe, trying to be really fascinating so people wouldn’t notice what was transpiring at floor-level. Did it work? No. My next door neighbor took one look at my mangled heels and sighed, “Ah, rookie mistake.”
However. She then took me to sushi, and was kind and fortifying and told me all the office gossip. And my officemate is funny and normal and appears to not eat tuna fish sandwiches or any other unpardonable sin. And this is the view from our window. So, bring it on, New York. I can already jaywalk with the best of them, broken heels or none.