Summer in New York is a tricky thing.
Tricky meaning, I don't like it.
I feel like most people think the summer in the city is cool and perhaps they even look forward to it. Not having to wear a million layers just to keep warm. Not trudging through snow. Being able to sit on patios. And just being able to enjoy this place in a different way.
And yeah...I totally love those things too. And while I am about to list all the reasons those things aren't good enough to win me over on my "summer in the city" feelings...I do look forward to those things as well.
I haven't had a good summer in this city yet...
My first summer here I was out of work and living on (blowing through) my savings account. And then I got mugged...and lost $700...and all my i.d.'s...on my way to the airport.
-10 points for summer.
My second summer I was again out of work because I had just quit my job because of a busy final two months of school. So I found myself spending my days working a string of really shitty low paying jobs with really thrilling responsibilities that include but are not limited to: sweeping up peanuts and cleaning poop out of dressing rooms.
-12 points for summer.
-53 points for poop in dressing rooms.
My third summer was a little more stable in the work department but it was generally a summer of personal and emotional struggles. My own personal Chekhovian hell. And while my own hoopla didn't really have anything to do the fact it was summer time...I'm gonna go ahead and blame summer time anyway because blaming things that have nothing to do with weather on weather is just so much easier.
-9.05 for summer
-72 pooping in dressing rooms (I mean COME ON)
My fourth summer...well it's just beginning.
Today I really felt like summer was here for good. Maybe it was the unbearable heat. Maybe it was saying goodbye to my best friend who leaves NYC for gigs every summer, maybe it was the unquestionable choice to opt for iced coffee and not hot coffee at the bodega this morning. I don't know.
As the day continued and I walked to the train to go to work,. anxiety crept into my stomach. I thought about how much I love New York but when I don't like her (like I typically don't in summer time) she wears me out and fills my thoughts with doubts about the choices that led me here.
And then a clown car pulled up.
...No, I'm completely serious.
I was standing at the cross walk waiting to you know...cross...when I look up and this black jeep with big red clown lips and and clown eyes on the front of the car, pulls up to me. The window rolls down as a man dressed as the happiest clown I've ever seen simply said:
And he drove off.
That's not real life.
All the sudden this damn city lured me back in with a classic "Only in New York" moment. I mean really though, only in New York can a clown drive up and intercept your negative thoughts with such a kind reminder to smile.
Hope for the summer began to fill my head. Could this could be a great one with so lots of smiles?
And then I got to work and I suffered a few blows to my recharged hope. A common hazard of the hospitality industry.
One of my first tables of the night was this older couple. The man of this duo pretty much asked me every question there is to ask about the menu, he sent me to the kitchen to ask the chef a myriad of weird questions, he made lots of uncomfortable references to he and his wife's sex life and tons of bad jokes at my expense.
They made things difficult and I was annoyed. My smiles were all forced as I powered through.
When the time came to drop the check (a long awaited moment), I thanked them, we shared one last bad joke and they left.
I went to pick up the signed check and inside the bill holder was a generous tip and the gentleman's business card.
On the back of the card read:
"Keep that smile, Colleen."
WHAT'S GOING ON?
My heart felt full. My smile felt the most genuine it had all week because Mr. Questions McBadjokes made my night.
Today I was full of doubts and worries for the impending change of seasons. Today a clown randomly pulled up to me and told me to smile. Today a bothersome but kind old man reminded me again, to smile. Tonight I am sitting on my porch, on this beautiful night, doing what I love, with a smile.
My fourth summer here...well, it began with an overwhelming desire to just...smile.
+100 for summer.
-94 for pooping in dressing rooms.