This story is not timely, nor relevant, in any way. I just kind of feel like writing a little something, and since I know the beginning, middle and end of this one, it seemed like a decent place to start. Oh, it also makes me laugh, at myself no less. I realize this introduction is not exactly making you grab a snack and a comfy seat, wild with anticipation, but let's get to it nonetheless...
It was the summer of 1989 and I was fast approaching my twenties. I had just wrapped up my sophomore year of college, so I was pretty much ready to take over at least some small section of the world. The plan was for me to work at my father's office in Manhattan for six weeks. Despite the fact that I was most certainly bursting with knowledge, I am sure someone owed him a favor.
I had a great deal of experience riding the trains and subways of New York City, always with my father by my side, in arm's reach. The first few days of my mini career he was right there as always, but was offering words of wisdom to prepare me for my solo expedition. Phrases like "You do NOT want to end up on THAT train" and "Don't walk on that side of this street" were dutifully noted. Truth be told, one of my main concerns at the time was keeping track of my commuter train ticket for the month. I could do this.
The time came for me to set out on my own, braving the mile walk to the train station, Metro-North, Grand Central Station and the subway. My purse carried only my train ticket, no more than ten dollars and appropriate shoes for the office. I may have been a rookie, but knew to put some decent sneakers on my feet for both form and function.
The sun was shining on Fulton Street, as I rose from the depths of the underground, after successfully navigating my path in. With just a couple of blocks to walk, I mentally patted myself on the back as I approached the curb. That is when I heard his voice. I turned and saw an Asian businessman saying words in my general direction and pointing at me. I was wearing my favorite gold earrings and being unable to understand what he was saying, assumed he found them beautiful and wished for me to surrender them. Yes, at 8:30 in the morning, surrounded by a throng of commuters, my best guess was that a well-dressed man was attempting to rob me of my earrings.
I did not want to get involved in much of a conversation with him because that did not seem like the best way to handle a burglar, plus the whole language barrier thing. Nobody else showed any signs of concern for me...jerks. The man's smile obviously had them all fooled. "Woman show" is the closest I could come to understanding his heavy accent. I was not providing a show, nor was I handing over my earrings! Why was the light taking so long to turn?
Finally, his determined pointing made me glance down at my shoulder...at the worm-like caterpillar thing that must have fallen out of a tree on my walk to the train station, and hitched a ride in with me..."worm on shoulder". Fantastic. I do not know what Emily Post would have said was proper etiquette in such a situation, but am pretty sure forcefully flicking the caterpillar causing it to fling onto the gentleman's pant leg was not the winning answer. The light finally turned green, and I carried on with my brave ridiculous* self.
*I remember feeling slightly defensive when my step-mother questioned my logic, believing that a hold up was certainly a plausible scenario...oblivious then to how ridiculous I was.