A New Chapter

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How do I even begin to recap the past two months? I find myself avoiding this page just because I anticipate that writing about the sheer amount of information will be incredibly daunting. I suppose it would be easiest to approach it as I would a college paper: with a thesis, a detailed outlining of points, and then a conclusion which reiterates my overall hypothesis. Hmm. Well. The thesis of this paper will be this: While these past few months in the city have been incredibly stressful due to my current employment status and a series of awful dates, recent events have left me hopeful for the future and I look forward to taking the next step in my life, whatever that may be.

Point number one: A recapping of the past month in terms of employment and job search.

I returned from Scotland ready to begin working on a project for a senior person at the place of my internship. I was to edit a bar mitzvah video for a friend of his, the VP of another department. No problem. I'm a good editor and I've worked on family videos in the past (many of which I'm sure some of you have seen) and I knew that I was the right person for this job. After collecting an incredible amount of home video footage and pictures, I cut together a solid piece using company graphics and current music. For a family viewing, it would be ideal. It took me about two weeks after which I was ready to move on. I had met with a temp agency on my first week back from Scotland and had been looking forward to the end of the bar mitzvah project so that I could begin making some money by temping. This, however, did not go as I had planned. The senior person who had put me in contact with the VP had decided that he wanted the video to have more pizzazz (why his involvement with another person's family video was necessary, I am still pondering) and had other interns pulling tapes and trying to find footage from past shows to incorporate. Now, let me reiterate that the video was fine as is and did not need a bunch of random stuff added which would just add time to an already long piece. I began to feel extremely frustrated at the situation. I approached the VP who I was making the video for, expressed my frustration and asked for extra compensation since I would be putting in an extra two weeks on the project. It was then that he told me he had been thinking that $500 was the amount he wanted to pay. For four weeks of work.

Here's a lesson I learned with this. Set a rate before you begin working. Just because you like and respect the people you are working for doesn't mean you don't deserved to be paid for the time, effort, and talent you are putting into the project. Stand up for yourself, and don't allow people to walk all over you.

In the end, the VP agreed with me that the new ideas were superfluous and detracted from the video. So really, not much was accomplished in the extra two weeks. The final payment was $750. I was very grateful that he upped the compensation, but I still felt as though I would have liked to have earned about $2,000. After adding up all expenses which this VP didn't have to pay had he been paying a non-discounted rate ($650 a day for an editor, $350 an hour for voice-over, $350 an hour for sound mixing, not to mention rights to music and show graphics) it was determined that he got a 95% discount. That's a lot of money he saved for a very good product. I can safely say that I walked away from the project having learned a few valuable lessons. But I can tell you that the size of the smile I had on my face after exiting the building for what might be the last time was enormous. The ending of a chapter with a company who did not live up to my expectations and who did not give me what I feel I deserved from them: employment. I took my 750 dollars of cash and handed it straight to my landlord. Another lesson learned: money goes quickly. I was holding four weeks of compensation in my hands for 45 minutes before I had spent it. Welcome to the real world.

Point number two: men in New York are assholes. But they make for good blog updates.

Bad guy scenario #1: The overtly-sexual guy.

Where do I even begin with this one? I suppose I'll start with a "friend" of mine called "R." R is one of the friends I made during my first internship in New York. I had just happened to run into him at one of my old haunts, Tortilla Flats. We went out one time to a place called 230 5th, which is a beautiful rooftop bar with an awesome view of the Empire State. But I just don't feel...romantically interested in him. It was two or so months later that I received a text for him while I was at the office.

"Can I ask you a question?" it said. "Are you a lesbian?"

My response, "No I'm not."

"Oh, that is funny because when I meet you I think you are lesbian," (Spanish accent). "I try to kiss you but you don't seem interested so I think you are lesbian."

I'm already off-put by someone that would think that just because a girl isn't interested in him that that must mean she must be into women. What an ass right? It gets better.

"Because I have this friend who is bi and I tell her I know a lesbian who would have threesome with her."

The assumption here is unbelievable.

"So you are not lesbian?"


"Ok, because I have to tell her that you are not interested but I tell her already that you want to have threesome."

I don't respond.

"Unless you still want to have threesome?"

Now, for those of you that know me, I think you'll agree with me that I don't come off as the type of person who is open for threesomes. Or casual sex, for that matter. The lesbian thing I understand; I've gotten that before and I generally don't have much of a reaction when uninteresting people come onto me.

"No, not interested."

I can't recall exactly how that conversation ended, but I have not talked to him since.

Bad guy scenario #1: The biggest asshole ever guy.

It was a Wednesday night and I went out with a friend of mine, "V", who I met at Cafe Lalo, to a cigar bar on the east side. After my lungs adjusted to the smoke, I thought the place was pretty cool. It was underground and had red lounge chairs everywhere. It was very swanky and felt very...old Hollywood 1920's. V and I sat down at the bar. The guy next to me (obviously drunk) began having a conversation with us. Well, I guess you couldn't really call it a conversation as much as an...insult....session...?

(In a British accent) "Your friend is really much sexier than you are. She has smoldering eyes. You....you're very generic. You have issues with your hair. And are those tights or stockings? Stalkings are sexier."

Well, obviously I didn't take any of this to heart as he was obviously drunk and obnoxious. But I did turn on the bitch. I can't quite recall what exactly I did say to him, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't nice. At which point he continued the insults and called me selfish. The bartender asked me if I had a problem. I told him this guy was being as asshole. And he was promptly removed from the bar. Tee hee hee. Jerk.

After that rather insulting half-hour, I met a guy named "B" who seemed a little bit off...but who I was still willing to talk to because he was tall and good looking. I gave him my number and went on a date with him this past Tuesday. You won't believe this one.

Bad guy scenario #3: The boring yet presumptuous guy.

We met at a wine bar called Wine and Roses. Beautiful little spot that I would love to visit again with different company. We talked....kind of. I asked him a lot of questions and he asked me....if I like Steinbeck (my most hated author). On occasion he would look off in the distance as if he was contemplating something....but now I believe he was just staring. Turns out he's 40 (looks 30), works on the trading floor, travels to Paris often, owns multiple properties...basically has all the elements of someone date-able. But I can't even convey to you how awful the conversation was. There were multiple awkward silences and I felt like I was asking so many questions just to keep up any kind of conversation whatsoever. Meanwhile he asked nothing about me...an obvious red flag.

We left Wine and Roses and walked up to this wine bar called Tolani (which I adore) for another glass. I had been there once before and the owners are wonderful and the place is charming. But all of that was dulled down by the dolt which was sat on the bar stool next to me. The conversation continued to lag. I had to get up early the next morning so I began the "Ok, I really need to get home now" speech. I was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just shy or really introverted. He and I are both leaving the day before Thanksgiving for vacation and he was trying to figure out when he could see me again.

"Call me when you get back from Paris and we can meet up then."

"No, why not this weekend?"

"I have plans. It's only couple of days."

"What am I supposed to jerk off for five days?"

Dead silence. What? Did I hear that right? Let me find out.

"I'm sorry?"

"I think that means the same thing in English as it does in Swiss." (He's Swiss).

"Ok....I have to go to the bathroom."

I went over to the owner and told him what this jerk had said. I also told him to put all of my wine on his tab. The owner asked me if I needed help with the guy. Oh no. I can handle this dick myself.

We left the restaurant and he was still trying to get me to go to another bar. I refused and he seemed pissed. So I went home. The next day he texted me and told me I was very nice and he had a great time. I did not text him back.

Bad guy scenario #4: The guy who just doesn't care.

I had met a guy called "A" one night while on my way home. I remember him being very attractive, sweet, and almost younger. An actor who graduated from the Tisch school at NYU (an incredibly difficult program to get into) I was very intrigued by our similar interests.

We met up a few days later in Riverside park to walk his dog. He was nothing like I remember at our first meeting (I blame the vodka). He was born and raised in New York, an only child, lives with his parents, and works as a bouncer. He said things like, "I'm sure I could get an agent if I wanted to, but I'm just lazy" and "I hate living at home, and I keep my room messy because I don't care, but I don't want to live with my parents anymore. I stay because its easy and I don't have to pay rent."

So basically he's a very lucky guy who is too lazy to make anything of himself? Unattractive. He was another one of those who asked me no questions and we found ourselves walking in silence for much of the time. On a first date. Not good. Plus he was just very inconsiderate. We were stopped at a light and I bent down to get something out of my shoe. The light turned green and he was already across the street before I even realized what happened. That's not lack of chivalry, that's just lack of respect. So I told him I had to meet a friend for drinks. And I haven't talked to him since either.

In conclusion, good men in New York are incredibly difficult to find. No wonder everyone is single here. I've never had so much trouble. But then again perhaps I've never dated this much. I've had three dates this past week. But I digress. Let me move on to the more positive developments in my life, beginning with my professional life.

Point number three: Developments on the job front.

Through a friend I know at an edit facility I was offered an internship. It's not a job, but its another step. I began interning at the edit house last week. The studio manager says she gets job inquiries on a weekly basis from people at places like Animal Planet and USA. I figured if I took the internship for a few days a week my face would be remembered and I would get to know editors and be able to sit in on their sessions. Since I'm really interested in becoming an editor, I think this is a good step for me. The internship isn't glamorous; it's mostly just making sure that the candy in the edit suites are stocked and making sure that clients are treated well. But I feel as though it's a step in the right direction, or at least I'm not just working at a restaurant. It does have its perks. I get lunch everyday and they pay for my metro card ($89 a month). Plus they have fruit trays and stuff sometimes so I don't really have to spend money on food.

In addition to this internship, I've begun temping. Nothing too exciting. I have a job on Monday that pays $10 an hour to organize boxes. But that's $60 I didn't have before. I just have to look at it positively. But the good news is that they found a boutique edit facility that is looking to hire a full-time office assistant. I have an interview with them early this week and I'm really looking forward to it. It will be one of the first industry interviews I've had. I'm hopeful about that, but I'm not expecting anything. Whenever I get too excited about stuff it just seems to fall through.

Point number four: Upcoming trips.

On Wednesday I'm taking the Bolt Bus to D.C to spend Thanksgiving with my extended family. I'm sad I will miss the annual "Turkey Bowl" that my family does on Thanksgiving morning, but it will be very nice to visit my family and I really look forward to a big Thanksgiving, which I never really have.

I leave mid-December to go home for Christmas and I'll be there for three weeks. Yay! It will be my first time home since leaving for New York and I think it will be really good to get back, but I worry about my room being so empty without Sara (my late kitty). I'll get to see her grave for the first time. It will also be the first time in eighteen years that I will sleep in that room without her tucked under my arm. But on a good note, I'll get to see my dog and other cats who I love. And I'll get to see my sisters who I haven't seen in almost 7 months (the longest I've gone without seeing them). I'll return to the city in January, where I'll be back to the grind and stressfulness of finding employment in this economy.

Point number five: A good date.

And I come to the last topic of my "paper": the excellent date I had last night. That's right. A good one. I met him yesterday at a restaurant in Chelsea where K and I were having brunch. Right away I thought he was gay. I mean, we were in Chelsea and he was tall, had a ridiculously good body and an excellent sense of style. Anyways, turns out he's not and he asked for my number. We went out last night for drinks and had such a great conversation. We talked about religion and history and movies and sci-fi and X-files and acting and technique and food and wine and lounges. We have so much in common and he is so interesting. He's very involved in the acting community and spends a great deal of his time in the artistic lower east side, a place I've been wanting to spend more time but haven't really ever been to. It was only a first date, but I look forward to seeing him again, though I feel he is too good looking for me.

So, in conclusion, this city has proven to be very stressful to me lately, though from the stress I have learned many valuable lessons and my life is moving forward. To quote Chumbawamba (that's right, Chumbawamba) "I get knocked down, but I get up again," because if you don't you'll live your life laying down.

Here's a link to a song I listen to when I need to feel inspired:

It's Amazing.


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