To preface – hubs and I had a discussion on how I could get more involved in writing, only to conclude I needed more experience but couldn’t get it without experience but no one would give me experience unless I had experience except I couldn’t get experience unless someone gave me experience…you know what I mean? He had this idea where I should contact some professional journalists and ask them to meet and talk about how they got to where they are, and I figured I had nothing to lose. Lo and behold, The New York Times gets back to me.
We shoot a couple emails back and forth to set up a meeting, everything sounds good, I completely forget about it until the night before and break into a cold sweat – lather, rinse, repeat. I wake up today and go through the typical morning routine of cleaning up the explosion that is my boyfriend and I existing in the same space, and after going through four outfit changes like I’m the protagonist in an 80’s rom-com montage, I’m finally good to go.
The Q was running on time, I got a seat on an air-conditioned car where there was no “WHAT TIME IS IT? IT’S SHOOOOW TIME!”, I get off in Times Square and instantly feel my rectum and my stomach switch places.
Question 1: Who the fuck goes here on purpose? Why? What is the allure?
Lights? Other human beings completely ignoring personal space laws? Do you people not have lights and personal space where you live? Where do you live, Rocktown? That’s probably a place…Under-a-rock-town-ville-ship? Yeah? Alright. I’m done.
Question 2: Why does my internal GPS freeze up like it’s running on Windows 97 every time I get to Times Square? What sort of witch doctor have I wronged and why have they cursed me?
Question 3: How do half of these people have long pants on and why are they not perspiring as much as me? It’s 85 degrees out; do I have some sort of glandular problem? Do these people have some sort of lack-of-glandular(s) problem?
I manage to body-check a couple of teenage boy tourists out of the way (felt good, man) and made it to the front steps of The New York Times. Now, this is the point where my country mouse half began to panic. I paced outside for a few minutes (I was early, anyway) before I worked up the courage to go in and be immediately informed by the front desk security that I was on the wrong side of the building. Good. Good start.
I make it to the correct front desk, checked in with the friendly security guard who had an uncanny resemblance to if you put Richard Attenborough through a compactor, and made my way up to [let’s call her G] office.
G’s assistant meets me at the door (chic, right?) and brings me into her office. I sit down and immediately begin to word-vomit all over her about how Times Square is a cesspool of humidity and humans. She stares at me blankly.
I catch myself before I get too ahead of myself (rarely happens) and dive right into asking her questions about how she got to be where she is. She starts telling me about how she used to work in New Haven (Connecticut) and I stop her instantly to exclaim, “no way! I’m from Connecticut!” We have a short discussion about my hometown and I come to discover she used to work for the local newspaper of the town over from mine where I grew up. I continued to ask her another series of “help, I don’t know what to do” based questions and she’s completely wonderful. She had an answer for everything and an explanation to-boot. Half an hour flies by, and I think we’re wrapping up.
G: “Do you want to come see the floor of the newsroom?”
Me: “(In the process of picking up my bag, immediately dropping my bag) YES. Yes I’d love that. Yes.”
It’s big, dude. I wanted to take pictures as we walked, but at the same time I didn’t want to miss taking anything in for myself. It’s one of those things where you’ve seen it in pictures and videos/movies, but now that you’re finally there it seems borderline surreal.
Side-note: It’s quiet, like, really quiet. G explained to me now that most everything is digital, that image you have in your head of The New York Times and people shouting across the newsroom to each other and papers flying everywhere and the whole nine yards is out of date. Most everyone is glued to their computers with intermittent monitors hanging up, running various news channels – surprise, Trump was on every single one.
She brings me back to the main floor (honestly, I’d probably still be lost and wandering around the building if she didn’t) and we say our goodbyes. I thank her for her time and advice, and she tells me to keep in touch. I promise her (internally on my unborn first child) that I will. I head back out into the world of 60% humidity, 40% 85 degrees weather with a 100% chance of a sprinkling of some guy I’ve never seen before and will never see again trying to force his mix-tape on me.
For the little 10-year-old girl who used to write stories about how Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day (21 years my senior) and I would run away together, this was a good day. Do the stuff you love and it will take you to the places you should go.