If you read my last entry, you’ll know that I’m in New York for Thanksgiving. So far, I’m loving it. Everyone is familiar with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and it was exciting to sit on the sidelines and watch it live instead of on a screen. I’m not sure how long this holiday tradition will last, but at least I can say I am one of the few people to actually sit and watch it live before it ended (if it ever ends).
The energy in New York is different than the west coast. People here always seem to be in a hurry to get from point A to point B. I can understand why it is named “The City That Never Sleeps.” After parting ways with Lauren and heading to my hotel, I was still amazed by how many shops were still open at 10:00PM. Furthermore, Times Square is amazing! There are so many shops and street performers, it was exhilarating for a city girl like me.
There wasn’t too much to do on Thanksgiving day, for obvious reasons, so after the parade, I went to catch a film and window shop at any stores that happened to be open on that day. I knew the next day I would be visiting the MET before meeting up with Lauren for “Wicked.” So far the plan was to meet at the theatre and enter together. But, as a curtesy, I decided I would send her a text message.
Me: Hey! We still on for tomorrow?
Me: What time?
Lauren: Show starts at 8
Me: Yay! Can’t wait=
Lauren: Any plans before that?
Me: Huh? Not really. Going to the MET.
Lauren: Wanna do dinner before the show?
Me: Sure. What did you have in mind?
Lauren: I know a really awesome vegan restaurant.
Vegan? It didn’t occur to me that Lauren was vegan. I guess on the plane I hadn’t noticed what she ate for dinner because we were so engaged in our conversation. Though I wasn’t vegan, I decided to trust her choice.
Me: Oh, ok
Lauren: I’ll put in reservations. It’s not too far from the MET.
Me: Sure, that would be great.
Lauren: Great, c u then.
Dinner and a show with a new friend. Every adult knows just how difficult it is to make friends. We become so entangled in our daily lives that there is no room to make deep connections with the people around us. Everyone is programmed to go to work, return home and repeat. Unless you have some social activity, it’s easy to forget there’s a world of people out there. Since most of my friends are married with children, or have moved far away from me, I haven’t had a chance to really make new friends and connections. Sure, I still have Maddi, but she’s busy with her children now, but I’ll go into that with a different entry. Additionally, I do have a few colleagues that I confide in during off hours, but I am not sure if I would consider them my friends just yet. Either way, Lauren was a new friend and I loved how we met.
After I had enjoyed hours at the MET (it’s really quite enormous. There is no way anyone can finish exploring in one day), I had to make my way to the entrance for my dinner engagement with Lauren. It didn’t take long to spot her. She was waiting with light blue jeans and a dark cozy overcoat, her brown wavy hair blowing in the brisk autumn New York wind. She waved and smiled when she saw me.
“Hey Kathy!” She greeted and gave me a hug. “Ready? So, this restaurant is unique because everything they make it plant based. There is no use of any animal products. I hope you like it.”
“I’m sure I will,” I commented as we began walking towards the restaurant.
Once we arrived to the restaurant, the ambiance didn’t disappoint. It had your typical Italian vibe to it, which I enjoyed. I was not in the mood to travel over 3,000 miles to sit in a cheap looking restaurant. The restaurant had 2 floors. The first floor was already filled, so the host led us to the second floor. We placed our drink orders; had a discussion on what to order and placed our food order when the server returned with our drinks.
“I didn’t know you were vegan,” I opened as we continued our “getting-to-know-you” phase of the conversation.
“Oh, yeah, it was a hard switch at first. I mean, when you grow up eating meat with your family and then suddenly decide to cut out the biggest source of protein. But after doing a lot of research, I knew it was a better way of living for me and my body.” She shared.
“That’s amazing. I couldn’t imagine going without meat. Personally, I am a huge fan of fried chicken. Furthermore, since I am a foodie, I travel a lot for work and eat a variety of foods. I have had some of the best burgers ever! So, me going vegan right now could be career ending.” I began pondering if I could survive financially visiting primarily vegan restaurants? Is there a market for that? It was something I knew I would look into. Maybe I could add more reviews on vegan restaurants and eateries for my readers.
Lauren chuckled. “It’s not for everyone, and I won’t be offended if you don’t like the food here. What type of work do you do, if it allows you to travel and eat so much?”
“Well, overall, I’m a like a food critic for a very popular magazine, as well as a journalist for an independent newspaper. With the monthly publication, I provide readers my perspective on a popular restaurants and recommended dishes. And for the newspaper, I tend to write essays on current local events.
Lauren must have felt my passion for food and writing. “That’s wonderful. By the way you talk about your career, I can tell you really enjoy every moment of it. Is what you write only focused on local restaurants…”
“Yeah, primarily local restaurants and news.” I interrupted unconsciously.
“Well, maybe you can tell your readers about your adventures here in New York. I am sure some of them must travel to the east coast every now and then. After all, we do have the MET, Broadway, and other cultural experiences.”
Lauren had a good point. I never thought about writing to share restaurants outside of Oregon. Of course, within my large group of readers, there are those who do travel. Perhaps they would be interested in reading about topics and restaurants beyond state lines. Additionally, with the rise of more and more vegan products, I could probably generate more readers for the magazine if I visited vegan restaurants as well. I would have to run those ideas through my editors and see what they think.
I decided to switch the focus on Lauren. “What about you? What do you do?”
“Well, I’m a PR representative for many production companies here in New York. So, unlike your job, I don’t really get to travel whenever, but I do have to try to motivate people to attend new shows, as well work with a variety of publications to ‘spread the word.’ When a show sells out, I do end up earning a a potion of the profits, but if the attendance is low, then obviously so is my commission. It can be stressful, but at least I can enjoy a variety of theatrical productions for free.”
So, that’s how she was able to obtain tickets for Wicked, I thought to myself. I had been to New York before, and there was no way I was going to purchase tickets for a show on a Friday night within two days of showtime. It was impossible.
We continued talking about our careers, even as our orders came. I shared how I had struggles with other publications and how I almost gave up on becoming a writer. Lauren shared how she struggled being taken serious by most male managers and how she had to work to get where she was as well. Lauren also shared how she really wanted to be on stage performing instead of selling tickets. She was part of drama club in high school and even majored in performing arts in college.
“So what happened? Why didn’t you follow through with your dream?” It seemed odd that she would give up on something so easily. I mean, I don’t really know her that well, but my impression of her was a woman who would fight to make her dreams come true.
“Well, we’ll have to talk about that later. We better get going. The show is going to start soon and we still have to make our way to the theatre. We could uber, but I assure you, the subway would be faster and I don’t want to talk about this while on a train.” Lauren smiled and stood up to prepare to go.
I didn’t want to push Lauren to share. It seemed like she was uncomfortable sharing how she had to let go of her dream. We quickly took the subway and exited at the nearest station to the theatre. We entered through the doors while keeping our conversation on more small talk and our fascination with the set up of the stage. Once the theater dimmed, we enjoyed the next three hours of Wicked entertainment.
When the show had ended, Lauren expressed how she needed to go due to work on Saturday. “Promoting never ends, especially on the weekend.”
“I can understand that and it’s the start of the holiday season,” I smiled. I didn’t want to say good-bye to Lauren. I was starting to really get to know her, but I was due to fly out tomorrow to return to my own work as well. “I really want to thank you for taking the time to meet up with me and for bringing me to Wicked, as Elphaba would say, ‘if you care to find me, look towards the western skies.’” We chuckled at my poor attempt to comedically connect our situation to the musical.
“Kathy, you’re an amazing woman. Perhaps we can keep in touch? Is it ok if I text you every now and then?” She genuinely seemed interested in keeping in contact with me. It wasn’t like when people have your contact information, just to have it and then never send you a text. I had a feeling I would be hearing from her again.
“Sure, I think I would like that.”
I gave her a loving hug and thanked her about a thousand times for the evening. As she bounced down the subway stairs, I hopped into my uber to my hotel. By the time I arrived at the hotel, she had already sent me a text:
Lauren: Thank u for a wonderful evening, my little writer friend. Have a safe flight and text me when u arrive back on the west coast.
And that’s what I did. I am already thinking of visiting New York again, soon.
About the author
An American freelance writer who enjoys writing during her freetime and aspiring to make writing more of a career path than a hobby. Tends to write in a varlety of genres, but enjoys writing romance, ghost stories, and occasional horror.