Normally, trips to the Big Apple include a carb-dense breakfast (whole-wheat everything bagel, lightly toasted, with a good smear of whipped cream cheese), shopping in SoHo (Zara, Topshop, and Intermix can’t be missed), a lackadaisical stroll through Central Park, an authentic brick-oven pizza paired with a bottle of wine, and a sweet treat (or two) to end the fourteen hours of temporary city living.
The bare minimum is packed–my wallet is stripped of old receipts, bug repellent and mini perfumes are plucked from my emergency kit, and my planner, outlining every date in 2012 from nail appointments to final exams, is removed from my handbag. However, when the sole purpose of a trip to the city is for an interview, the complete opposite happens.
Breakfast is a soggy bowl of Cheerios, eaten at the crack of dawn while driving down the highway and religiously checking the time. My sister is dragged along, not as a shopping companion, but rather as someone to keep me sane. My handbag barely meets the regulation carry-on size, several shoe options are packed, dresses and blazers are carefully stuffed inside, and the entire Nars beauty counter at Sephora is brought along.
Fighting for a lower-level seat on the bus is routine; Natalie and I were split up, so I had the pleasure of sitting next to a man who seemed to enjoy blasting rap music through his iPod headphones at 6am. His hat also seemed to be a few sizes too big as it fell on me not one, not two, but three times. Despite my friendly demeanor (or so I thought), he didn’t utter a single word in the three hours that our shoulders were brushed up against each other. I’m sure he would have had a few [unsympathetic] things to say had my Dramamine not been effective (thank God it was).
Once we finally arrived in New York City, the morning began smoothly. My sister and I sipped on coffee while soaking up the sunshine, discussed last-minute interview details, and made plans for the afternoon. Sound too good to be true? That’s because it was.
I realized that I had left my cell phone in Baltimore, consequently causing me to go into panic mode. What if something changes with my interview? How will Natalie and I get in touch afterwards? Do I remember the office’s address? Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap! Of course checking my email on Natalie’s phone wasn’t feasible because being the brilliant idiot that I am, I have a security setting on my account. If I want to check my email from an unidentifiable device, I have to type in a security code–which I have to retrieve from my phone.
My confidence dissipated and my nerves were racing. Though I already had more than enough printouts of my resume packet, I felt the need to find a Staples printing center. With ten more copies in hand, I began my beauty crawl. I put my germaphobic tendencies to the side, entered the Panera bathroom wearing linen shorts and a loose cotton shirt, and exited donning a silk dress and a freshly lint-rolled jacket. Based on the volume and the frequency of the loud knocks coming from outside of the bathroom door, I decided that I had hogged the Panera bathroom long enough. Continuing down 7th Avenue, I applied my makeup and stopped in McDonald’s to trade my Havaianas for nude pumps.
Miraculously, the one thing that went well all day was the actual interview. The contact that I met with was a sweetheart, and I loved the office environment. Fast-forward through a half hour of trying to locate my sister, a lunch that resulted in an embarrassing disaster, eight miles of walking the streets of Manhattan, an extra large serving of frozen yogurt at Bloomingdale’s, standing in line for a bus that was delayed 90 minutes, and you have one heck of a day.
By 10pm, deliriousness began to set in and Natalie and I did the only thing that we could do: laugh. Even after getting sick in the middle of a bustling street in broad daylight, I laughed. Because sometimes you just can’t take life too seriously.