I haven't eaten liver or hot dog stew in a very long time. Though I still live, by choice, in a small New Hampshire town, as an adult and a professional writer I have traveled the country, often visiting America's biggest destinations because of my writing. I've been on the sets of various television shows, watching as they were filmed or taped. I've interviewed some of the most talented celebrities in TV, Film, and Music; have been interviewed; have pitched and sold TV episodes; signed books; written books from rooms in New York City to Los Angeles. I prefer the peace and solitude of my home and home office, but function well in big crowds, whether working them to get a story (my visit to cover the X-Games in '96 comes to mind) or at a podium, reading my work.
|Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg|
New York: a city I've visited dozens of times. A city I've said that I love for almost two decades, because I always have such great literary adventures there. Oh Giant Red Macintosh, how you tested my love during this most recent voyage to your avenues and event centers.
I should have known the day would challenge me when, at four on this brisk past Wednesday morning, I woke to find a rejection letter on a story and project I'd been told I was most-likely a shoe-in for. No sweat; after some 4,000 acceptances, I handle rejection well. It was the timing of the thing. Got dressed. Met my ride. Picked up the bus a few towns over. I told myself the foul odor of ammonia on said bus was likely some cleaning fluid. It worked enough to get me through to the next connection, which smelled much better. One bus later, I was finally en route to New York City, with this month's issue of The Writer opened, a wide smile on my face. We entered the city. At West 66th Street, the bus passed the ABC TV studios where, until December, OLTL had been filmed dating back to the late 1960s. My breath hitched. My smile evaporated. Another bad omen, surely. But I soldiered on, through the Port Authority, onto Broadway, and from there to 47th Street and my hotel, the Edison.
I won't even begin to relate the ridiculous nightmare that happened after I found I would not be allowed into my room due to a snafu regarding my reservation. There I stood at the reception desk, surrounded by original Diego Rivera murals and acres of black and serpentine marble, in my new designer sneakers, jeans, T-shirt, and winter pullover, looking every bit the upscale traveler, only suddenly I broke in an icy sweat, dealing with a frigid manager and his unsympathetic (read: downright rude) cadre who had zero interest in ironing out the issue -- the adult versions of all those popular kids in high school who delighted in making my life miserable. Luckily, as a citizen of the Granite State, I am rock-solid in a crisis. It took four hours, but I resolved the issue and moseyed up to my room on the ninth floor, forced once again to remember that just because someone lives in a cosmopolitan mecca doesn't automatically make them more sophisticated or better than I; nor does living in an expensive zip code entitle an individual to class.
My room in one of the city's finest hotels greeted me cold, and the water never ran more than lukewarm at best. Still, I unpacked, decompressed, called home, and decided it was best to move past the afternoon's aggravating chain of events. I had a night at the theater to look forward to. I showered, dressed well, and headed out into the icy snow falling over the city, my destination the Westside Theatre at 407 West 43rd Street.
The snow fell. I stopped and bought a dozen long-stemmed coral-colored roses for Ms. Strasser, inserted one of the promotional cards from Muse, arrived an hour early. A gorgeous, intimate theater with elegant acanthus leaf lamps and sconces (originally built as a German Baptist church), the Westside was like a sauna, so I stepped back outside into the snow, feeling bedraggled and beaten down, more than exhausted by my trip and the travails upon arriving to the city.
And then, as I shook my head, chuckling humorlessly at the image of myself, a small town hick in designer threads wondering what the hell business he had standing in the heart of New York City, the Universe smiled down upon me with a glimpse at an event as rare and elegant as the arrival of Haley's Comet. Gliding down 43rd, looking as gorgeous in person as she always did on the small screen, came Robin Strasser, the one and only -- a clear reminder that I had earned my right to stand right where I was standing.
As stated, I'm rarely starstruck anymore. But Robin Strasser is a super-star and long ago earned a rare place of magnitude among the best and brightest. She stole my breath, truly.
To Be Continued...