March 1, 2010
Today is my fifth installment of my “Nonchalant Observer” series. On day 22, I observed (judged) what crossed my path as I sat with my coffee on my Brooklyn stoop. On day 38, I took you with me to the happenings of beach life in the surfing town of Hermosa Beach, California. On day 112, we crossed the age gap and hit a retirement community. During happy hour. You came with me to my father and stepmother’s house for brunch in Westchester, New York on day 141. Today you will join me as I am being shot in a piece for Current TV.
This footage was being directed and produced by the founding directors of Monkey Goes Production Company, Matt Pickar and Jon Reitzes. I met these guys (who have done work for MTV, CNBC, A&E Biography Channel, Google… ) at an eBay event that I was hosting at ABC studios last summer. Jon and I live in the same neighborhood and have (alarmingly frequent) run-ins on the street. We appear to be in sync and the universe wants us to work together. Jon and Matt immediately called me when they got hired to do this piece(actually, I’m not at all certain that call was made in any form of haste and I might not have even been their first choice…but I want to create a sense of urgency to the scenario and add some high octane fun for my readers.) Regardless, they asked me to be in it. I agreed to participate. We filmed today and I was instructed to get from my apartment in Brooklyn to The Cloisters in upper Manhattan. I was only allowed to use subway maps and ask people for directions. The other two participants in this journey were followed by a crew as they used alternative methods of navigating their way. One person used an iphone application and another was permitted to print out Hopstop directions.
I made detailed notes from 8:45am-1:47pm on this Monday March 1st, 2010
The following is presented in “real” time:
8:45 – Jon and his assistant arrive at my apartment. They attach my mic and get some footage of me introducing myself. My eyes start watering because it’s evidently going to be the longest winter ever. Not diva tears. Frigid tears. We reshoot my intro on a sunnier block. Jon hands me a Flip Video camera because he also wants me to film myself subwaying up to The Cloisters. Luckily, I’m very Flip friendly because my brother was the marketing director for this camera…which makes me… Flip-riffic. They start filming me as I walk the streets of Brooklyn. I begin to hear Carly Simon’s "Let the River Run." On the soundtrack of my mind. To be released this spring.
9:37 – We stop at Café Pedlar and “my team” treats me to a cup of coffee. As we’re drinking it outside, the manger comes out and is calmly irritated that Jon used the camera in the café. I get nervous and am thinking about putting my coffee down and yelling, “Abort! Abort!”… and then runaway. Then run back to grab my coffee. Then runaway again. Luckily Jon is a smooth talker and reassures her that he only shot me coming out the door. Problem resolved.
10:01 – We go down into the subway and I review the map on the wall. I don’t see The Cloisters but went there 11 years ago and recall that I got off at 190th. Or 181st ? Maybe 207th?
10:04 - I get on the F train at Bergen Street and intend to switch to the A at Borough Hall. None of us realize that we got on the C train by mistake. We don’t let this rising action frazzle our spirits and we make a seamless transfer to the A at Times Square. We were back on the right track. Literally. I’m trying to look at a map on the wall above one of the seats and my above average size purse hits the heavyset woman sitting below it. She was not amused. She didn’t say anything but her expression suggested that she had some serious past unresolved issues around being hit with handbags. By accident. We not so subtlety relocate to another part of the car.
10:37 - I’m still on the train and starting to reconsider exactly which stop is my best bet. I ask the rosy-cheeked bald Dutch man next to me if I can borrow his map. He graciously hands it over and then I proceed to rip it as I perused. His stop approaches and he tells me to just keep the map and he’ll get another one. Dutch. Good people. Good high people.
10:53 - I continue to look at my new map and in the spirit of trying to listen to my guttural intuition more these days, I decide that 190th will be our stop. My initial choice. I ask a woman across from me if The Cloisters are at 190th and she said that’s the correct stop. Then a lady behind me chimes in. In Spanish. Then in English, “190th.” The next thing I know, the Spanish woman and helpful woman #1 start speaking in and out of Spanish, look at me and together say, “190th.” This is soon followed by every passenger within my vicinity becoming very committed to getting me where I needed to go. Stat. Many people started chanting “190th! 190th! 190!” Maybe not that passionately…but I'm adding their rebel yell to my soundtrack. The subway version.
11:02 – We end up getting off at…190th. My new Metro Transit Authority friends had my back. I’ll miss them. We exit the train, see The Cloisters castle and walk over a hill overlooking the Hudson River. It’s a cloudless sunny day with remnants of last week’s blizzard. Stunning visual. I should come here more often. I won’t.
11:45 – I meet up at the museum entrance with the 2 other people who had just completed their journey uptown. We see a sign on the door that it is open Tuesday-Sunday. Today is Monday. This was a “planned surprise” but it still felt like showing up at Wally World only to hear Marty Moose say, “ Sorry, folks! We're closed for two weeks to clean and repair America's favorite family fun park. Sorry, uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!”
1:46 - The production guys are buying me lunch. That’ nice. Not in the mood to watch calories. Eat French fries.
1:47 - I wonder if my chanting subway support groups ever ask about me....