Sunday, October 07, 2007
My computer died. I lost everything. All of my lyrics, all of my song ideas, all of my pictures (which includes thousands from Africa), all of my school assignments, music...I haven't cried yet but I'm afraid if I keep adding to this list...
I am typing to you from a brand new $1,300 computer. It's nice, sure. But I want my dirty, cracked computer back. I made that comment to my roommate earlier and we laughed for awhile, but it's true.
This post, however, is not about my generally bad weekend; it is about Paul, the 58-year-old man from New Zealand that I met today at the Apple store on 5th Avenue.
After hearing the bad news that my computer was long lost, I stepped outside to call my cousin, Jesse, an Apple employee for some advice, and then my mother for some comfort. Then I walked back in to the store, ready to quickly grab a computer and go.
That is not what happened.
"Why did you bring that computer here?" He is a small man, about my height, with short gray hair and reading glasses resting at the tip of his nose. He is standing in front of one of the laptops, gmail open, and a briefcase with papers resting on the table next to him. He speaks with an accent; a few minutes later I learn he is from New Zealand. That, and about a thousand other things.
"Oh, it fell off my bed this morning and now I need to buy a new one."
We talk about the computer for about a minute. Then he asks if I am a student. "No," I said, "I graduated in May."
He asks me where I work and what music publishing is. Then he tells me he wrote a song called "Venus" and asks me what he should do with it. I give him the best advice I can, thinking this person might be a little bit crazy, but I am intrigued nonetheless.
He starts telling me about the song. He can't explain it the way he wants to, so he tries to find the common link:
"Have you ever been in love?" he asks.
I laugh, "No, I haven't."
The look on his face is pure bewilderment. "You haven't?"
I shake my head. He is looking at me in a very serious way, as if what is about to happen next might change my entire path in life.
"Do you mind if I told you a story?"
A strange man in an underground computer store on one of the busiest streets in New York City wants to tell me a story. This is about the moment that I start wondering if the whole reason my computer fell off the bed was for this conversation.
He tells me he was 19 years-old when Janice, a cricket player, knocked on his door to tell him she had accidentally knocked a ball into his yard. He said that he opened the door, looked into her eyes and he fell in love.
This is when he takes off his glasses, folds them, and sits them on the table. His face is red. There are tears in his eyes.
He tells me that they dated all summer, but there was a distance that made it hard for the two of them to travel at the time. But he loved her. Not just because she was beautiful, not because he "saw something in her eyes," not because it felt good. He really loved her. (He also told me that he didn't love her because they had "consumated"...because they hadn't. Little shocking, but okay, I get it.)
Thirty years later, he is working at a marina selling boats in London. He sees a woman with blonde hair standing on the pier and she notices him hop from boat to boat, appearing as if he knows what he's doing. So she approaches him with questions about sailing. He asks if she would like to join him on a short sailing trip, ("I wasn't hitting on her," he says, "I just always look for an excuse to sail.") and she agrees. Then he introduces himself.
Paul. She knows this Paul. She has seen him before...
"Paul? My name is Janice. Do you remember me?"
She introduced herself with her married name, but still his heart begins to pound. He realizes that he know two Janice's. Janice B. and Jancice T. Janice T...the Janice.
"Were you at once Janice B?"
"No, I was Janice Thompson."
This is the second time that the man standing in front of me in the Apple store begins to cry. I cannot take my eyes away from him. Not for one second.
He tells me that Janice's husband had just passed and that he himself was at the end of a strangling relationship. He tells me that Janice renews his hope and his gustow (they still did not "consumate"), and Paul begins to have a vision for a way to help poverty-stricken families around the globe. Janice inspires him and he spends everything he has, over half a million dollars, on funding this organization. All that he now owns he can fit into two bags. He is meeting with President Bill Clinton this Wednesday to present his ideas.
"Changing poverty into prosperity."
I am blown away.
"How old are you? 24?" He asks. I tell him I am 22.
"You are still young. But you are growing, and your friends are starting to get married, right? Well, you. You wait. It might not be until you are 35, but you wait. You wait for the right husband who will love you the way you should be loved. It will be worth it."
(This, by the way, is the second time a stranger has stopped me in a public place and told me something about my marriage should be like. The first was a security guard at a museum in Nashville.)
"I don't know why I am doing this, but can I tell you another story?"
For the second time I smile and say, "Sure."
"The woman I am e-mailing right now, I met her on the train at Victoria Station." ("I've been there!" I say, "This summer!")
He tells me how they are the only two on the train so he sits next to her and says, "All the others are taken."
She is not a beautiful woman, he says, but she is kind and she is funny. They keep in touch and Paul tells me that he has fallen in love with her.
This, by the way, is the third time that Paul's face reddens and I see the tears form in his eyes.
He talks about how we have the ability to do much and when two people unite, the power between them is infinite. "And how can we fail," he says, "when the whole universe is based on creativity. It all began with creativity. These ideas I have are to better the world and I know that there will be hard times, but there is no possible way that I can fail. A door closed is another door opened. We have not been brought this far to fail."
"I can tell that you are a positive person, Brittany. Do you know how I can tell that?"
"Because you are still standing here."
(Are you sure that doesn't mean that I am just crazy?)
"I don't know why I am telling you these stories, but other people would have just gotten angry. Or they would have walked away and ignored me. You are not that way."
I am not that way.
But he doesn't see how annoyed I get on the trains when people talk to loud or stand in my way or cannot control their children. He does not see how I jolt by the woman who cannot carry her baby's stroller down the stairs alone.
I am not that way...
I know that nobody is perfect, not even this love fool, poverty hero from New Zealand, but here is the thing. We aren't that way. None of us. He is right, in a sense. We are not born to be that way.
He also tells me that it's just a computer and it's just money and that everything will be okay. Which is exactly what mom said.
"You might as well throw the damn thing to the floor again," he laughs.
"Because everything will be okay."
Posted by Brittany White at 9:20 PM
Saturday, October 06, 2007
I didn't know that the title of your blog really determines a lot in the blog world. I am dissatisfied with mine and I want a new one. But I can't think of anything.
Today I baked, did laundry, went to the grocery store, and ironed. One of my roommates said I make her feel inadequate. It is sort of strange being a Susy homemaker in the city. You have to walk to the store and you have to carry your laundry down the street and at the end of the day your arms hurt from all of the loading. Also, it is hot and it is October.
Well, in the theme of the day, I'm off to babysit.
Posted by Brittany White at 4:30 PM
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
We have all of them. We are in the process of de-cluttering our apartment to spray for bed bugs. We saw a mouse so there are traps all over the place. One of these traps caught a roach. The mouse is still alive and well...and decided to visit us during Pushing Dasies tonight.
Here are some photos if you're interested.
PS- Saw the Lady on the way home...happy.
Posted by Brittany White at 9:59 PM
The train that I take to work actually picks up at an above ground stop. It travels another two stops above ground, above traffic, until it plunges back into the underground. It is a local train, which means it generally is a longer ride than if I were to take the express, but I like this train because there is a moment, right before it dips into the dark, right after it passes a tall glass building, where I gain a little bit of hope and inspiration to help me get through the day. For about five seconds, I can see Lady Liberty. Cheesy? Well I'm about to get worse. She is this incredible symbol of American history and here I am, within view of her. I just feel like if she can stand there, bear the winter and the rain, then so can I.
Today I needed to see her pretty badly. The train was packed and I could hardly see through the swarm of people. There I stood, coffee in one hand, the other gripped tight to the railing, twisting my head around, hoping for a peak. Finally, the valley between the buildings, I stand up on my toes, ready to be inspired. And she is not there. The Statue of Liberty. Is gone. I'm freaking out. Shouldn't we tell somebody? F Train! Unite! Where is the Lady?
And then I realize. She has succombed to her only enemy.
A foggy day in New York town.
On another note, how do we feel about wearing yoga pants to work? I for one, feel good about it. Since I am wearing yoga pants to work today. But don't start yelling yet, mom, this is not relapse of me trying to sneak out to school in pajama pants. I paired them with a short striped dress and some sweet kicks. I almost look like a trendy, tight-wearing New Yorker.
I'll let you know if the Lady defeats the fog this evening. I am pretty faithful that she can make it through.
Posted by Brittany White at 1:13 PM