zen in the city
the journey began on march 14th 1962 but my record of it began in 2004.
Bridget Jones has nothing on me….. .
I found her diary hysterical. I can vividly recall sitting on a park bench at the end of 54th street overlooking the East river in Manhattan, actually laughing out loud with no regard to the odd glances from the passing pedestrians. I found the events in Bridget Jones’ life to be very funny but not unusual. The fact was that I could relate to almost all of them personally and, top each and every one. The biggest difference was that my life isn’t fictional.
As far back as I can remember I had major goals for my life. I needed to live in the middle of Manhattan. I wanted a large loft in Soho and a country home as well. I wanted a giant diamond ring. I was to be blissfully married to a successful, cool, chic Wall Street type. I would have liposuction, breast enhancement and mini eyelifts on an as needed basis. And although I love children, I never heard a clock ticking and assumed that it was for the best, as their schooling might very well interfere with our travel plans. I would spend plenty of time fundraising for the needy with enough time remaining to write my memoirs. It never occurred to me that I would not have all that and even more – I was always just waiting for it to arrive.
Well, I did move to Manhattan. I was engaged, but not to the Wall Street tycoon, and the engagement only lasted six short weeks of my forty three years. I briefly had the most gorgeous diamond ring you ever saw. My main man, Ivan, is a dog. I am still hopeful about the plastic surgery and I have no children to interfere with my traveling.
It’s like a bad dream when I awake each morning to find that I am living with my aunt and her 112 pound dog Ali, in a suburban neighborhood in New Jersey. Fran never married and lives in the same house where my grandparents raised her and my father. She has also been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
You may be wondering why someone who was no doubt destined to be living the life of a devoted wife of an important power mogul, spending the days coordinating large fundraising events at significant museums throughout Manhattan for those less fortunate, is living with her aunt in the suburbs of New Jersey. Well, so am I.
Fortunately, I do know that it’s all just a matter of timing and it is all on its way. The man, the home, the purposeful career, the riches, the perfect volunteering opportunity, the memoirs and the face lift. This I truly believe – but for today, I will go to various department stores and sell my $22.00 bottles of shampoo to the women I want to become. I work for a high-end hair care company selling ridiculously expensive shampoos, hair masks, balms, gels and sprays to stores such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
I started my sales career almost 14 years ago selling fragrances for one of the largest and very well respected cosmetic companies in the world. I quickly emerged as their budding superstar claiming the title of #1 sales rep in the U.S. from the first quarter through the entire two years I spent with the company.
Right about the same time I got that job I moved into my uncle’s rent controlled apartment in one of the finest neighborhoods in Manhattan on East 55th Street. My uncle had been holding onto the lease here since 1972 and had not actually lived in the building for several years. I quickly accepted his offer and moved in to the $400.00 a month one-bedroom apartment in the best neighborhood I could imagine. Although I resided on the 2nd floor of an old rodent-infested walk up building, it was exactly where I needed to be. My neighbors included Sigourney Weaver, Bill Blass, Brooke Shields, Mario Cuomo, Nelson Rockefeller and Judge Judy, all of whom I would see on a regular basis. My immediate neighbors, the people who actually lived in my building, were an entirely different breed, and it made my days on E. 55th Street quite interesting to say the least.