Sunday, November 7, 2010

Day 33 in NYC

(alright, I haven’t really been here the WHOLE time)

It occurred to me today, while crossing the street, texing, that the phrase “who knows when you’ll die? You could get hit by a bus at any moment?” is not so absurd. It would be very easy for me, Maggie Ritchie, to just not look or get so engrossed just thinking about how I am going to get from point a to point b and simply survive today that I might just not survive because I have indeed been hit by a bus.

I need to work on this.

So I’m finally moved into my new apartment and feeling, sorta, settled in the upper-west-side of the largest city in the USA.

The trauma of moving has been explained to me, many times, by my mother. I never really believed her before. Now, I laugh just thinking about moving in/out any other place but Manhattan. Ha. You have it so easy, EVERYONE. The idea of hauling my relatively small amount of stuff, bag by bag, down the hall, into the elevator (lucky to have one), out of the elevator, out of the first set of doors, out to the street, waving down a taxi (again, lucky) explaining he’ll have to come around because it’s a one way street, all the while keeping an eye on my 7 bags/boxes because I am alone and might get robbed… and then doing the reverse process on the other side, door, elevator, hallway, door, hallway, room, bag by bag… makes everything else seem like a joke.

Oh, and did I mention it was raining?

(Snapshot: Maggie walking 7.5 blocks in the pouring, freezing rain, dragging 2 suitcases and wearing nothing but a strapless dress and uggs because everything else was packed up ☺ … because she didn’t want to pay for a cab ☺)

So that was Wednesday. I understand why people stay in their apartments for 49 years. No, not rent control. It’s the avoidance of the move.

I yelled at two taxi drivers in a span of 24 hours.


The first one was not so dramatic. I was taking a bus back from DC which was stuck in grid-lock traffic for over 40 minutes so I was running late. I had a 6pm meeting for a job opportunity and the bus pulled in at 6:20 (was schedule to arrive 5:45). I made a quick calculation between subway and cab and chose the subway, mostly because it’s cheaper. Bad choice. After lurching around at 1 mile per hour, stopping and starting, I got one stop on the subway and then realized I had got on going the WRONG WAY! Curses!!! So I run out, got on going the other way, and the train does the same thing. Starts, stops, pauses, groans… and then I start groaning and explaining my dismay to a gay couple next to me. They were extremely sweet and sympathetic. “It’s days like this that I hate New York” I said.

“You’ll get used to it” they said (everyone says that)

“I’m not sure that I want to” I say…

So we’re still moving like a snail and there are 4 stops to go, so I get off at 14th street and hail a cab. Thinking he might be able to save me.


Add to this, he’s eating a sandwich or something while he sits in traffic and I watch the meater rise with my blood pressure.

“I am so late!!!” I say “I could walk faster than this!”

“Do you want to walk? “ He answers, unfazed

“No…” and then I huff and puff for a few more minutes. And keep saying “This is ridiculous” under my breath while he continues to munch away at whatever he was eating.
Finally we’re close enough and I stopped dead still so I just say, “this is fine, I’m getting out.”

“And I hope you enjoyed your dinner” I heard it coming out of me in a voice I didn’t recognize… but did. (no bethel friends, not a demon. Just me. Just a very angry version of Maggie ☺)

I was horrified.

I am a terrible person, I thought

Leaving the meeting I was 50 minutes late to, I dropped my phone, somehow, and didn’t realize for a good 30 minutes. Came back to check and it was gone (later, I find out a maintenance man had picked it up and shoved it in a drawer INSIDE of a book.

Figure that one out.

I used a taxi-drivers phone to call a friend to call about my phone and I just wanted to scream again:

Really? REALLY?

(Sidenote: All in all , I spent $30 on taxi’s that evening, going nowhere. That’s 2 hours of baby-sitting which is SO not worth sitting in traffic with a man eating a sandwich…or whatever he was eating. )

The next day was the above-described moving process and I still didn’t have my phone, so I couldn’t call anyone to help.

So… I yelled at another taxi driver.

He was old and Chinese and really confused and sort of difficult and wouldn’t listen to what I was actually saying and kept saying “I dunt undastand” so finally I just said “look, I’m sorry you’re confused, I’m having a really bad day, can we please just go!?!”

To which he answered “Ya baad day is nat ma baad day! Why do you haf to be angry wef me?”

And then I started to cry. Here I am, a graduate of Bethel School of Supernatural ministry, here in NYC because I feel called to be here because I want to change something, and be a light… or whatever, and I can’t even be kind to the old Chinese taxi driver who is just trying to do his job.

I am a terrible person
. I thought again. And kept crying.

“Its humaan natur” said the cabbie. “Humaan natur”

The doorman at the new apartment was certainly confused to see me get out of the cab with tears streaming down my face, return to the cabbie to ask for forgiveness, hug him, and then struggle with my 7 bags to get under the awning and out of the rain.

I don’t know what to say about all this.

I know shame and discouragement are pretty useless, but I am still shocked.

I also refuse to turn it into one of those lessons about how evil we really are at the core. Because I am not evil. I’m really not. And neither are you. I’m actually quite amazing and kind and loving and thoughtful and a lot of other lovely things. I’m sure you are too. But then I also can yell at a cabbie over a pretty insignificant circumstance.

What’s that about?

“Maggie, where’s your peace?” I keep hearing Jason Vallotton in my head.
I have no idea, but I’m pretty sure, in that moment, it wasn’t in Jesus or feeling loved or knowing I am taken care of and always will be.


So when I say New York is kicking my a**, that’s what I mean. Never has it been more plain to me that I am utterly out of control and terrifyingly helpless to change most every circumstance I encounter. The need to control is still so strong, mostly because it hasn’t been challenged. And now it is being challenged.

And, God help me, it will lose ☺

I am so exposed.

Here’s to becoming stronger, and more our beautiful selves.

And to taxi drivers everywhere, God bless em.



Julie Lortz said...

that was great. love your honesty. thanks for being real. hope day 34 is much better. also, did you get the job?

troubling stars said...

mags i leave an hour outside nyc and would love to have you out for a weekend if you need some sanctuary from the big city. Princeton is gorgeous and peaceful and has amazing food. please come!!!
love liz bunches cramer

troubling stars said...

ummm i live an hour outside of the city - not leave

Lori :) said...

Love it! Well - I don't love all your frustrating experiences . . . but your writing and story-telling of them. You had me cracking up, but feeling pity for you at the same time. One day you'll laugh at it all. Maybe you already are. :) Anyways - it reminds me of my sister up there - as I'm sure she has many of those same type of stories to tell! I guess you get used it after awhile? :)

Blessings . . . to you AND all the cabbies there! :)

L :)
ps - I hope you can connect with my sister and her friends there!!

Tom Allen said...

Run, Lola I mean Maggie, Run!
May I send you some cab money?
Look: I live 18 hours outside NYC (by fast flying jetliner) and you can come and stay with me whenever you wish.
You never answered: Did you get the job?