Reflections Before Bedtime #54

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I hope you can laugh with me about the week’s adventures… Because you’ve got to laugh to keep from crying, right?

Life is busy when you are prepping for court and people’s livelihoods are hanging in your hands by a thread. A tough exterior is needed on these streets, in a court where your “professional” counterparts are unabashedly perverted and sexist. They ask you your favorite brand of lingerie, you have kisses blown at you and you get sweet talked as if you are some court goddess and there is a bed nearby. Because you are a woman, you get told to “calm down” during a negotiation when you are advocating for your client…meanwhile, the male attorney by you is screaming, and no one is telling him to calm down. He is doing his job.

I don’t think these men realize that while they drool and fantasize over you, while they are disgusting and demeaning, they are giving you power over them. I am working on a thesis about how sexism can empower. Anyway… This is not some feminist manifesto.

The week started with the terrible decision of me giving into the bad habit of picking my face. I had my face bleeding for a good hour because I kept touching it and trying to apply concealer. What I thought would be better and look less gross than the unexpected acne was actually worse. A bloody mess, as my British schooling would suggest.

I got on the train. Half of NYC was in it. I swear, the train was unbalanced and tipping. The only seat available was by a sleeping homeless man. “I will sit there!” I decided.

The train stopped at the next stop. I felt the sudden urge to sneeze. I will not be that person. You know how when someone sneezes on the train everyone glares… I sneezed. Everyone looked at me. I got angry at myself. How did I become that person? Meanwhile, my face bleeding was starting to subside.

I sat patiently, when I felt plastic fall on the chair. I looked down, and the homeless man’s reading glasses had slipped out of his windbreaker. At this point, everyone in the train was looking at me to see what my next move would be. I picked up the glasses and started trying to push them back into his pocket. It was clearly not working. I looked up in frustration. At least thirty eyes were on me. I tapped the man’s shoulder. “Sir, your glasses fell out of your pocket.”

He looked up and put them back in his pocket. “Thank you,” he said. I sighed in relief.

Eventually, I got to work. Did my thing, and got stared at. I then needed to go pick up something at an agency for a client.

Because I had not a moment to lose and the place was supposedly 15 minutes away, I figured I would walk. Google doesn’t realize I do not need “Google walk” time. I Google fly. I began furiously walking and arrived to the agency.

It was a place with purple walls that looked like they had been painted in the 1980s. It also looked like the walls had been hit with a bat in the 90s. There were condom dispensers on the walls and old gold plastic Christmas garlands duck taped to the walls and countertops. I stood there in disbelief wondering what world I had entered. The lady helping me asked me if I was scared. I wasn’t scared, I assured her, I was just confused. There was a sign that said “finger” and part was faded. I prayed this referenced a finger printing station.

Fast forward, and I am hungry and on my way to a law firm in midtown-Manhattan. There were no seats available and no gentlemen alive on the train, and so I stood in heels clutching a poll. The train jerked forward, and I lost my balance. I fell on top of a girl and then landed in the arms of a confused Asian man. I was on him like we were going to dance la quebradita. It was almost 2pm, and I was lunchless. The train car was judging me.

After acting like an accidental tart on the train, I arrived at the law firm. I couldn’t even open the wooden doors. I pushed and pulled and then decided to ring the bell. “It’s open!” The receptionist announced through the intercom, annoyed.

I walked in composed and told her who I was expecting to see. “Have a seat; it’ll be a minute,” the receptionist said. There was a food delivery guy standing in the corner watching me.

I looked around at the red and gold fancy leather chairs. I was analyzing the painting in front of me while sitting down in one of the chairs, and I promise you, I sank into the chair about two feet. It felt like my knees were in front of my collarbone. Suddenly, I couldn’t see the receptionist anymore. I was startled, and I tried to sit like a normal person in the spongey chair. The delivery guy was watching me, amused.

When the person I was waiting for came to meet me, I asked the person to sign something and instead, my paper was stamped dramatically. So dramatically, the delivery guy jumped in the corner. I quickly left, but then, I couldn’t figure out the elevator buttons. It turned out the buttons were these dainty little lights with arrows. Of course they were.

I rode the train with my favorite little Chinese kid in the neighborhood. He is like my Chinese nephew. He just doesn’t know it. I used to see him and his dad, and I would ride the same train car as them (yes, I choose my train car based on cute kids). Now, when they see me waiting for the train first, they smile and stand by me so we ride in the same train car. We have an unspoken bond. This child is always excited to ride the train and look out of the window. He is always talking and saying (what I am sure are) the most adorable things in Chinese.

Tomorrow is the middle of the week. I hope I get to ride the train with my Chinese nephew and his dad. I hope the world never stops sending me on crazy adventures. I hope someone puts a plaque by the heavy wooden doors at the law firm to teach those of us from the hood how to gain admission into the gold plated offices. I hope someone fixes the “finger” sign. I hope to never sneeze again on the train or fall into another unknown man’s arms. And no sir, I will not “calm down.”  It’s only Tuesday.

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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