Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The storage space

As the seasons have changed, I have appreciated the easy access to the contents of my storage space, courtesy of my ultra organized mother.

Mini storage is a way of life in Manhattan. My 7x10 space is well-located in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, on the tenth floor of the building, in one of the many locations operated by Manhattan Mini Storage. They know their audience, with perks such as free car service to visit the space and free moving services. It is clean, well-lit and secure.

I packed my storage space strategically. Or more specifically, I had the movers pack it strategically. I assisted them by putting a bright orange sticker on anything that I wanted near the front for easy access. All of the things that I won't need to access are in back (such as the couch, pots and pans, etc). My clothes are hung on two rolling racks that can easily be rolled out so that I can treat the space like a walk in closet. I have shelves in front, with each box of things labeled in pencil with its contents. The lists of contents are on removable index cards that are slipped into clear passport holders that are in turn taped to the box. If something is added or removed from a box, the card can easily be slipped out and updated. The boxes are each numbered, and the contents are also entered into my computer. It sounds like a lot of trouble to go to until you suddenly want your tap shoes (true story).

Before all of this began, I considered moving many of my belongings to Minnesota, where my parents live. A friend pointed out that I will feel like I live where ever the majority of my things are located. It turns out she was right. So for now, I am glad that my things are located in Manhattan, even as I traipse around to other locations. And I'm glad that I have my tap shoes while doing it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nothing could be Finer than to be in Carolina

This past week I spent time in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC.

Charlotte is the second largest financial center of the United States. It is a well manicured city with great use of public outdoor space. One must look up into the sky to see the evidence of how Charlotte has been hit by the financial downturn: idle cranes attached to half built skyscrapers. I counted five overhead cranes while walking around downtown. At least one of the buildings has been sold from a bank to an energy company and construction has continued, but others were frozen in time when the banks collapsed. The problem appears (to the untrained eye) to all be up in the air. On the ground, the city continues to have a lively schedule of festivals and other entertainment.

Charleston is built on a peninsula, so I was told that any trip around town that involves more than two bridges is just too far. It has always oriented to the water, so in Colonial times it was the third or fourth largest city in the United States due to its busy port. It boasts beautiful homes, amazing views and a proud history. Since it is right along the ocean, the tide often comes inland. More than once we came out of a restaurant in the evening to find the parking lot under water. This is a reality that Charlestonians live with in the way that the wind is a reality in Kansas or high altitude cooking directions are a reality in Denver.

I have been below the Mason Dixon line many times, but each trip is an education, filling in additional little pieces of my puzzle of understanding. Here are a few of the things that I learned on this trip:
  • Southern hospitality means that a man would not allow a woman to take out the garbage. Period.
  • Hardees sells fried bologna sandwiches. And people buy them.
  • Firefly is a popular vodka drink that tastes like sweet tea. I heard about Firefly hangovers in two states.
  • They have at least one billboard that says "Rush Limbaugh: Saving the Soul of America".
  • There are people who think that they have never met a gay person. There are also gay people.
  • The only stated rules on the Greyhound bus are "No smoking" and "No profanity." Hopefully other general laws of the land would be enforced as well, since I overheard someone say, "I am not going back to prison. That sucked."
  • There is a separate concierge on each floor of the Omni Hotel. Mine even arranged a ride to the Greyhound Station for me.
  • Those who display the confederate flag do not think of it as a symbol of slavery. They think of it as honoring their past by using the phrase: "Heritage, not Hate."
  • Rocking chairs are so important that they have them in the airport.
  • What I think of as comfortable summer weather is what happens in September. Fall is the time to get outside and have fun, after it has finally cooled off.
  • They agree that Kanye West should not have interrupted Taylor Swift.
And so it goes, my little slice of southern American pie.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bye, Bye Birdie

I moved to New York City in 2003 to do my Master's in Organizational Psychology at NYU. During my last semester at NYU, I auditioned for musicals that fit around my class schedule. Thus, my very first show in New York City was Bye Bye Birdie at Brooklyn Family Theater (BFT) in the spring of 2005. I played Mrs. McAfee, and met a whole crew of wonderful people. I went on to do Wizard of Oz and Snoopy at the same theater, as well as two touring productions that were produced by BFT. The theater closed its doors about a year ago, but I continue to count many of the actors and staff among my friends.

This past week I revisited that chapter of my life as I house sat at what could safely be called the epicenter of BFT. The brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn is owned by the house manager of BFT, and the upstairs apartment was once occupied by the artistic director and the business manager / utility player. Now that they have moved on, the upstairs apartment has been taken over by a former BFT actor / playwright and her new husband. They have definitely made it their own, but the echoes of the former tenants were still there in the red walls and the Victorian accents. Being in the place reminded me of read throughs, music rehearsals, and small cast parties.

Bye Bye Birdie was on my mind this week, but also on the minds of many New Yorkers. It just so happens that Bye Bye Birdie is returning to Broadway for the first time since it's original run with Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera. Performances started this week. Five of us from that BFT production of Bye Bye Birdie were in the audience for the very first preview. It was a fitting end to a week of reminiscence.

Friday, September 4, 2009

New View and Viewpoints

Usually when I pack up all of my things, it isn't too long until I unpack them in a new place and partake in the fun of decorating and arranging. This time, my things are all packed up and staying in storage. Make no mistake, it's a very nice storage facility and will definitely be the subject of a future blog post, but storage does not afford one the opportunity to unpack or decorate. Yet if one packs, one should unpack. There's something yin and yang about it. To complete the second half of my equation, I went to Vernon, NJ where my friends Chris and Jamie and their two sons just moved into a new home. I pitched in to paint walls, organize toys, collapse boxes and distract the 2-year-old when other projects needed to be finished. Our favorite project was to put the crosspieces into the windows so that each larger window was divided into eight panes of glass. The dividers were a struggle to install, but each finally fell into place with a satisfying snap. Once we were done scrutinizing each window during installation, it was exciting to step back and take in the larger effect. The windows themselves had a finished touch to them, and outside those windows was a view much different than the view I'd left behind in Manhattan.

I will enjoy many different views as an Urban Nomad, sleeping in different places, but I am more excited about the different viewpoints. By staying with Chris and Jamie, I had the opportunity to peek at the world from their point of view, from the parsonage at the edge of the church property, where one can hear the choir practicing if the windows are open and where one can look out over a majestic valley of trees while grilling. I got to learn more of their personal story and hear the reasons behind some of the choices they've made for everything from paint colors to parenting styles. That is a privilege of being an Urban Nomad.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...