character profile// the girl downstairs

You know those girls. You've seen them walking around New York City. 

They look like they woke up and just look like that. And I'm not talking about the model glamazons that roam the streets of New York. There are certainly a lot of very pretty folks in this here city. But there are also these girls! That just are stylish! They have a fashion that looks easy. That looks unplanned. Not off the runway, or edgy. The look, to me, says 'I just woke up and grabbed these things. My eyes were actually closed. I made coffee instead of fussing about makeup. I may throw on some mascara. I didn't have time to do my hair, but I slept in a bun, so that'll be fine.'

THOSE girls. 

Well there's one downstairs. In my building.

She's seems nice too. A neighbor I would actually like to meet!

You know there are some neighbors that you may say hello too, but that is it. There's a wall you will not get by. My next door neighbor is like that. I mean, we share a wall I should be able to call you by your first name. But I TRULY believe he sees me (or my boyfriend) coming and goes the other way. But I digress.

 

I want to ask her. Did you make decisions this morning? Did you think about which shirt with those overalls?!! Wait, you pulled off overalls? Are those back? (And yes, I think they are. ) Really though, she just always looks effortlessly put together. And I think its so great. I wonder... if she just shops really well for herself?

I think!!! That's a big thing. To know what you like and then find those stores and buy things that you really want to wear. I have so many things I have gotten rid of because at one point they were in style, and I thought I should wear it-- or try it out-- "it's different Natalie, try it out!"-- but most of the time, I knew it wasn't me.

 

So, to the girl downstairs: With your overalls. With your oversized mustard yellow Cardigan. Your messy bun. Your tote bags. Do you have make up on or not? Where did you get that leather bag? Everyone wants an awesome leather bag. Don't deny it. So cheers to you and your easy style.  And also, lets meet and have coffee.

 

-n.

character profile// an old couple in nyc

Something about old couples in NYC just make my heart squeeze. 

Walking the pup this morning, as usual, off to a coffee shop to grab my latte. And this old couple comes out of their apartment building just ahead of me. The woman walks out first. Face wrinkled, closes her eyes and feels the sun while she waits for her husband. He's slower at first, walks with a cane. They both have down jackets on. Spring may be here, the sun may be out, but today they are prepared for the grey clouds overhead, the wind reminiscing about winter. As if he were taking her hand to go out on a dance floor, he slides his hand into hers and begins their walk. Cane in his right hand, he keeps her close, just behind his left shoulder. They face the world, they speak under their breath to each other and keep time. Cane, right, left, right, left. Her steps an echo of his. 

I imagined they had lived down here for years. 40 years. They came over from Asia, they worked all their lives in a shop. They retired. 

They stopped for some school kids, and even though I couldn't see their faces, I imagined she smiled. I imagined she remembered her kids, crossing streets, holding hands, following the leader. 

Something about their closeness as they walked. He didn't let go of her hand. It wasn't supposed to be romantic, but that ease. That comfort knowing they had walked this way for years. They wouldn't bump into each other, they were in time together. Taking a waltz down the street. Cane, 2, 3, Cane, 2, 3. 

And then they turned left and I continued to the post office. 

character profile// "ladies and gentlemen" guy

 /sceneSitting on the subway. Like you do. Enter this guy. Some books in hand. I don't even look up, no one does. And then we hear the familiar "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm sorry to bother you on your ride. I apologize..." 

 /character: In NYC you have to tune out the noise. And unfortunately, these people the beggars, the people asking for money on the street or the subway become a part of that. We wish we could help everyone and yet, we don't. Well, this guy. Tall. Bearded face. I didn't look up for a while. Though I was facing him. His script wasn't that much different from others I had heard. "I need a little help." "Anything will do." Something in this man's voice though made me so sad. It went straight to my heart. And it wasn't what he said, it was something in there that rang of truth. He had books in his hand, he said he had a college degree. He said he was hungry. I'm terrible about carrying cash, and didn't want to go digging through my purse. But I had cut apple slices in a baggy as a to-go snack. I thought, give them to him. For a second I hesitated, embarrassed that I didn't have more to offer, as if that would really matter. My ego put aside, I looked up and apologized for my small offering which he accepted and looked me right in the eye. "It really helps. Thank you." We exchanged a small smile and a nod. And it made me more sad. 

 

/final thought: What do we do when we can't really do anything? I don't really know his story. I don't know how he ended up where he is. Everyone's lives are so different. And how do we become the person on the subway asking strangers who don't even look up from their laps, staring at phones with no service, blasting music in their ears. What went wrong? Drugs? Lost a job. No family to turn to? Lack of ambition? I think it takes guts to get up and ask for help. 

 

Today I send a happy thought to that guy on the subway. 

character profile// the man who whistles

The Scene : New York City, Lower East Side. 9:15am. Dog walk. She heads down the street, planning on a longer walk than usual. She hears a sound......

The Characte: For those of you in NYC, yes its warmer today, but it hasn't been a pure blue sky and sunshine day. So, a grey warmish morning, and I'm walking the pup and I hear whistling. Some song I don't recognize but I try to place. But definitely a song, its has a beat and its going somewhere, it has melody. Then a voice, "Good Morning beautiful!" I look up and there's the man who whistles. He's a window washer. He has his earphones in and his baseball cap worn low on his brow. Scruffy, like he hasn't had a full shave in a couple weeks. His smile is energized and open, and yet his teeth aren't bright white. But it doesn't matter, because it's everything a smile should be... Happy and communicative and honest. It makes me smile! And I say "oh, hello" back to him. As I start to walk by, slowly, very slowly, the doggie always likes to stop and smell at this specific spot. Always outside coffee shops. I say to him "Have a good day!" He says, "Well, thank you so much. You just made mine." I start to look back at him but he's already turned back to his window and continues to work. Wiping the window, all the way up, all the down, whistling all the while. I smiled for another block.

He stuck with me this man. I saw him again on the way back to the apartment, 30 minutes later, pushing a shopping cart full of his supplies. Still whistling!! This time it is some 80's song, that has now slipped from my mind. I watch him a little bit. I realize that what strikes me is his presence. There he is, working hard, whistling. Smiling. Greeting passerby's. Spreading positive energy. Just living his life. And I just thought 'you sir, are a wonderful human and you've inspired me today'. And thus starts a new idea.... Character Profiles based on real people walking around us every day. In a city like New York, there will be many. 

Final Thought: May you keep on whistling sir. Whistling your heart into the air. I didn't get to tell you, but you made my day.