Dumb Luck, NY
This is only the second time I've been to New York City, but both times are punctuated by amazingly good luck.
The first trip I took to New York, I was visiting my friend Heidi, who had moved to Connecticut (but we both decided it would be more fun to meet up in NYC). Heidi is one of my very best friends, and I think part of the reason why is that she understands and fully supports my commitment to silly ideas. She's also usually involved with them. Like the time I decided to wear matching hot pants with another friend at the first Roller Derby World Cup, Heidi was the one writing "It's Better Than Yours" in glitter puff paint on our butts. Or the time I dyed my beard for a St. Jude fundraiser, and she donated a significant sum of money so she could pick the color. Or the time that she and two other friends chipped in to buy a very overpriced backdrop of '80s school portrait lazers for my birthday. I promised them all portraits with the lazers as a way of saying thank you.
So, for the trip to NYC, I pack up the lazers backdrop and a makeshift travel backdrop holder made of PVC pipe so that we can do lazer portraits. When we got to the Airbnb in Manhattan, it was immediately apparent that there was absolutely no space to do a portrait session. We start brainstorming. We can do it outside, maybe? We scout park locations. Ehh, might work, but dealing with even a slight breeze will be a bitch, and it's a hell of a spectacle. I'm hoping for something else. But since space is a premium in New York, I'm pretty much hoping for a miracle. Later that night, we end up at a bar in Brooklyn that one of Heidi's friends has suggested. It's pretty great. Good beer selection, a delicious charcuterie plate, and friendly bartenders. After a few drinks, I ask the bartender if he happens to know anywhere that Heidi and I could set up a portrait session. He says he doesn't, but give him one sec, and he walks off to talk to the other bartender. Who comes over and says, "Hey, I've got some shared studio space that I rent, how long would you need it for?" After a modicum of negotiation, I give him 50 bucks, he hands me the key to his studio space, which I can use for a few hours the next day. Dumb Luck.
And on top of that, on our train ride home, I run into an old bartender I know from Chicago.
This week, my first stroke of amazing good luck happened after a fairly pedestrian moment of bad luck. I got out of a cab, but my phone decided not to come with me. I'd had just enough to drink to kind of shrug and decide to deal with it in the morning. Last year, I had a more loyal phone that unfortunately went into the ocean with me in Hawaii, so I've already dealt with not having a phone available and realized it's not the worst thing ever. Also, that loyal phone eventually dried out and resurrected itself after I had bought a replacement, so I threw a data-only SIM in it, so I had that to rely on in a pinch. I crawled into the van, plopped into bed, and promptly failed to fall asleep. As I was lying there awake, I decided I would try to find where my phone was, at least I could tell if it was still in the cab, or if I had left it at the bar, or if it was on the ground where I had gotten out. I pulled out the old phone, fired up Android Device Manager, and saw that the phone was still in the neighborhood, but not exactly nearby. I set it to ring, hoping that if it was in the cab, someone would notice. I'm not entirely sure what I was hoping to happen after that. I pinged the phone again, it had moved to a different part of the neighborhood. It seemed to be staying around the same area, so I threw on a pair of sandals (no time for socks!) and try to intercept the cab. In retrospect, there were probably better ideas than walking a mile from Crown Heights to Bed-Stuy at midnight in a pair of sandals, but I was a man on a mission. I keep pinging the phone, hoping the guy doesn't pick somebody up going to Manhattan or something, and he keeps staying in the area. Then the phone loses contact at an intersection that's still about 10-15 minutes away. I'm expecting that someone has turned the phone off so that they can stop being tracked and figure out how to wipe it in the morning. Once I get to the last known location though, there's a mildly panicked cab driver talking to a guy in a black car (at the time, I assume this is a cop car? I think it might have just been a guy from the cab company). He's holding my phone, trying to figure out how to get it back to the asshole who keeps ringing the alarm. He remembers me, has actually tried to go back to the location where he had dropped my friends off (I had walked around the corner), and miraculously, I have my phone back.
The second bit of great luck I've had this trip is much more simple, but still fantastic. Two of the friends I'm hanging out with right now (Bob and Nicky) had tickets to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. As Bob and Nicky were heading off to see the show, Lydia and I went to a bar that makes its own cheese, because of course you do that, but as we're all splitting off, she tells Bob and Nicky to just check on the off-chance that the tickets are still available. As Lydia and I are tucking into some fancy cheese and thyme jam (yeah.), I get a call from Nicky that the tickets are still available. So, we down the rest of our drinks, catch a cab, and get into our seats just as the band goes on-stage. For the record, Nick Cave puts on a hell of a show.