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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

July 2007

Out of Pocket

On vacation for a few days…and vacation does not involve blogging (as much as I enjoy blogging).  Time to go pick some blueberries.  Back in a few days.

Ahh, the Smell of Entrepreneurship

I just got home from a NY Tech Meetup.  This is another reason I love my job.  It is like American Idol for new ideas.  The room was hot, packed and it smelled (imagine 500 people in a room where the AC blew out…yikes), but darn it, there was great energy!  People with big dreams starting new companies.  Most will not make it.  Some will.  The excitement was palpable.  People trying new things, and a crowd rooting for their success.  This is what start-up life should be like.  Not glass conference rooms and suits and ties.  Save that for the bankers.  These folks are scrappy and passionate.  My personal favorites: www.upnext.com and www.diettelevision.com.

Have you started a business today?  Or at least thought of something new that you think would make life better?  It’s fun to do actually.  I hear people say often that they never have any ideas.  Baloney.  Dig deep.  There are opportunities right in front of you.  Even if you don’t start it, it’s a great exercise to go through – thinking about new things, what should be invented, what should be improved. 

Baseless Invitations

I received an email the other day from a person I have known for a long time.  I am not especially close to this person, but I’ve always kind of liked him/her.  The email was an introduction to someone else, someone who probably needs advice about careers.  The email suggested I should try to get together with this person within the next three days (to help them, not me).  And then it was signed basically "Hope you are well.  Give me a call and we’ll grab lunch soon."

OK.  So basically the email was "I have not talked to you in ages.  I met a person and want to help her so I am introducing her to others.  You should take time soon to meet her even though I have no idea what is going on in your life and did not ask in advance if you have the time to deal with this.  Let’s do lunch.  You call me."

I would hope that I am reading too much into this and my above interpretation was not the sender’s intention.  But, it made me pause.  We are a busy society.  A society where we say "how are you?" and don’t listen for the answer.  A society where we say "let’s get together" without saying "OK, when?"  A society where because we have cell phones rather than actually making and committing to a plan we say things like "let’s get together Saturday.  Call me on my cell and we’ll hook up" and MAYBE the meeting happens about 50% of the time. 

This email continues that theme for me.  It’s passive I-have-reached-out so tag you are it socializing.  Let’s say it like it is – that is not a real invitation.  A real invitation is someone calling or emailing and saying "Let’s get together – here are some times that work for me.  What about you?"  The email I got was throwing the responsibility of making the arrangement on the recipient, basically, a meaningless, baseless invitation. 

I am sure I do this too – and I am not proud of that.  Probably don’t even realize when I do it.  So thank you, said emailer, for pointing it out to me and making me pause.  I would like to get back to actual commitments.  Taking responsibility and keeping them.  And that means saying "No, I cannot do that" as opposed to "Maybe" and then not showing up.  Maybe is OK – better than "Yes" and not showing up.  But I don’t want to be that person – I want to be someone people can count on to do as I say I am going to do, and whose words and invitations are actually meaningful. 

Expanding my Definition of The City

We’re back!  In NYC that is.  Back in our NYC apartment.  And why is this blog worthy?  Because this is our last real weekend in Manhattan.  We are moving to Brooklyn at the end of the month, and between now and then we will be gone on vacation.  So this is it.

We love our apartment, but it’s an overpriced rental and we cannot take it anymore.  It’s time to build equity.  But we will remember this apartment very fondly.  It’s big by NY standards – about 1200 sq ft, open plan loft.  High ceilings.  Big windows.  Great neighborhood (East Village).  It has cool features like the elevator opening directly into the apartment.  There are downsides – we have no bedroom, no closets and two of the windows don’t open, but no matter, it’s all about location and SPACE. 

I_love_ny But we are just about done with sacrificing things like bedrooms, so we are moving to Brooklyn.  We are crossing the mental bridge/East River hurdle.  This is a big step.  We have each lived in Manhattan for nearly 13 years.  I know it like the back of my hand.  I know what is around most corners.   I have a feel for which streets are good and which are icky.  I know which blocks look terrible but are full of hidden gems.  I fell in love with NYC when I was five, and even then NYC for me meant, Manhattan.  It’s so awful, but we are those terrible Manhattan-centric people that say things like "we live in The City" assuming everyone will know that means Manhattan.  I had an I Love NY t-shirt when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and I think I wore it at least once a week.  And it really to me meant, I Love Manhattan.

Brooklyn is a different story.  I am a Manhattanite moving to an outer borough.  Brooklyn is not only big sky country (low buildings) but the land of mystery.  I don’t know where to get milk, where the paper arrives the earliest, where to get a nail, where to grab brunch, where to run out late night for band-aids or pizza.  I may as well be moving to Idaho.  But there are upsides – there is a lot to learn.  It will be full of surprises.  For the first time in my NY existence, I/we will have outdoor space.  Outdoor space in NYC?  GOD SEND.  We will do things like grill.  It will be so…suburban.  Brooklyn is a huge place full of culture and history, good restaurants, boutiques and things like "neighbors".  Time to expand how I define "The City".

Time to embrace 718, I suppose.  Though, before we start packing, before we turn our apartment into an about to move mess, we will enjoy it for one last weekend.  Our apartment, our life, in The City.

Out out, damn gadgets!

Technology is ruining my life.

I have not been reading nearly as much as I used to.  This is a disturbing trend…and it’s related to a third party that has entered our bed.  No, not a person (dirty mind!), but a PC.  Horrible.  I sit here and type away IN BED.  This is when I used to read books, before bed.  Now I type or check other news feeds.  Pathetic. 

I must put an end to this now.  Has the computer taken over your life in bed?  Do you read less?  Do you have a blackberry within reach of your pillow?  Do you check it first thing in the morning?

I CONFESS.  Guilty of all of the above, and it’s making me a poorly read, overwired neurotic who jumps at the sign of a red beeping light on a blackberry. 

I think I may have even developed a technology twitch.  Enough.  I am shutting down.  Think about it – have you incorporated technology into every aspect of your life…to your detriment?

New Commandment: Thou shalt not bring any technological device such as a blackberry, cell phone or computer into bed.  For any reason.

The Gem in…Jersey?

Yes, indeed, New Jersey!  The gem in The Garden State is Cape May, Exit 0 off of the Garden State Parkway.  Coming from a snobby New Yorker, this is a major compliment.  I think it’s better than the New York beaches. 

The Big H and I are here for a couple of days with friends, celebrating July 4th.

I have to say, I wish I had discovered this place earlier, but am glad to be here now.  It’s beautiful, fun, not all Hamptons-hoyty-toyty (though I did love the summers I spent there in shares…definitely not material for this blog).   I should probably not even be writing about it, though I am pretty confident that my blog is not yet have the "New York Magazine effect" on anything it mentions (meaning, once something is written up in our City’s fair namesake mag, it is no longer accessible or fun).  So I take the chance and post here.  Anyone reading who lives within a hundred miles should check it out.  The Blue Pig, the Ebbitt Room, The Virginia, and the beach.  Tomorrow we are getting a real old fashioned July 4th with a band, hot dogs, kids everywhere.  I may even get my face painted.  Not a Manolo to be seen, and thank goodness for that.

Ahh, that ocean air.  Gets to me everytime.

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