Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Like any girl with a shred of fashion sense, I tuned into E! to watch celebrities walk the Red Carpet before the Academy Awards. Guliana Rancic and Ryan Seacrest playfully bantered back and forth discussing the fashion hits and misses on the carpet as well as the lack of colorful gowns this year. The majority of women were wearing ivory and white.

Guliana, wide eyed and decked out in a one-shouldered maroon gown, spoke up and made the assumption that the ivory gowns, like the one that Penelope Cruz was wearing, represented the recession. I was shocked.

Really, Guliana? Please explain to me exactly what Penelope Cruz knows about the recession. Is she cutting coupons these days, or collecting unemployment? You’re right. An ivory, diamond encrusted gown is exactly what I wear when I head to the market to pick up my cans of Spam and Cup o’ Noodles.

That was enough to turn me off for the night and so I flipped through the channels to find something a bit more realistic and a little less depessing. "Ah, yes," I thought. "The 11 o'clock news!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time Out

The look of shock hadn't yet left my face when I came back to my desk from the early morning meeting. It was December 2nd, and I had just been laid off.

As I took a moment to compose an email to my fiance Steve, to let him know the news, I noticed that the new Time Out New York had been placed on my desk. Upon further inspection, the headline read, “Laid off?” “YES!” I said aloud and opened the magazine to read the article. There it was, two full high-gloss pages of shameless people promoting themselves in hopes of earning work. At the end of the article, an email was provided for people to send in their jobless story for a potential upcoming issue. “Why not?” I thought. I minimized my email to Steve and began to compose an email to the editor at Time Out. My subject line read, “I just got laid off…like 3 minutes ago…HELP!!!”

Over two months went by without a word from Time Out, until the afternoon of February 13. The editor emailed me and asked if I was still unemployed and had time to stop by their 10th Avenue office to have my photo taken for an upcoming issue. I believe my exact words back to her were, “Hell yea!”

I had my photo taken last week. As a treat to myself, I got a manicure before the shoot. I didn’t want potential employers looking at my unkempt nails and wondering, “How can she manage an RSVP list if she can’t even keep her nails trimmed?”

Time Out’s offices are like something out of a romantic/ comedy movie where the entire space is industrial and loft like, everyone is dressed New York chic and has an endless cup of coffee attached to their hand. All the space was missing was Kate Hudson with her spunky sidekick, planning their next night out on the town.

I was escorted to a small corner of the office in front of a white backdrop where the photographer robotically handed me my props- balloons and a clipboard (this was their interpretation of an event planner). "Whatever," I thought and posed for over 30 photos. There was no small talk. I was in, took my photos and I was out. Just then I realized that there were hundreds of people, like me who came to take their photo at Time Out in hopes of the right person seeing the article. It was no wonder that the photographer looked drained.

To date, I am still awaiting the call to find out what issue of Time Out my face will be shamelessly gracing in high-gloss style.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Lesson in Training

This afternoon, I scored a seat on the B Train en route to an overdue chiropractor appointment in Columbus Circle.

I had forgotten my Ipod and consequently was subjected to my own personal infomercial by a burly man selling bootleg DVDs. It wasn't until he glanced down at my ring finger and asked me if I was happily married did I realize that perhaps it wasn't just a $3.00 commission that he was interested in pursuing.

The burly man exited the train at 7th Avenue, and as the subway doors began to close, a young man managed to hold the door open long enough to slip inside. The man was in his mid-twenties, with sandy brown hair, a camping backpack and had his arm in a sling.

He stood at the front of the subway car, and unlike those before him, he did not begin his plea with, "Ladies and gentlemen- I am homeless and pregnant." Rather, he simply said, "I was laid off." Everyone raised their eyes to take a glimpse at the broken man. Before I could look away he continued, "God, this is so embarrassing and I am sorry to bother you. I lost my job a few months ago, and then I lost my apartment and broke my arm. I don't have insurance and I need help."

I felt myself staring at the man and wanted to stand up and scream, "me too!" But then I remembered that I wasn't on a sit-com. It had been two months since I was laid off from my full time event planning position at a financial PR firm in the city. I began to wonder at what point I would resort to begging on the train.

There was something very honest about the man. But, who knows if he was telling the truth or not. In that moment- I didn't care. I didn't bother to have the internal dialogue that I typically have with myself each time someone enters the train asking for money. "He doesn't look homeless. Yeah, food- more like drugs. Are those new sneakers? I saw him yesterday and he had a different jacket and story!"

Instead, I pulled out the last $4.00 dollars that I had in my wallet and handed it to the man. This time, there was no judgement. I didn't care how he chose to spend the money. All that I knew was that I still had a roof over my head and active insurance. Things aren't so bad. Yet.