"How do you do it here?"

I count it a good day when, because the line at the post office is out the door and only one person is behind the counter, I go to French Roast for a very late breakfast, and am seated next to a young aspiring male model and an older making-his-living male model/actor guy, and can listen to them talk strategy and tactics:

“Don’t come in desperate for the job, they can smell it.”

“I know.  My friend says he always books more when he comes back from vacation. Where do you live now?”

“I’m on the Lower East Side.  I kicked out all my roommates, but then I couldn’t make the rent, but then this actress friend of mine needed a place for herself for the fall, so I have these really good friends in Williamsburg and they let me stay on their couch so I made a ton a money and now I’m back in the place.”

“How do you do it here?”

“You just have to give yourself enough time to figure it out.  Can’t do it all at once, you know?  But here I am, and I’ve booked a couple of small roles in movies up in Canada, and I’m getting good modeling gigs, taking class, and I’m applying to Yale Drama School, but I’ve got this scholarship at Lee Strassberg.”


“Yeah, it just takes time, you know? … And you gotta stick with it.”

New York.  Ever changing.  Ever the same.  City of dreams.  City of invention of self, of invention of others.

And, after lunch, on line at the PO… The women of a certain age in front of me are talking about going to see the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of “Patience,” and how terrific that it got such a great review in the Times.

“My friend, she’s an actress, she posted on her Facebook this morning that the lead just got his Equity card.  Isn’t that terrific?”

Of course I joined in this conversation.  I was doing G&S when I was a freshman in high school in San Francisco.  And from there the conversation moved to the state of the post office, the demise of St. Vincent’s Hospital, our betrayal by former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the hope of our new City Council rep Corey Johnson, the role of New York University as “The Tomato That Ate Greenwich Village,” and the fact that one of the women, a former actress, is a cancer survivor and needs to write a book and is blocked.  Blocked Writers R Me.  She has my card.

And then I get to climb the 41 steps to the third floor between the wig shop and the Chinese lighting store, find a cubby, get my coffee, and begin to write.