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The Cody Blog: Flip It: Are We Too Nice? Is That Even Possible?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Flip It: Are We Too Nice? Is That Even Possible?

Okay, I'm back. It's been a wild, hectic summer full of excitement, exhaustion, joys and heartbreaks. Since the summer hit, I have been simply dizzied by all the changes in my life. I opened a new office in Soho. After years of being aggressively in the market, I went to cash. Went through another painful ending to a relationship (is there ever really another kind of ending to a relationship?). Took my first vacation (and day off of the market of just about any kind for that matter) in three and a half years. I moved to a new apartment, also in Soho, about a five minute walk to my office.

Speaking of which, I no longer have a doorman and on Saturday when I was about to have my new king-size bed delivered, I sauntered across the street to Belladora to buy a set of sheets. Oh yeah, a pretty woman, Carly, who referenced a boyfriend at one point (sigh -- James you can't stop the sighs! as Neil Young would say, "Though my problems are meaningless, that don't make them go away") patiently answered all of my questions about sheets (who knew you could actually think of any questions to ask about sheets -- I mean, 300 or 400 threadcount yada yada, whatever...until you're buying 'em.)

So anyway, I drop nearly as much on sheets, down comforter (is Hungarian good down, as it seems to be marketed?), whatever you call that thing that covers the comforter (duvee? Is that right?) as I spent on the bed and mattress and I wonder outloud about what an appropriate ratio one should spend on each relative to the other. I jog back across the brick street to my apartment building's entrance. I set one of the bags down and reach into my pocket. Now I used to always keep my keys in my left pocket and my wallet in my right one -- I strategized about the most ergonomic place to put them and somehow at some point decided that was the best set up. But then I lost my keys to my apartment at the place I had moved to many months ago; I'd not locked my door there aside from setting the alarm (hey, I lived in Harlem for a year and never spent the money on putting a bolt lock in the gaping hole in my door and lived to tell about it without ever getting burgled) except when I go out of town and then I lock the door and have to break in by going over the sundeck onto my deck to break in where the window is unlocked. So I lost the habit of my hands always knowing which pocket my keys are in and I wasn't too upset when my left hand came up empty on its first dig.

But when I reached into the second pocket and came up empty-handed, then I got to realizing that I'd left my keys in my shorts that I'd changed out of before going into the nice sheet store. Hey, no prob, right? At least, that's what I was thinking as I scanned the wall and scoped out my course. I set my bags down and jump onto the railing around the storm door entrance to the basement. As I throw my weight forward and grab part of the face of the limestone facade, I kick foward and am on the wall. A quick push up and I'm hanging from an iron bar that's bolted into the facade and the final floor of the fire escsape. Said iron bar sure is rusty, I notice as the bar starts bending from my weight. I can see the scene straight out of a bad Stallone movie, picturing the nuts holding the bar popping and dropping me onto the pavement or the railing a good few feet below me. I scramble back to the wall and let myself down, adrenaline pumping. I call my new landlord who of course isn't going to be in town on a beautiful summer Saturday and leave a message for her. I call my friend, Carly (yes, there's more than one Carly in this town) who's a badass at a meatpacking-based fashion house and with whom I'd worked on some songs with the night before. She is in Brooklyn chilling with The Beast, a fashion badass in her own sense as what must be the world's youngest fashion editor ever or something and they just ordered pizza so come on out.

The mattress delivery comes and I have to reschedule for the next day and I drop my bags full of my sheets off at the record label's office down the hallway from my office (what a strange sentence "I drop my bags full of my sheets off at the record label's office down the hallway from my office"....oh, and see, I had my wallet to buzz me in to the building, but no keys to my office itself obviously) and I head out to Williamsburg where I usually try to convince myself that I'm cool enough to realize that trying that hard to be cool ain't cool.

I accidentally upset the cabbie when I complain that he turned left instead of right, when he could only make a left, so I hop out and give him the change. Down a side street off Broadway in Brooklyn and I'm in a rather rough drug store buying a bottle of Chianti from Italy and trying to speak Spanish to the nice Puerto Rican lady behind the counter. I ask if they sell gum and she says no, but asks her co-worker who's leaving to give me some gum and she searches in her purse and hands me a fresh piece. People really are so nice, you know?

So I head over to The Beast's and toast 2006 (I've toasted this year every toast this year and I'm not gonna stop now) and eventually Carly and I catch a cab back to the city and she lets me crash on her couch. That's a nice friend to have, you know? After brunch mid-morning Sunday, I walk to the real estate office which acted as broker for my landlady hoping they'll have keys. They're closed.

In an epiphany, I cross the street to Belladora and ask Carly -- the Belladora Carly -- if she's got a really tall ladder. She thinks she does, but after searching the basement and the closets upstairs, she comes up empty-handed. How nice that she tried so hard to help, right? She sends me over to Capellini, an Italian furniture store next door, and the nice guy there fetches a ladder from their basement. Niceness, anybody? I take the ladder across the street and climb up to the fire escape. I get it pulled halfway down when I see that I need to unhook a chain that keeps the fire escape from going to the ground. My bud at Capellini lends me a broom handle, I get the chain unhooked and am in. Except I need someone to hold the fire escape as I start to climb it from the ladder, so I ask a nicely dressed middle-aged couple walking by for help and they nicely help out, and even offer to hold it while I climb the whole way up. I tell 'em I'm cool but thanks so much (people are SO nice!) climb up to the third floor where I pull open the unlocked window that I'd been looking out while waiting for the mattress guys the day before.

As I carry the ladder and broom handle back across the street, with my keys fully in my pocket and plenty of plans of giving copies of my keys to friends now that I have no doorman/deck in my mind, I'm pondering how nice everybody was to me when a thought strikes me: Do I need to flip it? Are we too nice? I mean, aside from Carly who is from Kansas, whom I met at UNM, who worked for Senator Domenici with the daughter of orthopedic surgeon who reconstructed my ankle twice in Ruidoso and casted me up countless other times, and I've been friends with here in NYC for the last few years -- and her fellow Wichita-an Ashly (The Beast), none of these incredibly nice people who helped me break into my apartment knew me from Adam. Nobody thought twice about helping this jeans- work/camping T-shirt-clad long-haired white guy get into an apartment in Soho that might or might not have been my own for all they knew.

People really are so nice. But is that always a good thing?

4 Comments:

Anonymous me said...

People are indeed nice!

People are indeed nice! Sometimes we just fail to see the goodness of people we meet and see everyday. One reason may be is because we are caught up with several activities, scheduled appointments , and exposure to negative events that makes us blind to even realize that we do meet nice people everyday. Surely, nice people do exist and makes our life easier and enjoyable before we know it!

8/15/2006 04:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny... i used to work in soho. I miss it! Now I trapped in a 51 story building in midtown. Banal at best. Whatever the money is good... anyway, while in Soho, I incurred my share of "niceness" to the point that I wasn't sure what was genuine and what wasn't and why are you being so nice to me. Maybe it is because i have been told I convey a sweet spirit. I am not that nice actually. But I think i am petite and (this isn't ego just truth) pretty that people think she looks a bit damsel in distress when really i am not... but i digress. i always thought i had the kind of face that would make me the perfect thief (although I am not) the one that all the "nice" people would let walk right up to the vault. anyway, i enjoy the blog and the stories. good stuff!

8/16/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen L. McKay said...

New York has changed a great deal over the years and people are by far much more friendly now than they were 25 years ago. The noticeable change came right around the time that Gordon Gecko greed was out, and Richard Gere (lets build ships, from that silly movie) became the kinder gentler image that the LBO shops tried to project. I lived in L.A. in the 80's and visited NY on both business, and social agendas. Back then, NY was full of E&A (Egos and Attitude). When I moved to Chicago in the early 90's, the mid-west congeniality I sort of expected had vanished from the windy city, and When I moved here three years ago I was aware from visits that NY was a lot friendlier than Chicago (where you can go to the same supermarket for ten years and only a few checkers actually smile like they remember you), but I was really taken back by just how friendly and helpful people actually are here!
I don't think this is a bad thing at all, although if I didn't recognize you from K&C, I would have asked to see some I.D. to prove you lived in the building before I helped you with the fire escape.
Rock on my friend!

8/16/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger shanerbaner said...

duvet...that thing that covers your comforter

8/16/2006 10:23:00 PM  

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