As I announced my plan to move to New York I was met with quite a few astonished “whys?”
I’ve always had a feeling I was cut out for something big. That God set me aside for something.To be somebody in the world. It’s always been in me to travel outside of boundaries, to see how far I can go. I always feel like, no matter where I am in life, I’m on my way to something. I was never meant to stay put.
In order to do whatever it is I’m supposed to do, I have to go out and get more tools, more insight, meet more people. I had a great time in Ann Arbor and grew a lot as a person, a family man, an entrepreneur. But I outgrew the town. I felt like I tapped out what Michigan had to offer and in order to grow, to go to the next level I had to go some place bigger, some place with more resources, more of my industry. LA has always been my top choice but the opportunity to move and succeed turned out to be New York. I had friends and family out there and more importantly a potential trustworthy roommate and job.
So the question then isn’t “why?” it’s “why not?”
I couldn’t think of a good reason not to either. Who could pass up on such an adventure?
So Thursday night I (my roommates) gathered all my worldly possessions into the yellow Penske said goodbye to my best friends, mom and cousin and hit the highway to Harlem.`
I couldn’t have asked for a better send off. It was sad to see how this move was affecting the people I love. And it became clear to me how much I loved them and enjoyed being able to see them every day. We all talked and hung out, there were some zany photos. Courtney and Mookie came bearing my favorite cupcakes.
I knew right then what “home” meant.
That I’d never find a place where people love, know and accept me more than there.
We went out of the house and had our individual goodbyes and headed out my mom’s house to drop-off the cars I’d been driving. Then Brad and I struck out for 23 South.
Brad drove us into the night through Ohio and into PA. We goofed off, sang terribly to the trebly tunes coming from my laptop and Brad’s iPod. I fell asleep and when I woke up we were at some remote fog covered highway exit, that consisted of dark road, and two lit, yet vacant gas stations.
They were both closed. We got no gas.
I took over driving and it was interesting. One moment clear road, next patch of Death Fog.
I remarked more than once that, we may have driven into “The Mist” and to keep an eye out for Greyhound sized birds and mosquitos.
It was around 4 am and I started feeling pretty sleepy so I pulled us off at more populated exit and parked at the back of some hotel and attempted a nap. Brad took over driving from there. The trip from there consisted of nodding off, taking pics of the beautiful Pennsylvania Hills, bad jokes and breakfast at Perkins.
Finally around 10 AM we crossed the George Washington Bridge into Manhattan.
We made it in olympic record time. The next move was to stop on the East side to pick up Brad’s things from storage, then head to our apartment on the West side and start moving in.
We had just put the last of Brad’s items in the truck when he got a call from the landlord saying they weren’t going to draw up the leases until all our information was in, that the Guarantor letters had to be notarized. And people this is something slightly ridiculous. The sweet old lady pulled a 180 on us. When Brad was negotiating everything she was all about “good faith” and working with us. The thing is she doesn’t quite have it all together. The forms she gave us were from 2002, some of them were duplicates or looked like they had been typed up by a forth grader. Now all of a sudden everything has to be by the book? Or how about you let us know this: YESTERDAY or Monday, the day you received our document packets?
Ok ok so what do we do now? Make calls to our respective guarantors to see if they can download the letter and have it notarized and faxed today, oh and make it before 4pm because the property manager is leaving for Connecticut this afternoon.
Luckily, Brad’s father was in town. He was not happy, but was able to scramble to get his copy to a bank and notarized.
I called my mom who was at work, but willing to go when she got off to get hers done ok great. The third roommate we couldn’t reach. But we thought it would be worth a shot trying to see how far we could get with the two letters, I mean even if we couldn’t move in, could we at least put our stuff there.
Brad calls the property manager and he says sure if we can get two letters in and the security deposit, oh and make it before 4pm because he is leaving for Connecticut this afternoon, we can get the process going and leases drawn up.
Ok my mom doesn’t get off until 3:30 and there are no computers or faxes at her disposal there. The earliest she could get hers in would be 5 or even later.
Ok how about third guy Ray? well we get in touch with him, but his dad is out of the country.
Or so it seemed. Something in me refused to panic because in all my hairy situations, the Lord comes through and works everything out.
After some last minute calls to friends and fam we went to Brad’s brother’s apartment to email and collect thoughts. My mom let me know that she was getting off early and would try to get her stuff in before 4.
The clock ticked and we were able to get a meeting with the property manager around 5, he decided to work with us and give us some more time to try to get these things into him.
We end up over in Harlem where the office is, only a few blocks for our forbidden palace. Brad goes in there to talk to him, with the security deposit and his guarantor letter. My mom called letting me know that her spiteful bank is going to notarize the sketchy form it’s going to be faxed at any minute.
I’m waiting in the truck hoping that this will be the moment when everything works out. Because I am TIRED and remember that when we came across that bridge I imagined that by this time, we’d have all our stuff moved in and set up, and be just sitting on our stoop relaxing, watchin ladies go by.
Brad comes out about 30 minutes later and he’s not elated but he’s not upset either. He’s like come on in we have like the coolest property manager ever. And he’s not kidding. I walk into the office, which is playing bird songs and classical music. There are about 4 desks a waiting area and a rather large see-through rack that’s acting like a partition between the front and rear office/ meeting area. The walls are burnt orange, the desks are glass, chairs executive black. The place is flooded with light because the entire front wall is a window. It’s all business but has a laid-back mom and pop feel. Right next to the entrance is the largest desk, filled with the largest personality.
William. The property manager. A tall, round-bellied light-skinned man, just south of 50, decked out in white linen pants and deep tan linen top. He’s got the air of guy who’s spent a lot of time in the jazz scene but is still in touch with what’s poppin in the rap game. He is cool.
He introduces himself with a genuine friendly handshake and an invitation to go sit, no charge, in the meeting area, put my feet up and relax.
“You must be tired after a trip like that, so go ahead and chill till Shirley(the landlord) gets here.”
“That’s what’s up,” I reply. “I might be sleep over though”
“As long as you ain’t snorin, you straight” he shot back with a laugh.
I’m a little thrown off by this welcome, because this is supposed to be the guy holding our place for ransom, angry or at least displeased about our incomplete paperwork.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel a bit reassured that whatever happens it’s gonna be all right.
No sooner than I thought that I hear will beckon, “Who here, knows Ingrid Smith?”
Me, that’s my mom, that’s the letter
“Ok good this is good, put this over there with that envelope it has your man’s stuff in it. I like that, these boys are on it”
more good news.
Soon thereafter an older woman pushing a stroller arrives. This is Shirley, William announces that this is the time I get brownie points and should come up and talk to her. I was already on my way up there for just that. And to also feel her out. I wanted to know what was going on, what prompted her to change her tune. She seemed a little harried but fine and sweet at times. We made small talk about the area and her time here and then Brad showed up.
The meeting began. As William spoke it became clear that it was more Shirley than he that was holding up the process. She had got antsy about something, she kept trying to say that she just wanted to make sure we weren’t gonna skip town or pull out of the deal and William was trying to stress the importance of having the guarantor stuff notarized. We said we understood his concerns and that we would have the third letter in as soon as it came in. He said he believed us because of how we got everything together that day but warned us not to take the favor for granted. So it was agreed that we would meet and sign the lease at 7pm and that we could move in.
Well here’s the thing: apparently there were some renovations that needed to be done before we moved in. Walls were to be put up to make the two bedroom into a three bedroom and to better separate the master bedroom from the living area.
When we got into the apartment they were still in the middle of doing this. The floors in the lower level rooms had just been shellacked and it would take til 10pm to dry. It was 7:30. Perhaps when we came back from dinner with Brad’s parents we could move stuff in…no not really because they still needed to put a wall between the lower rooms. The only thing separating them were these makeshift folding doors.
This was also the point when the rooms were claimed. It had been decided before we got there that Ray would take the upper level, largest room because of his night schedule. it made sense for Brad and I to share a floor since we had practically the same schedule.
So we’re scoping out the rooms and the one in front has a window and a good amount of space. great sized room.
The second one is sandwiched between the kitchen and the frontroom. Relic of older days, when it served as the dining area. The doors are wood-framed glass and there is a floor to ceiling 3foot wide built in storage unit protruding from the one side. It’s small. in fact it’s tiny. I’m in favor of fairness but I don’t want it. I have a truck in front containing Everything I own, everything and a queen sized-bed. This room doesn’t even have a closet.
The thing is, I don’t feel like it would be fair for me to take the larger room. Brad did the leg work on the place and he has been incredibly helpful in getting me out here, hooked me up with a job, paid the security deposit. That’s a lot of selflessness and sacrifice. Up until now the fate of the lower room assignments had been in the air, and when Brad put a stake on the frontroom, I didn’t feel like it’d be right to argue it.
So I took the tiny room and swallowed my disappointment. As I thought about, I think I would have felt better about the situation if I knew coming in what the room would be like. The surprise of it’s actual size and the thought that I wouldn’t have to take it made it tough pill to swallow. I was tired and couldn’t even begin to fathom how I was going to get that truckload into this place. It hurt my head.
I was mentally and physically EXHAUSTED; very much the walking dead. I hadn’t slept for real in like 24 hours nor had I had anything to eat since perkins around 9 am.
Somehow I mustered up enough strength to get down on the East side with Brad and fam to funky rib shack called Brother Jimmy’s. Big portions great sauce tastey all around. I felt bad though I was so out of it I didn’t make much conversation with Brad’s parents and they seemed pretty cool and interested in getting to know me. They recommended I stay at the apartment Brad’s brother was housesitting and call it a night.
And I did. I got over to the apartment. Brad’s brother set up the hide-a-bed for me and no sooner than my head hit the pillow was i asleep.