It’s raining. It’s pouring. And this girl was snoring. For way too long. On a work day. Ok, it’s 9:30. So I’ll be a little late for work, no big deal. I throw on a chunky sweater as I sweep my hair into a side braid and plop a loose green beret on top. Attempting any hairstyle in this weather is a wavy haired Jewish girl’s nightmare.
Plagued with a sinus infection, I pack all of my medications into my massive Navajo bag. I open my closet and reach for my umbrella, but the only thing my hand was able to grab was an empty hook. WHERE IS MY UMBRELLA?
Let me bring you back 5 years…
It was the fall of 2007. I had just graduated from Syracuse University and I was comfortably settled into my spacious studio apartment on 73rd and West End. I was finally a grown-up, living in the city with my boyfriend, Ryan, and my dog, Dilbert.
It was a day just like today. Raining. Pouring. I leashed up Dilbert, buttoned up my pale blue cloak with a gray fur collar (faux of course), and again, plopped on my ever-present beret, this time its color was bone.
On our treacherous walk to Doggy Daycare, my umbrella broke as the strong winds gushed through the streets from the river. Dilbert, my adopted Pitbull mix, was just 1-year-old at the time, filled with energy and enthusiasm. Still working on his street manners, he decided to take the lead forcing me to stumble behind him. Amused, or perhaps even a little bit charmed, a lovely man offered me an umbrella. I acted coy and declined, but he insisted and became my knight in shining armor for the day. I dropped off the animal and made it to work on time, still receiving compliments on my outfit. This was it! My first Carrie Bradshaw moment.
Ok, back to reality. It’s raining. Hard. As my (insert expletive here) umbrella is nowhere to be found, I’ll have to face the weather without protection. I pull on my Henri Bendel galoshes (thanks, Mom!), and lock up shop. Ryan’s at work and Dilbert’s with his grandparents, so my only job today is to get from Point A to Point B without drowning in the rain… or my tears.
Finally finding shelter in the subway station, I begin to relax. One step at a time today, Shelby, one step at a time. I swipe my Metrocard. Error. I swipe it again. Insufficient fare. Really? Today of all days? (Insert expletive here). $104 later, I find myself pacing on the platform waiting for my ride to work, grinding my teeth with impatience.
As I step on the train and take my seat (at least I got one!), I begin to daydream. I imagine myself standing up as I often see beggars do on the subway. My speech, however, is a little different. I confidently rise, and begin my diatribe. “Good morning everyone,” I say loudly clearing my throat. “I do not want your money or your breakfast. I am not homeless. I am not an alcoholic, I have no kids that I am struggling to raise or feed, and I only take drugs occasionally. I am however, in desperate need on an umbrella. Does anyone have anything extra they are willing to donate? Anyone? No?… Oookay.” I imagine people going back to their newspapers and others quietly whispering to their friend about the crazy umbrella lady as I sit back down in my seat, dropping my chin to my chest. Maybe I’ll hop into the next car and try again when the train stops.
As I reach Houston Street, my final destination, I feel slightly saddened that no one has offered me an umbrella like Prince Charming did that day 5 years ago. Have I aged that much? Has living in the city made me so jaded that I appear undesirable? I have rings on my fingers but not THE ring on THAT finger. I’m still wearing my hat and braid, and I’m only 27. But, maybe being 22, wide-eyed, and gifted umbrella’s wasn’t truly a New York Carrie Bradshaw moment. Maybe that moment was today.