Posted By: John Black
It takes a special kind of person to live and work in NYC, especially if you’ve never lived there. I’m never surprised when I meet someone who came to The Big Apple from another part of the country, under the illusion that it is as glorified as Hollywood tends to make it, only to find out the horrible truth that no, you can’t simply hop on the subway from the Upper East Side and be in Brooklyn in five minutes, live in a lavish penthouse apartment on an entry-level salary and still afford to have a massive closet dedicated to top shelf designer clothing and shoes.
Those without the type of thick skin required to live and work here usually don’t last long after their first rent check bounces, their first $50 bar bill for a single round of drinks, or the first time they get inappropriately rubbed up on by a homeless man with a massive erection on the subway (I know what you’re thinking, and yes that last one did happen to me). Those rude awakenings that can happen to you every day can make for witnessing some pretty amazing public meltdowns.
One afternoon I went out to lunch after having a pretty slow morning. In my industry it’s pretty standard practice on a Friday to go have a few drinks with lunch, so my co-worker and I decided to do just that. While sitting there, watching ESPN highlights and pretending to tolerate each other, I noticed a guy on the other side talking on his cell phone, asking the person on the other end to wish him luck. He looked to be in his mid-30’s, nice suit, clean cut, and generally pretty pleasant, but nervous.
When he hung up, he started to strike up a conversation with the guy next to him. “My fiancé.” he said nervously to the random bar patron. “I’m about to go in for a big meeting.”
I tuned in and out of the conversation, but from what I got, he and his fiancé lived out in San Francisco and were hoping to move here. He was babbling on about some promotion opportunity that the move was banking on and then went into this whole bit about his upcoming wedding and how much he was in the hole for. At one point he regaled about what a hard time he had getting here and how he’d gotten lost in the subway, a saga that most New Yorker’s experience on a daily basis.
As nice as this guy seemed, you could tell his nerves were getting to him. Also, as pleasant as he was, I hate overly chatty people who don’t recognize when others, like the guy next to him, just clearly don’t care or want to talk to them but just keep rattling off verbal time wasters anyway. Let the guy watch TV, enjoy his lunch and shut up.
He eventually got up, asked the other guy to wish him luck, and walked out attempting to exude confidence. The other guy’s first words as soon as the door closed were, “What a f*cking douchebag!”
About an hour after we got back, I went to the bodega down the street and as I was passing by the little public courtyard outside the building, I looked to my left, stopped dead in my tracks, and witnessed the following:
That same guy, who was so calm and talkative in the pub earlier about his budding opportunities and bright future, was now pacing in the courtyard with his suit and hair disheveled, breathing heavily, frantically expanding and contracting his fists. After a couple of seconds of this manic behavior, he added to it and, in full view of at least ten other people, began to shout, “Get it together, Frank! Get it together! It’s all in your head! It’s all in your head, Frank! Of course it is! She’s not! She’s just not! She’s not f*cking him, Frank! She’s not f*cking him! It’s in your mind, Frank! It’s in your mind! She’s not! She’s not f*ck-GHA! GOD! CHRIST! SHE’S F*CKING HIM!” before he finally lost whatever shred of control he had left and went storming off down the block in a fit of sheer lunacy while screaming in what can only be described as the language of pure, unbridled rage.
As I stood there in complete and utter astonishment, watching a man who had completely lost it, briskly and passionately speed-walk down the street, I was left with so many questions to ponder: What happened at his meeting that led to this moment? Who was his fiancé f*cking, how did he come to this conclusion only an hour after speaking with her prior? Were the two subjects somehow related?
Sadly, I never did get to find out what happened to poor Frank on that fateful day, but I am determined that he would not be visiting NYC again any time soon.