Strangers, Neighbors and Siblings

I like working Sunday mornings. Not because I get to wake up at 5:17 a.m. but because Sundays are slow and I can spend most of the time on BuzzFeed DIY learning how to make a sundress out of an old garbage bag and some mason jars.

I also like it because early Sunday mornings walking through Times Square, with nothing but random joggers and the odd homeless person, is kind of peaceful. It’s a quiet moment that’s really rare for the most crowded triangle on the planet. Usually I walk from Columbus Circle undisturbed, just listening to my ZZ Ward playlist that gets me pumped to be sitting in a control room all day.

Except today.

I was walking with my headphones in when the guy about 10 feet in front of me stopped in front of an Argo Tea cafe which was closed. He was wearing black skinny jeans, boat shoes and a beige blazer. With his glossy bedhead he looked like a mix between a Disney star and a British pop singer. He stumbled over to the heavy round stands that hold umbrellas for the outdoor seating during the day, but when the store is closed, are left outside. He started kicking them, pondering their existence. He looked up at me.

“Excuse me. Um, I’m not from here. Can you please tell me what these things are? I’m not from New York.”

I took my headphones out. “Well, they’re used to hold umbrellas in place when the cafe opens. I guess they don’t have them where you’re from…?”

He shook his head. “I am so fucked up. I’m from Indiana.” I noticed he sounded like he was (fucked up, not from Indiana) He started walking next to me and I thought “Oh God am I going to have to walk the whole way with this guy?”

“Hi, my name’s Aviva. I’m from here.”

He held his hand up for a high-five.

“Chris. Are you going to work? I can’t find my hotel.”

“Where is it?”


“Well, we’re on 56th. You just keep going this way…”

Then from behind us we heard “Chris?” and turning around saw a black guy in roughly the same outfit.

“Oh man!” Chris shouted, “Hey! This is my best friend! And this is Olivia” he gestured to me. “I can’t believe you found me, man! Olivia is going to work. I think she’s late though.”

Even though I was actually 25 min early to work, I grabbed the opportunity.

“Yup, a little late! Good luck with your hotel and um, be careful!” I yelled as a turned down 54th even though I usually walked straight to 48th. Who knows what those crazy mid-westerns could be up to at 6 a.m.

Speaking of overly-friendly people, here is an update on my neighbor Tom. I borrowed an egg from him to make banana bread and he was *over-joyed* to lend me one. He invited me in and asked if he could get me anything else. He suggested he, Ari and I share some wine together, and I dropped off some banana bread when it was finished. He slipped a thank-you note under our door. I live next door to Mister Rogers.

An update on Susan, my 68-year-old ballerina friend, I saw her at the grocery store and I hid because I’m awkward.

But something else I’d like to share with the class is that I learned some valuable relationship advice from a TLC documentary this week. It wasn’t Four Weddings or 19 Kids And Counting (maybe stop counting kids and spend some evenings watching a movie Duggars, just a thought). It was Extreme Bodies. Because I am oddly fascinated with any and all congenital defects (for no reason), I was watching an episode on conjoined twins. The chances of having a conjoined baby(ies?) is about 1 in 500,00. Not that rare if you think about it.

They were interviewing Lori and George, the world’s oldest female conjoined twins are 47. They are attached at the skull. They also have almost polar opposite personalities. George is tidy and into NASCAR and country music. Lori is messy, wants to be a mother and loves junk food. In her interview Lori explains that their relationship is a compromise. That in order to coexist, they have to learn to respect the other’s wishes, to share and communicate. They are literally stuck with each other. Now, I know that friendships and relationships can in no way compare to having someone literally sharing your liver, but if these people can have the patience and optimism to live physically attached to their siblings then most of us can probably learn to get along more effectively right?

Anyways, that’s what I am thinking about as I sit at work and watch the new trailer for This Is Where I Leave You. I am also thinking about getting some Jamba Juice on my way to the Israel Day Parade since it is so gorgeous out. Enjoy the sunshine!


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