Working the Streets of Manhattan

Yesterday I had a “street team demo” for this job I now have, which means I stand on the street and give out protein bars to people. My gig was at 9am. Which my sleepy brain thought meant 10am. So I was looking at the clock going “Well it’s 8:45am. And I have to be there at 9. So I’ll leave 9:30 and it takes half an hour to get to Madison Ave. Cool.” Then I did a double take at the email and then at my clock. Then back to my email and then to my own brain like WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?

I hadn’t done a “street team demo” yet and was a little apprehensive. I didn’t have a table or even a poster to stand next to. I was just handing out stuff to people and yelling facts at them. “Protein bars! 8 grams of fiber! 1 gram of sugar! Gluten free! Non-GMO! Kosher! Made in Canada!”

Sometimes I got all the facts mixed up and was yelling “15 grams of sugar! 1 gram of protein!” And when I realized my mistake it was like ‘whatever, those people are gone and new people are walking down the street! Hi new people!’

I’ve realized that if you ever have a fear of rejection, try handing something out in NYC. It’s just a steady stream of “No, no no, no thanks, hmm, what?, no, *shake head on phone*, nah, no thank you sweetie.” Even 10 min of that and you’re like “I can do aaannythinggg cuz no one is even looking at meeeee – let’s make up a song about protein bars!” And once in I’d say 15 people, someone will take a protein bar from your hand. Which you will drop. And cause a backup of walking traffic while you pick it up.

I had gone to two different places yesterday. I was finished up the second one (very early, since I vastly underestimated the amount of samples to bring). I got to the corner when an older man with a glass eye who I remembered from my first demo saw me. He was getting coffee at a cart at the corner.

Glass eye: You’re leaving already?

Me: Ah yup, all finished.

Glass eye: Come here, come here.

Me: What’s up? *walk over*

Glass eye: *Turns to the guy making him coffee* This is my wife.

Me: Umm…nope. Not his wife.

Glass eye: You want a donut? I’ll buy you a donut.

Me: Naaahhh…I’m okaayyy…I gotta goo…

Glass eye: You wanna hang out?

Me: Nnnooo…that’s okay. I’ll see ya laterrrr byyeee…. *awkwardly backs away*

Because really, that was weird. Like his commitments were in the opposite order of intensity. Also the leap between married and donut is a lot bigger than between hanging out and donut. Maybe he was just using a bargaining tactic. Like, okay you don’t wanna be my wife how innocuous does a donut sound then?! Didn’t work.

Either way. Mild sexual harassment in this job seems to be pretty requisite.

After work I had improv class. I was kind of in a blah mood which is a rough mood to be in when you’re expected to be all silly and into it. I did manage to do a pretty good alligator impression though for one game.

Luckily, we worked on monologues which I am pretty boss at. My suggestion was “bathroom.”

I told a story (stop me if you’ve heard this one) about how when I was in 2nd grade I was a really shitty student. Instead of studying or doing homework, I would go into the bathroom (!!!) before a quiz and punch myself in the nose REALLY hard and come back with a nosebleed and be like “I’m bleeding can I just go to the nurse?” Which worked for a long time. A few years at least. It was foolproof. And easier than doing math.

But then when I was in 3rd grade my nose muscles (capillaries?) got really weak from my stupid self-abuse so it would bleed whenever. We were supposed to go see Les Miserables as a class but my doctor (whose office was down the block from my school so I just walked over with my teacher which was normal) was like nah don’t go. So the class left (and now that I’ve seen Les Mis (the movie) 12 years later, I’m kind of glad I skipped it – also who takes 9 year olds to see that?!) and my principal, instead of sticking me in the library to color or whatever, was like “Well, Gloria the receptionist is out so why don’t you just fill in for her,” and brought me to his office.

I sat at the desk playing with a stapler when someone called. “Yeshiva of Central Queens!” I answered all chipper. “Hi this is Robert Cohen. Can you please tell Sarah Cohen to come downstairs with her coat? I’m taking her out to visit her grandmother.” I guess he didn’t realize the women on the other end sounded extremely young, one might say *too* young to be answering phones but whatever. I put the phone down and walked into the principal’s office.


“What? I’m busy!” He snapped at me. And if I had any idea of how messed up this situation was at the time I would have been like “I AM NINE. I DONT KNOW HOW TO BE A RECEPTIONIST. THIS IS INSANE. HELP ME.” But instead I was like “Uhh…nothing. Sorry.” And just kept the phone off the hook for the rest of the day. A little tactic that helped me when I was an actual receptionist 11 years later at UMD’s student union. Jobs!

Speaking of jobs. My job was cancelled today because it’s snowing and if you think it’s hard to get people’s attention on a nice day, try to get theirs when they’re hustling through with umbrellas, bags and grumpy toddlers.

So I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, my little acorns! I am thankful for all of you!




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