I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a real New Yorker, even if I live here forever. I’m not sure I’ll ever really look like a New Yorker, either. I’m convinced that’s why people ask me for directions so often-- because I don’t look like I belong; I look nice. But I’ve been here for a little over a year and a half, and fewer strangers are asking for directions. As when someone guesses that I’m from Connecticut (you’d wonder how if you ever heard me), I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended.
I was waiting for a staff elevator at the Carlyle early Saturday afternoon. The back elevators at hotels take forever because there’s a constant stream of maids and food and suit-clad ladies with Slatkin candles and, in this case, furniture, flowing up and down at all times. I was standing there with a driver (less glamorous than it sounds) who was wearing jeans and a hoodie-- the sort that says the name of a place and then XXL or something.
I was wearing knee boots, tights, a t shirt, a stretchy dress, this long stretchy cardigan thing, a ratty scarf, approximately three, small, tangly necklaces, and my white coat. Having fallen asleep on Pete’s sofa the night before (he lives in Brooklyn and it is really far to go home), it was the comfortable outfit I’d chosen for a busy Friday at work. My hair was in a messy ponytail, and was, quite honestly, a little dirty. I wasn’t wearing any makeup. And, I think this is the real kicker, having fallen asleep on Pete’s sofa the night before (I really like his t.v.), I’d slept in my contacts and had disgusting, red, puffy eyes that hurt in the light and necessitated wearing the enormous purple sunglasses I’d found in my bag.
This is New York, and there’s a fine line, but I couldn’t tell if I was dressed more like an Olsen or an actual bag lady. And, walking through the basement of the Carlyle and out the service entrance, I was hoping that the staff was thinking, “I wonder who that is?” and not “I wonder how she got in?”