A Window Seat to Life in NYC

Rejections and denials are tough, especially when you are dream chasing in the concrete jungle. Each email seems like another nail in your balloon of hope. Remember, "Failure is an option and it's okay. Just keep trying." Ronda-isms.

She sits at the dinette staring out the window. If she looks up into the trees and the ivy on the building across the street, she could pretend that she was in the suburbs with green grass and tall trees begging to be climbed. Unfortunately, this revelry is interrupted by the smell of dog poop, horns honking, and residents from the mental home across the street yelling at each other. Just look up. Do not look down. As she allows her eyes to descend downward, she takes in the scene. Trash on the sidewalk. Vomit on the curb. A dead rat in the street and a halfway home resident napping on the stoop. This is what $2400/month gets her. Natives tell her she should be happy for a spacious apartment in a prime location.

She is afraid of mice, so rats almost running over her feet the other night caused many sleepless nights. The possibility of being bit by a NYC rat is worse than the thought of getting an STD. People will still sleep with you if you have STDs, but tell someone you have been bitten by a NYC rat and you will be permanently shunned and quarantined from society. Already a neat freak and burgeoning germophobe, she religiously cleans her apartment picking up crumbs and looking for cracks that might seem inviting to critters. A co-worker mentioned a mouse hiding underneath her bed comforter. Even though she was allergic to cats, she adopted one to rid her place of vermin. Another co-worker recalled the time she saw a mouse relaxing in her kitchen sink. She moved after repeated exterminator visits failed to fix the problem. Mouse-in-the-bed colleague relayed the story of a friend who decided to move after making lasagna. She put the lasagna on the counter to cool. When she returned to the kitchen, she saw a tail sticking out of the lasagna. Think about it. These stories accelerated her germophobia such that she purchased peppermint oil and anointed the threshold of her apartment and every doorway - with a double dose for the kitchen corners. Peppermint oil is supposed to be a natural deterrent to mice, so she used it like holy water in the Exorcist.

She is not neurotic. Having grown up poor, she was always told that an education was her key out. Bookish by nature, she promised herself that as an adult she would never be poor, living from paycheck to paycheck, or live where roaches or rodents resided. Why is it two degrees later, she daily checks her bank balance online to see if after paying rent there is enough money to cover utilities and student loans? After all of the studying and working hard, this was not the life she imagined. Being rich was never the goal. She simply wanted a decent living and quality life where she could enjoy the fruits of her labor. Unfortunately, the economy and fate dealt her a cruel hand. Now considered educated, financially, she was no better off.

A sip of coffee is suspended by a "walker" sighting. Her friends got her into The Walking Dead. A resident on the block looked as catatonic as a "walker." The walker was an older woman with gray hair to her shoulders that looked as if it was just electrocuted. The woman's movement was slow and methodical. It was like she was alive but no one was home inside. Her right arm seemed mummified in a vertical right angle, but without the cast. The only thing that had life was the purse that hanged from her motionless arm, swinging like a pendulum on a clock. Was this woman a metaphor for her career - stalled, lifeless, and in a permanent state of stasis with only time to mark the years?

She wonders if dream chasing in this city has run its course. How much longer should over half of her monthly income go to rent an apartment with no amenities and a bathroom slightly bigger than an airplane lavatory? She feels like Dorothy dropped in Oz. For three years she has been traveling the yellow brick road trying to meet the Wiz. Where is the Emerald City? And what devious punishment awaits her there before she can get her wish granted? Think about it.

She takes another sip of the now cold coffee. She looks down at the lease renewal. Can she endure another year of this? Heavy hearted but determined to pursue her dream, she decides to give it one more year. She quickly signs the renewal and walks away from the darn window.