One of the first facts I learned in my first weeks as a New York resident is that everyone is “Someone” here- or at least they’re connected to someone. Another reoccurring lesson was that this city is dang expensive to live in! I’d been living in New York for three days before I started really worrying about the fact that I hadn’t found a job yet. That’s right: Three days.
Before moving to New York, I had examined my bank account to figure out just how long I could last in the city without a job and with a roof over my head. What might last a year elsewhere was going to last me just about 3 months living in the city if I continued paying rent. These were not encouraging numbers. The rent here is just too damn high! I was sitting on the futon in my furnished, sublet room, scouring Craigslist and wondering why, oh why, I had picked the most expensive city in the U.S. to move to… without a single job prospect.
I walked into our closet-sized kitchen and poured myself a glass of wine. (The only thing I had purchased since moving to New York were proper wine glasses, as the jelly jar incident had not been a shining moment.) Roommate Kim walked in and said, “Put on your dancing shoes, we are going out.”
“I need a job,” I whined in my elephant pants.
“And you are going to get one tomorrow,” she told me. She had recently formed a real estate investment group and was hosting the kick-off party the following night. I’d been helping her with last minute details since meeting her three days ago, so she had invited me to come along (although my lack of a job also really impeded my investment power). “There are going to be a lot of people with a lot of connections there. You will get a job.”
So we went out. And all night I was on the lookout for someone carrying a “We’re Hiring” sign. We didn’t see a single one. We did, however, meet a guy named Brandon, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Michael Jackson (and Roommate Kim loves Michael) so she invited him to come to her event the following night. As the night progressed we learned that our new friend was a performer. His stage name was B. Drop the –randon. Just B. And not only did he look like Michael he also moved like Michael, and sang like Michael. He was a blast.
No one was more surprised than Roommate Kim the next night when he actually showed up. On our way out that evening we posed for one more picture that later became one of my favorites from my year in New York. Roommate Kim and me and our new friend B. Well, B. and New York politician, Jimmy McMillan- better known as “The Rent is Too Damn High” guy. I’d kind of thought he was a joke until moving to New York and learning within minutes, that he was right. The rent really is too damn high!
A year later I was driving around in Wichita, Kansas when a reporter from TMZ announced that DNA tests prove with 99.9% accuracy that Michael Jackson fathered a son in the 80’s. His name is Brandon Howard- a songwriter and producer better known as B. Howard. I laughed out loud and then immediately called Roommate Kim. I might not have gotten a job on my third night in the city, but we did party with MJ’s son. That’ll do, New York.
Oh, and she was right. The next night- I did get a job. Not through any of the well-connected people at her event, but through the bartender at the lounge we went to afterward. But that’s another story.
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.