Let’s do the time warp (again): flashback to New York City where a pretty green Scarlet is trying to find her feet in the craziness of corporate America…
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 5:38 PM Subject: Latest news from the globe trotter
It’s been a busy few weeks since I last wrote, still happy as a Cheshire cat at the Mad Hatters tea party (though I must admit I’ve resorted to both alcohol and electric shock treatment to maintain my highly excited disposition). Don’t know if I really have time to catch my breath but if I don’t write this today, I’m not sure when I’ll get another opportunity.
So here’s the low down at light speed:
First “full” week of work saw me training a mixed bag of Americans which was a challenge as: a) it wasn’t a course I’m familiar with and b) an audience I’ve no prior experience presenting to. I learnt the hard way in Ghana, not every class appreciates my sense of humor. It was hair raising (to say the least) and required a good many late nights of prep to get to grips with the material – and my nerves! In the end I enjoyed myself thoroughly.
End of the week rolled in and off we flew to London – Business Class (but a note on how great South Africa actually is: American Airlines is the poor country cousin of SAA – we get waaaaaaay more in terms of style, service and creature comforts). London was frenetic – working, catching up with various people I hadn’t seen in ages and trying to do the cultural things I couldn’t afford to do during the shoe-string gap year. Saw a brilliant Dali exhibition, visited the Saatchi (nice but definitely a lowly runner-up to Dali, perhaps the modern stuff is a wasted on the likes of me), went in for some theatre and a stand-up comedy gig. There was also a little bit of naughty nocturnal “visiting” with a colleague down the hall. Lecherous bloke but clearly I’ve not outgrown the silly hormone related rush of doing things I’m not supposed to. Even managed to electrocute myself after the boys’ tango lesson got a little out of hand… but we won’t go into that now. All in all, great fun.
Then it was off to Ireland to visit a varsity friend who’s living in Dublin – had a ball even though it was a whistle stop week end and managed to get on the first flight back to NY (all flights from Saturday had been cancelled due to the blizzard) to land slap, bang right in the middle of a cold “snap”. Sheesh: what an understatement – JFK was a nightmare, took us an hour to dock at the gates, then over 2 (!!!) hours to get our luggage… by which time it’s 23h30 and the car meant to collect me, gave up and left. The queue for public taxi’s was as long as the voting lines in ’92 so at a complete loss (on the verge of hyperthermia, tears and exhausted hysteria) I managed to get into a private “taxi” with a guy from the UN and a woman from Mexico. The man was a complete gentleman and paid for all 3 of us (he knew neither of us – gotta love being a woman sometimes) though now we know where all the funding goes! Finally home and in bed sometime after 1am and back to work a couple of hours later *sigh* It’s a rat race, I tell ya!
Wham! Bam! And straight into another extremely chaotic week – once again I’m undergoing a baptism of fire (might have been better off getting a degree in pyromania than in marketing), peppered with numerous instances of totally unnecessary self induced suffering (choosing wrong routes home, being pig headed etc etc) and unfamiliar acts of kindness (larney woman in a fur coat with long manicured nails helping me take off my gas tank’s lid off -note: no one knows what petrol is- as yours truly has never ‘pumped’ her own ‘gas’ before) thus it was with much relief and little ceremony, I collapsed on my couch on Friday night. I know this sounds unforgivably dull: living in Manhattan and opting for a Friday night ‘in’ but I’ve found my body reacts to jet lag by subjecting me to staccato sleep for about a week – every 20 minutes, I wake up briefly, stare at the toxic green digits of the alarm clock, sigh and roll over – may not sound awful but it is pretty damn annoying for someone who’s usual slumber is like that of a hibernating bear. Anyway…
Saturday morning had me up early – cleaning the flat (oh how I miss domestic help) and doing the laundry. Then riding the metro on an epic shopping expedition to Century 21 to buy stuff – most importantly bedding for all the visitors I’m expecting: you wouldn’t believe what moving to NYC does for your popularity!
Got home just in time to meet a fellow South African for coffee before going out for dinner with a stunning couple who happen to be friends of my darling godfather. The dinner was marred by a intense migraine which forced me into bed before 22h00. Yeah, yeah so what - I’m getting old?
Sunday arrived with some semblance of sunshine and stumbled out to find the NY Times (never seen so much newsprint in all my life) and attempted imitate the locals by reading the paper. Information overload quickly ensued – it look me over an hour just to page through the damn thing and in the end I didn’t even read a single article. Suitably uncultured, I attempted to make good my failure at being a good New Yorker and trotted off to the Met. Amazing place but once again too much for someone with a migraine addled brain. After only 2 hours, a valiant effort, I conceded to claustrophobia and beat a hasty exit (literally running out the doors and gulping fresh air like some drowning fish). But not before seeing a few interesting things and making mental notes for what to do next time (the Egyptian Nile garden is magical). And without further ado it was Monday and the cycle of work, stress and perpetual meetings began all over again. I seem to spend my life managing my Outlook calendar with all the attendant conference calls, meetings and group collaborations *sigh* admin, admin, admin! Yuck.
Anyway, that’s my news. Sorry (yet again) to everyone who I still owe personal replies to, ek’s poes met e-pos and there’s no rest for the wicked (I’ve been particularly bad lately). I’ve created a big fat folder called ‘pls respond‘ which I will eventually wade my way through. But I thinking of you often: whether I’m remembering your baby’s first birthday; looking at some scene I know you’d appreciate; hearing a song that reminds me of you on the radio; trying to explain to overly excitable colleagues what party animals my friends can be at 2am in the back of a Golf on De Waal Drive. Rest assured, each of you are in my mind somewhere - my brain’s a busy place and I hear voices…
Take care, all the best, be happy and let me know what you’re up to.