Yes, I consider myself to be most fortunate to have grown up in Wallace,Idaho. When I have told inquiring people where I am from I usually get either a smirk, a knowing wink, or an " I love Wallace. It is so pretty". No matter which response it is almost all of them have heard of Wallace, except of course, when I was living in The Bronx. A lot of people in NYC don't have a clue where the Idaho, Washington, or Oregon are. Some thought that Seattle was a suburb of Los Angeles. When I tried the broader geographic area of saying I was from Washington, I got without exception the knowing response of ' oh, D.C."
A hotel in the Broadway theater area had listed an opening for an auditor, so I got on the D Train and headed into Manhattan. I was already visualizing how pleasing it would be to work in this hotel. I arrived fashionably early, filled out the obligatory application and waited for the interview with the GM.
When a lady stepped out of the elevator and started walking in my general direction I thought to myself that this lady could not possibly be the GM. Her attire was somewhere between the 1960 hippy look and the 1970's new age movement. But, yes, she was indeed the manager. After all, I was in the theater district where everything was a little off beat.
The interview was going along quite well as she asked me about my experience as an auditor . She explained that most of the hotel's guests were musicians, and a lot of rock bands stayed there, which explained her slightly off-beat apparel. I was beginning to get that premonition one gets when they think that they are going to get the job, and already are fantasizing about their first promotion and then on to being the GM . Then the question that changed the whole interview,my future, and my fantasy was asked. " Where did your application say you were from?" I had been living in Spokane when I moved to NY, so Spokane was what she was referring to. It was just my luck to have an interview with the one and only one person that I had met in MYC that knew about Spokane.
" Why on earth would you want to live in this rat hole of a city when you live in one of the most beautiful areas of the country? You have grass, yards, trees, lakes, and space. I don't think that you would be happy here long term. Go back to your paradise. " When I told her that living in NYC was a life long dream she only shook her head.
This was indeed a first for me. I had never been denied a job that I was more than qualified for because of where I was from. I left the hotel, walked to the subway station for the D Train, and headed back to Gerard Avenue in the Bronx. I was a little miffed about her abrupt dismissal of me, but at the same time, her words had started a visual sentimental journey as I rode the crowded, hot, bumpy, train loaded with people with blank looks in their eyes, who dared not look at the person next to them for fear that person could be a psycho killer right out of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller.
By the time I had arrived at my apartment in the Bronx, I had a full-fledged disliked for NYC, the East Coast, the humidity, the people, and the culture. I longed for grass, lakes, mountains, and most of all, I longed for peace and quiet. A few short weeks later I packed my bags, boarded the D Train by Yankee Stadium, and headed for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, got on the Big Dog, and began the long, long, journey home.