Instead what instantly flashed through my head was Woa--that's Benjamin Bratt. I mean my brain immediately registered this man as him, just as we automatically do when we spot someone whom we knew from high school, standing in line with her grocery basket two rows away. An instant recognition of someone.
I was sitting in a restaurant in Union Square, waiting for an "open interview" with the manager. I had started my search today with resumes between 2:30 and 4 pm (thanks for the tip, Monday), and it turns out that many restaurants will do immediate interviews at that time. I had filled out the application and was now sitting in a small chair facing the bar, when he walked by. Tall, with black, flowing hair, goatee, and long, slender legs, like a cowboy. I watched him walk out the door, then observed the hostess and another employee to see if they would quietly titter to each other after he'd gone. They did share some quiet exchange and smiled to one another... I think it was him guys, honestly.
About three hours later on my way home, this girl and I got off at the same stop-- 191st, and she struck up a conversation with me. She asked if I was from New York and I told her no, explaining that I had moved here nearly two weeks ago from California.
"Oh, you didn't like Cali?" she asked me, her large, diamond-studded hoop earrings catching the dull subway lights.
"Oh no, I love California," I assured her, and went through the little spiel about why I came out here.
I asked if she was from New York and she isn't: she's from Boston but comes out here to receive vocal lessons from a coach.
"Yeah, he's worked with Patti LaBelle, ..." I don't remember the other names she mentioned. And she wasn't bragging or trying to name drop. She was very sweet and just seemed to want to carry on a conversation for our short walk up to St. Nicholas.
We took the elevator up to street level, and she commented on the operator who was sitting behind her make-shift booth, fan trained on her, snacking on pork rinds.
"I couldn't do that job," she commented. " The motion all day would make me sick."
I see this woman daily, just pushing the up and down buttons for us. The other lifts at this very same stop aren't operated by someone. We commuters/travelers are left with the grave responsibility of pushing one of two buttons that will either take us to the lower mezzanine (subway station) or to street access. In any case, I can appreciate that her job must be hot and boring, and I always thank her for delivering us either to the street or to the underground.
Once on the street, this girl and I parted ways; she told me to have fun, and I wished her luck. She's supposed to be singing in a couple of months, I think here in New York and she said something briefly about meeting with a producer. I wish her great success.
And I hope the vacation that the elevator operator was describing to someone on the lift last week is fast approaching.