I get to work, check my email, and know I left my hair straightener on.
I woke up that morning and, for some reason, turned it on before I went to brush my teeth. I figured this way it would be hot when I got back into my bedroom. I got caught up changing my outfit seven times and ran out of time to do my hair. I rushed out of my apartment and walked ten minutes to the L train, tranfered to the C, and walked another ten minutes to the office. I sat down in my chair, dumped my bag on my desk, and it hit me. I left the straightening iron turned on, burning hot on a metal shelf next to my wood desk.
“Shit. I left my straightener on.”
My coworkers look unimpressed. “That sucks,” one says.
“Go turn it off,” another ones tells me, her eyes not leaving the computer screen.
“I’ve left it on at least fifty times and nothing has ever happened.” I don’t know what I’m rationalizing. I already know the answer.
“So don’t worry about it,” a coworker responds.
“Ugh. I don’t know what to do.”
Now they look annoyed, and the collective response is for me to go turn it off. After all, our boss is out for the day and everyone’s bored and reading blogs.
I’m frustrated, but I go. I walk ten minutes back to the C, transfer to the L, and walk back through the grassy oval in Stuyvesant Town toward my building. I reach into my bag and have to hold back tears. My keys aren’t in my bag. I call security, and twenty minutes and thirty dollars later, I am back in my apartment and my keys are sitting on my desk, next to the straightening iron, which I turn off. But wait, why is it cold?
Of course, the straightening iron was never plugged in.
I walk back toward the L swearing at myself. I am such a fool. I am such an idiot. This day is completely shot. I never should have gotten out of bed.
Of course, I just miss the L and wait another ten minutes for another train to come. I calm down. It’s no big deal. It’s just thirty dollars, and some annoyance, and my boss isn’t even in. It’s fine, I tell myself. Everyone makes stupid mistakes.
The L finally comes and I sit down next to a tall guy with blue eyes who looks familiar. It’s Scott, a sweet guy I went on two dates with and never called nearly five months ago. I had just started my new job, was incredibly overwhelmed, and he seemed to be looking for something more serious than myself. So I ignored his emails, his calls, and embodied the very definition of heartless New York City bitch.
“Hi!” he smiles, and suddenly my bad day as gone from terrible to hilariously cruel. “How have you been? I haven’t seen you in months.”
The other passengers on the train look at eachother and smile. They love this. This is New York, to them.
I swallow hard and try not to act as awkward and guilty as I feel. “I’m good. I’ve been so busy. How is everything? How’s your baseball team?”
“We lost the championship last week.”
“But I’m good. I’m working on a cd.”
“That’s great!” I exclaim, with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. I am going overboard, and he can tell.
“What are you doing on the L?” he asks.
“Oh, I moved to Stuy Town. Are you still in Bushwick?”
“Nope, I moved to Williamsburg.”
“That’s great!” I blurt out again. At this point, I am an idiot. I am a cold, heartless New York bitch. And now I’m also a total idiot.
The L stops at Union Square, and Scott gets up. I feel even more awkward now.
“Oh, is this you?” I ask.
“Yup — take care.”
“You too! Let’s do lunch!” I screach, as the doors close.
The strangers around me titter and roll their eyes. New Yorkers around awkwardness are like sharks around blood. They sense it, and they get off on it.
By the time I transfer from the L to the C, walk back to the office, and get back to my desk, I’ve been gone for almost two hours. My coworkers don’t notice.
“How’s your straightener?” someone asks.
“It wasn’t plugged in.”
“Today’s just not your day.”
“You have no idea.”