Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Point of View

There is a man I see just about every day. He walks along West Broadway between Prince and Spring streets in Soho, but there's no telling how many streets and blocks and miles he walks each day. He walks with an offbeat rhythm: perfectly methodical for him, but markedly out of sync to the other sets of legs clipping briskly on the sidewalk.

The right leg leads, followed by a loping left side, his whole body drooping as the leg slowly drags and then swings forward. His stride is long, direct, but his gait is labored, wobbly. "Has he been like this since birth?" I wonder, "Or did an accident take away his full functioning?"

I watch him continue down the street - step, dip, swing, step, dip, swing, step, dip, swing - and always shake my head with a strange mix of bewilderment and appreciation. The words blazoned across the back of his green uniform, partially covered by the sideways strap of the messenger bag hanging around his shoulder: RDS Delivery Service.


My favorite advertising campaign is for the bank HSBC - its clever and thought-provoking words and images are designed to illustrate the multiple perspectives of any subject - and the ads always make me pause and consider: what is MY point of view? If you aren't familiar with the campaign, one of the easiest ads to describe is the image of a baby laying on its back with arms open, face expectant. The image is repeated side by side three times, with the words "love", "legacy", "expense".

I imagine my RDS deliveryman starring in his own installment of the campaign. A picture of him in uniform, mid-stride, body loping to the side and packages filling his bag, with the words "determined", "inspiring", "futile" describing the scene.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Shake it up

I've got to get out of this posting slump - brush off the keyboard, shake it up!

An email last week from my sister got the juices flowing:

She had just seen a drink menu item called "The Razzle Dazzle". A martini of peach schnapps, vodka, orange liquor and fruit juice described as "smooth and spectacular". Well, yes, how very razzle dazzle-ish!

On a never-ending quest to choose a signature drink, this one fits my liking rather nicely. If I can just commit the ingredients to memory, this will cure my stumbling and mumbling response to the "what would you like to drink?" question I never seem able to answer very smoothly or spectacularly.

By adding some razzle dazzle to my drink selection, I must in turn add some selection to my Razzle Dazzle. I'm guaranteeing a Razzle Dazzle New York post each week here on out. If I fail, I'll take the punishment for being a bore. The next cocktail order will be, "Just a tall glass of water, that's all for me." When I know deep down "The Razzle Dazzle" is waiting to be written and enjoyed.

The "Razzle Dazzle Martini" canvas painting Elizabeth surprised me with a few years ago - never did I consider this martini was an actual drink! Please note the similarities: red hair, New York New York-esque top hat and cane...or is that a baton?!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Ten months ago today - last June 13th - the day ended much differently than it began. Most poignantly - for my family, anyway - my older sister Julie started the day a "Miss" and ended the day a "Mrs." Most obviously - for anyone in Birmingham, AL, that is - the morning sky loomed heavy with clouds but the evening stars shown bright and clear. Most personally - for me, of course - I started the day believing I was an "anything is possible" type of person but ended the day shaking my head at my lack of faith.

Though the sky we woke to on Julie's wedding morning was anything but clear, it shouted a message that definitely was: "There will be NO outdoor wedding today. Period!" Gray clouds churned and swirled and thickened so sickeningly in the sky, it perfectly mirrored the nervous anxiousness brewing in my stomach. I stood on my parents' front porch in the quiet of the morning, tilted my head back and turned slowly in a circle to survey the situation. Bleak. No, not even bleak. Bad. Impossible. There was not a single break in the clouds, no light through any tunnel, no way the sky could clear by this evening, if ever. I could see no silver lining to these steel gray clouds.

I looked at my mother, our makeup-less faces pale with dread. "Has Julie seen the clouds?" I whispered with wide eyes. She gulped and nodded a yes. "Oh no," I thought. "OH NO."

Julie was the classically organized bride, planning details of the details so every part of her wedding day would be flawless. And now this, this doomsday of the ugliest sky I have ever seen.

At the hairdresser, the rain poured from the sky, puddled on the sidewalk, and swooshed against the windows. As our hair was pinned up and poufed up, the rain came down, down, down.

I tried to soften the blow, to make lemonade out of lemons: "the wedding will be pretty inside" and "it would be too hot in the June sun anyway." Instead of believing the dream would happen, I looked for Plan B. Julie never doubted, never waivered, never lost faith in her belief that a sunny outdoor wedding would happen. I thought she had lost her mind. She possessed a brideful hope that frankly just made her seem possessed (me, her doting maid of honor, standing behind her swirling a 'crazy' finger at my temple every time she refused the wedding should move inside.)

My finger was soon pointed at me, tsk-tsking the doubt I had been so sure of. As the last noses were powdered and lips blotted before the photographs began, I pulled back the curtains of the bride's room to reveal a sky whose curtain of clouds had dissolved. I laughed with stunned, bewildered eyes: it was a miracle! A miracle I had prayed for but never actually believed would come true.

Oh me of little faith! What wonderful possibilities have I written off because they seemed impossible? Have I ever been so passionately hopeful that everyone thought I was crazy? Do I really believe anything is possible?

When I remember Julie's wedding day, I will always think of how pretty she looked and the lesson I learned: no situation is ever as bleak as it seems, no dream is too unrealistic to hold, no sky is gray forever.

Top, the morning sky on June 13, 2009; bottom, the sky just six hours later.