I had one of the worst days of my life last Friday that started when my heat and hot water went off.
New York had been in a freeze lockdown all week so you can imagine how cold my apartment got. You could have hung meat in my closet. We were told it would be fixed sooner than later, not later than sooner which is what actually happened. But I didn’t know that yet.
Rather than wifi-ing it somewhere, I stubbornly sat at my desk in my coat, hat and Uggs looking as if I was ice fishing. I finally had to stop writing, my chattering teeth having the last say. Talk about typos.
I went to Starbucks that was so crowded I had to leave. The library was even packed. I felt forced to go to Bloomingdales where I roamed sports and cruise wear realizing this must be how a homeless person feels seeking shelter…well if he had a fashion sense that is.
I kept neurotically popping home to see if the heat went back on. Finally at 5′oclock I started to unhinge. I need a shower, I thought and no one knows better than me what a little hot water can do.
Trudy, who’s right around the corner, was my immediate best bet. She was at her office but called her doorman to let me in.
If there was a contest for water pressure Trudy’s shower would win hands down. I stood there for 20 minutes beneath its pulsating spray before I felt my entire body decide at that moment to air its grievances. It began in my thighs that were so sore from gripping, staving off that chill I still felt despite the warmth of the water. Then I started to shake and the next thing you know I’m in a heap on the shower floor surrounded by 45 different types of shampoo.
Where the fuck am I?
Spa Trudy, that’s where.
I can’t remember the last time I cried like that. It was visceral stemming from a place I can’t recall being before. It wasn’t just the cold, it was many things. It was that newspaper I’ve always wanted to write for whose editor blew me off. It was the extreme insensitivity of someone I thought I could depend on and trust. It was a friend’s husband dying the exact same way my father did.
All my pain rose to the surface demanding its say and…in no uncertain terms had it…and goddammit so did I.
I picked myself up knocking Trudy’s conditioner section over like bowling pins climbing into my old cargo pants and hoodie. I went and sat on the couch to collect myself before going back into the deep freeze.
I heard a key in the door.
“Honey, I’m home,” Trudy said, amusing herself more than me. She took one look at my teary, flushed face and said, “What kinda blush is that?” jump starting my meltdown all over again.
“What is it?” she asked, genuinely concerned, “whatever is the matter Susannah?” She actually stopped talking for a second which was rather groundbreaking.
I was so upset I couldn’t even answer at first but then it all came gushing out. I blubbered every problem in Dolby Sound accompanied by Italian hand gestures. Sometimes you just need to cry it all out right where your feet are despite who’s there. Well that’s what I told myself anyway.
When it seemed as if I was through Trudy handed me a dish towel since my nose was running like the Ganges and said, “I know what will make things better.”
“A quick bullet to the head?”
“A nice big chicken sandwich?” I looked up to see if my mother had walked in the room.
After giving my nose a good blast I sniveled, “Okay, but only if you have lots of mayo.”
Next thing you know I’m sitting on that sofa eating chicken on rye like an appeased 8 year old. It was probably the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had (Sorry Ma).
Trudy then flipped on the news and we sat there together watching the world stone Lance Armstrong until my landlady called to say the heat was back on. Finally, I get to go home.
“Thanks for everything Trudy,” I said gathering up my things. She handed me an orange as a parting gift walking me to the door.
“It will better in the morning,” she said, “for you and Lance, you’ll see.”
I then went home, got under the covers and cried myself to sleep.
It was better in the morning…for once she was right.
I’m not so sure about Lance though.