You’re probably wondering “What does a girl from a small horse town in Southern California know about the city?” And the answer is: Not a damn thing! But when you are unexpectedly offered your dream job in downtown and asked to start the following Monday, the city lifestyle becomes a seemingly conquerable fear. That is, until you are faced with modern elevators, the reality of aggressive crime, and the bone-chilling fact that a smile to a stranger is not in any way going to be reciprocated. You’re in the city now, girlfriend, and unsystematic smiling is considered a weakness.
My first day on the job as a content writer for a very successful social media site started as anyone would expect it to; with Carrie Underwood pep talking me through my car speakers and my third Monster in my already trembling hand. Clearly sleep was not a viable option the night before which could only be attributed to undeniable, as well as understandable, nerves and anxiety. I knew, from an academic and achievement based standpoint, I was nowhere near qualified for this eminent title. However, the tribe had spoken and my overzealous, ADD emulating self was headed downtown. Yikes!
Generally speaking, your first day on any average job is typically predictable. One will normally be bombarded with excessive and redundant paperwork, repeat the phrase “Hi! I’m [insert name]! It’s so nice to meet you”, and forcefully laugh at the new boss’ jokes just to put out a good vibe and set the foundation for future vacation days and possibly a promotion in time. With that said, this “first day” was far from what I considered predictable.
Now, call me old-fashion, but I am accustomed to your old, standard elevator. You step in, select your floor, wait for the doors to close and [potentially] seal your fate to an uncomfortable and fearful death, anxiously waiting for your floor button to vibrantly light up so you can quickly get the hell out of that death box the moment those doors open and confirm that you will live to see another day. Seems enjoyable, right? However, it seems as if downtown has gotten this concept backwards. Literally. So, after struggling for almost a solid 3 minutes with a touch screen pad located outside the elevator (barbaric, I know!), I had mastered how to successfully call an elevator to my floor! Success! However, you are designated to a specific elevator that is identified by a letter indicated above the elevator. Seems logical, right? Well, what wasn’t logical was the speed as to which your elevator arrived and departed. For a girl who had misplaced her glasses and was wearing stilettos with a heel higher than her standards for fast food, 4 seconds was nowhere near enough time to successfully hop on board. After a couple attempts of what I am only assuming was a very comical exercise routine consisting of straight cardio, a defeated aspiring writer took the high road (literally) and trudged up hill out of a dense and murky parking garage.
Downtown: 1 Vanessa: 0
In addition to the chaotic elevator system, this perky blonde was no match for the streets of downtown. Do you recall the term “overzealous” being used previously to describe my personality? Well, I definitely didn’t mean that lightly. But leave it to this moderately sheltered girl to begin her endeavor downtown by greeting every passerby with a chipper “good morning” and a naive, but hopeful smile. For reasons that are beyond me, typical downtowners don’t take too kindly to this seemingly absurd and under practiced behavior. This lack of a genuine and outgoing response to my attempts to be friendly and vibrant without a doubt affected my confidence to say the very least. Realization had finally hit that I wasn’t in small town Bonsall anymore.
Downtown: 2 Vanessa: 0
My first 20 minutes into the chaotic city hustle and bustle had already wiped me out, so a warm cup of coffee was clearly a viable option at this point. I quickly searched for a nearby coffee shop, located the address, and made my way to what I assumed was the direction of my much desired destination. However, my assumption was incorrect, as always, and I had unknowingly walked up on a standoff in progress. In addition to the temporary closure of multiple, heavily trafficked streets, the city lamp posts were decorated in pristine caution tape that served as a perfect prop for the variety of newscasters from various stations to use in their breaking news footage. Dozens upon dozens of downtowners huddled around the freshly sectioned off street to snap not only live action shots, but a wide range of posed selfies! It was at that pivotal moment that I genuinely had to ask myself if I was more afraid of the standoff happening one block in front of me, or the bone chilling thought that crime was not taken seriously by the majority of the downtown population in front of me and I would be needing pepper spray and possibly a taser.
Downtown: 3 Vanessa: 0
It was not even 9 am and I had been defeated before even stepping into what would be my new home for at least 40 hours a week. With the warm cup of coffee far from my mind, I headed down 5th ave in search of the intimidating gate that harbored my new work building. I trudged down the smog invaded sidewalk, refusing to give even the slightest smile to a stranger in fear of the vacant expression they would most likely respond with. That was until my ears were greeted with a joyous sound I had been longing to hear since my arrival: a chipper voice!
“Girl, your outfit is on point! It’s casual, yet still very put together. Bravo!”
The image of that smiling and extremely flamboyant man will forever be seared into my memory, because that is the moment I had fully regained my confidence that had so viciously been taken from me moments before. Despite the morning from hell, I was finally able to take pride in the chipper, overzealous, ADD emulating self that was Vanessa Kash and I knew I would survive in this seemingly foreign place. How? I hadn’t quite figured that out yet. But the confidence that had just been instilled inside me by that equally peppy and chipper man with pristine Ray Bans and extremely fashion forward Cole Haan loafers was enough to get me through my day. And that was all the time I needed to figure it all out.
Downtown: 3 Vanessa: 1
Time to conquer the city..