How Did I End Up Here
I began announcing I was here for a notary signing. I was obviously out of my element, with the police flashlights shining brightly on my face and body. The officers smiled broadly, with the tall one howling out a loud laugh. Both officers told me I was in one of the Bronx’s worst areas: drug-infested, robberies, murders, etc. The officers stated I was a brave soul. I was declaring to myself; that I must be an idiot in soft tones. The compliment was received in good humor, as I pretended to be laughing with my new friends. I was shaking from my frightening real-life adventure and the soaking cold rain.
My trembling was overtaking my speech. I could hardly utter a word. The officers recognizing my anxious state tried to offer me moral support. The young police officers advised me to get out as soon as possible and keep moving. The men in blue added they could not be driving me back to the subway as they were preparing for a drug bust in the building. All I kept repeating to myself was, how did I get here! We all wished each other good wishes as comrades in arms.
As a result, of my welcoming speech, I was permitted to enter and begin walking up five flights of stairs. Passing garbage laded hallways, I finally arrived at apartment 5D. Once again, I kept asking myself, how did iI get here? Knocking the door for 3 minutes with no answer, I started to walk away. Suddenly, a guy in his 30’s dressed in underwear opens the door halfway. He starts barking in a meek drugged-out tone-what do I want. This humanoid was off in ozone land. I could not understand a word as all I heard was mumbling.
He asked me for my identification when I told him I was here to get papers signed. He told me he had many people knocking on his door. He needed to ensure I was not an undercover cop or a plant. Once again, I am in a movie and one of the actors.
Entering the Drug Den
Convincing this druggie, I was good to go, and the door opened. Rafael was leading me into a surreal experience and world. Before my eyes were; no furniture, garbage in every corner, and clothes on the floor. It was a total mess. Yes, there was a big-screen TV, video games, and three babies screaming in diapers! How could I not notice two women topless hanging out? Everything was out of central casting. Babies are crying, and the women speak broken English/Spanish. Food cans, toys, and bags filled my path.
We continued to the lightly lit kitchen. Rafael was holding himself up with a broom handle, hovering under the peeling paint on the ceiling. He looked like he was going to fall over any second. I, in turn, was standing tall and taking very quickly. Despite my stature, I was shaking endlessly. I put on a brave face, but boy oh boy, was I nervous!
Therefore I was determined to finish the signing in five minutes and get out. So I took out the documents and a pen while the druggie kept bumbling. Well, one page was flowing into the next at the speed of light. We finished the papers in no time. Without even saying any goodbyes, I was out the door.
Getting Home/Are You The Buyer Or the Seller
Now on to the streets with a 20-minute walk to the subway.
Furthermore, street kids were jumping in front of me, scaring the hell out of me. Somehow, I stayed relaxed and did not flinch as I kept my hands at the ready at my side. They questioned whether I was a buyer, a dealer, or an undercover cop! I kept thinking I was a suburban father from the suburbs. How did I get here?
Escaping Faster and Faster
Suddenly my eldest daughter was on my phone, screaming and yelling at me to get home. My walk became a trot; my trot became a run for home and safety. But, of course, when I got to the subway with significant relief, three cops were handcuffing a group.
Another; adventure, another out-of-body experience. All a long way from my corporate days. All resulted in a small notary fee and a sizeable and significant sigh. The journey from world trekking to notary trekking and the lessons learned continue. — reinvention, discovery, and keeping it real.