Thursday, June 01, 2006

First access...

As I was ushered past the velvet rope at the opening of the latest club, promoting the latest exclusionary lifestyle, in last season’s suede, a forty-dollar haircut, and a re-gifted pair of Nicole Millers, it suddenly became Cristal clear.

Not labels, not cash, not a lofty business card nor lofty businessman, fabulous apartment nor pack of model friends.

The only thing I needed to succeed in New York was access.

And the swiftest route to that throbbing vein was a job. Just a silly, simple job where I was an assistant, and I wasn’t even assisting anything terribly important, but all of a sudden I was lusted after, because I possessed the power, or was at least close enough to a generator, where I could whisper in the ear of a rainmaker, and I could change the course of the world. Well, the worlds of a few people anyway, and those people had big, fat, corporate accounts ripe for buying my, and my colleagues, affinity.

So they came in droves. And their arms were full. Cirque de Soleil, ski trips, massages and treatments at New York’s best (read: most expensive) spas, US Open boxes, Fashion Week, concerts (David Bowie, Arcade Fire, Joss Stone), booze cruises and sailing in the harbor…

Magazine parties where lugues spang vodka, models bowed to our demands, and avant garde artists splashed paint on canvases to the rhythm of a cheering crowd.

And the free stuff, oh the free stuff. The bags of designer make-up, tickets, certificates for pedicures, hair products, books, music. So much free alcohol. And a free bout of alcoholism to go along with it.

I wasn’t yet 22 and I was selling my soul for the free stuff. The job wasn’t for me, the hours were long, the pay was bad. But that stuff, I couldn’t tear my arm away from the IV that bought my social status. Putting me close enough to brush against celebrities, drinking at night as though I was a flashing socialite, it pushed back the drapes and plunked bottles on the table like I was a millionaire. At times, my life felt like it was Page Six. And I loved each thrill because it somehow meant to me that I had made it, I was good enough to be treated this way, and my time had come. I was validated. This was my New York and I could do whatever I wanted with it. No matter who it stepped on. Everything and everyone was expendable. Trade up. Move on.


What I didn't realize at the time of course, was that the easily replaced, that relationship with a stamped expiry extended to me.

First access, then excess.

The bitterness, the vacuous nature, the nasty attitudes. The "what can you do for me?" that lurked beyong every BriteSmile. The ugliness found its way in despite my conviction and I slowly but surely began taking it all for granted. It’s true. The scene has a way of changing a person, particularly when all you have is an illusion of acceptance by it. The snapping pictures, the gold-plated parties, the slick veneer of a fa├žade.

You are not one of them. Not quite. Not ever.

7 comments:

Cheetarah1980 said...

So did you get fired? I'm confused. Sounds like the kind of job I would love for five minutes then resent each additional minute.

K said...

No, not fired. Just disallusioned. Feeling empty because of all that glitter not being gold. I think it might have been symptomatic of being in NY at that time, just old enough to get in everywhere and dually pushed to the front of the line...

pookalu said...

i have some stories about "access..." some of which are funny. and it's like anyone's finding of fool's gold.

but you're still here!

Madame DeBarge said...

It's sometimes good not to be on the "inside", especially when the inside is poison.

Anonymous said...

I completely understand this. Everyone in NY is dying to get this experience, but once you are in it, even for a small time, all that excess is a bit sickening. But how cool that you get to experience it, even just a little bit...

Another twentysomething said...

How vicious! No girl can say no to manis, pedis access and booze! I applaud you, though, for being able to step back and question it all, not just disillusioning yourself. I hope you can find a balance between enjoying the perks, but holding onto what's true and solid (good friends, good times and the consistent prescription offered by NCY living)

Anonymous said...

Magazine parties where "lugues spang vodka, "

Translation please?