3Q 2010 Summary
Ever so often, I try to take inventory and assess what I have and haven’t done. Sometimes we live in a vacuum and can allow ourselves to fly too high or dwell in the doldrums for far too long — failing to realize things can easily go from good to bad in a blink of an eye and conversely, things are usually not as bad as they may seem when we have trials.
That is a good introduction to my summer of 2010 (aka 3rd Quarter). It was one of the worst, if not THE worst of my life. But through it all, I have to remember that some transitions have been made that have been life-changing, especially over the final 30 days of 3Q; with a good 10 days remaining as I write this.
This entire year has been full of Flozell Adams-level false starts, false hopes and progress and deep retrograde motions. The year began innocuous enough, I will say say that much. My early optimism was being dashed quickly. If you remember, I wrote back in January/early February about how January was not doing much to quell my concerns that rounded out the final part of 2009.
While January was abysmal, near the end of it, I met someone who really did change my life in a short period of time (and shall remain nameless). February was a complete 180, as I was finally able to secure monies that were due to me and began spending copious amounts of time talking to, getting to know and hanging out with the aforementioned lady. She was good money and definitely, amongst other things, introduced me to a different perspective on things going on in my very on life. And if I say someone’s good money (which I rarely have the pleasure of doing these days), that means you’re one of the true blue good ones.
March came, and while some of January’s frustrations began to creep back in, my birthday this year might have been the best on record. We spent a lot of time out in Jersey just getting away from the hectic, stress-filled lives we lived over on this side of PCB River.
I had been doing what I could since I moved back to New York to get back to Harlem, because it is the center of everything for me as most of you who know me already realize. Along with the Bronx and the Heights (a couple of true friends who have held me down), almost all of my family and friends live uptown, so it was logical for me to want to be back here, instead of Staten Island. I appreciate my aunt helping me a great deal; well beyond what was originally planned, but being on The Rock out there just compounded my frustrations and by early April, they were cresting again.
I began with Rapid Realty that month and I was full of optimism. I had finally gotten back to working my Real Estate background. I was looking forward to getting out there and doing the rental side of things. I had a mentor who I came under (no homo) back in 2000, but that was in sales. So while I know the New York real estate market intimately (can tell you some occurrences from the 1990s that would make you downright indignant and similarly convinced that “The Powers That Be” are REAL), it was a shock to the system to find out how agents were compensated there. That was a major adjustment. But I will say that my experience with Rapid thus far has been overall pretty good. My clients haven’t been A+ clients, but we’re all feeling the pinch, so I always played it straight with them, being a stand-up agent, honest and forthcoming with information, because I wouldn’t want to be misled. My first client was my then-friend’s sister. Probably the best-case scenario for me, because I learned EARLY ON that the majority of the problems most agents face in the rental market were going to be involving getting keys and making sure access to buildings was even possible. Had it been a total blind client, I would’ve been immediately discouraged from rentals. FOR LIFE. However, I should’ve seen the writing on the wall from that first appointment.
Things only got worse when it came to chasing keys, getting clients to maintain or cancel appointments in a courteous manner, etc. All of this before you address the fact that there is such a dearth of income and saved capital for most people in New York to use toward the cost of covering a lease. AND BOY did it show this summer.
May was (as it turned out — optimistic me refuse to think so, naturally) the beginning of the worst 4-5 month stretch I can recall — aside from the Erythrodermic Psoriasis years of 1994-1997 in high school, which were only made worse because I wasn’t allowed to go to LaG, Talent Unlimited or even at the very least Manhattan Center. But I digress. I want you to have perspective of how bad this summer was. I graded it an F- EASILY.
I had been fighting for months for monies that were owed to me. As the claimant, I was due five figures (no joke) and after deliberations, two hearings, several appeals and two Attorney Generals getting involved, they “settled” on a fraction (25%) of what was due to me. Typical. And it did not remedy things for me. Now was high time to begin applying to and planning for Masters programs for this fall. I had to allot funds for that, pay a boatload of people off and still find a way to survive all summer while hustling apartments in 95 degree/75% humidity all summer.
Memorial Day was a snoozefest.
June came and went so quickly I barely even remember what happened except I didn’t get a single deal closed, despite going on over 20 appointments and running from Harlem World out to Brooklyn 2-3 times per week. The only thing I accomplished in June (if you want to call it that) was lose about 10 lbs from walking 6-8 miles per day in that heat. Ten pounds that I don’t even WANT to lose to begin with, since I want to get back to the 210 that I had been at in 2009 and just work on being brolic since I’m over 30 now.
July was the worst. I took 11 steps back to my teenage years (opening the first Champ’s Sporting Goods stores at 23rd/8th, 42, DYCKMAN back in the 90s) and went back to macy’s. BAD MOVE. I quit in a way that would have made Pat Riley (Heat) and Bill Belichick (Jets) blush. I had had enough for the entire last week that I was there, and by that Saturday that I quit, I snapped. I didn’t release on anyone, but the BS that goes on behind the scenes at Herald Square Flagship (anyone who has worked there knows what I mean — as dozens of people do what I did every summer) was enough to make anyone quit. I worked one hour into my shift and left the sales floor, didn’t say a word to anyone and walked up to 42, caught the 1 up to Riverside and chilled in the park until it got dark. Naturally I left my supersonic SkullCandy headphones sitting right on the bench at 145th and didn’t realize it until I was darn near at 168th. FAIL.
August seemed to be transition in the right direction. But something had been sticking in my craw all summer. The aforementioned young lady had begun to drift away. I saw her less and less as summer wore on. I hadn’t done anything, and in the interest of decency, I won’t put any of her business out there since we no longer converse. But while things appeared to at least be working in my favor by the 2nd week of August, things became increasingly tense on that end and by the final week of the month, well… you get the picture.
However, I finally completed the major part of moving back uptown and was set to begin my Masters in the fall as well.
All seemed in line until the funny business began again. I always ask this, or rather REMARK about this — it is funny how you can owe someone money, and they want it YESTERDAY, but they (whether it be a school, government agency, an employer, other associates/friends, clients — or in my case — ALL OF THE ABOVE; NO JOKE) can owe you and take forever to get it to you. Never mind they’re putting your livelihood at risk. I have three government agencies that owe me money, a couple of people who I’ve done work for (meanwhile I have to pay a friend back myself, so I’m tight about that), my school has billed me thrice, but hasn’t given me a dime of the money I am owed, I’ve done security work this month and haven’t gotten paid — 16 days and counting… you get the picture.
I wanted to move into my own crib a while back. Thanks to one of the few true friends I have left, I had a safety net in Quisqueyaland, but these people acting funny with my money, along with all the other stressors I have (finding a new job, STILL working with real estate clients when I’m not asleep or in class), etc. isn’t making things easier for me right now. I have a couple of friends who have moved to the tri-state recently. Welcome to you guys. One who I am really hoping will catch her big break very soon. I’m probably gonna head over to Hamilton Place or something around City College or up on Sugar Hill. I can do what I need to do in the Heights, I’m in my other main hangout area in Harlem other than the Block and I can get to the Bronx easily from there. I’ll be good money, provided I GET MY MONEY, that is.
I just want to wrap this year up strongly. I have high hopes for 4Q 0’10, because the latter part of 3Q, while frustrating, set a multitude of potentially fruitful endeavors and missions in motion. It would be nice to finish the year in my own crib, a third of the way home with this Masters, OFF COMMISSION-BASIS and working full-time again (while still doing real estate and non-profit work), helping my friend with her business, helping another friend break into the industry and of course going to a couple more Giants games as well. But first thing’s first.
I’m going to have more to write about by the end of this month, because I feel it in my spirit that these next 10 days are going to be a whirlwind, and for ONCE in the past five years, it’s going to be positive.
I’m strapped in and ready to go, but beyond all the false starts, the thing that continues to nag me daily is the friendship that I lost. Finally, someone who I had a real connection with and I lose her over a misunderstanding.
Dear GOD can I have my life back, where I truly had the Midas Touch? These past few years have been as perfect of an antithesis to the first 25, 26 years of my life (apart from high school, naturally) as you can be.
The one thing that keeps me sane and rooted through all this is 1) the fact that I know there are several lessons and purposes for my going through these things, 2) I am not alone, there are dozens of people who I know right here in New York alone who are going through similar things, 3) People are watching how I am handling these things (not the best, admittedly — and AWFUL at times), 4) I am not a quitter and I know that once I come out on the other side, the appreciation for my trials will keep me humble for life, while 5) putting me in the unique position to TRULY be able to relate to whoever I come into contact with: poor/homeless, rich, middle class, student, entrepreneur, lawyers, athletes, musicians, realtors, insurance agents, financial services representatives, public assistance survivors, public housing residents, midtown bankers and the such like — all of whom I’ve either worked alongside professionally in the past, will work with in the near future, or can relate to as a result of all the things I have endured since March 2006. I am appreciative, despite my fits at times. But a lesser man would have offed himself (and probably his family, as we have known some to do) or offed someone else, maybe gulped rat poison in the process, or just hitchhiked through Canada.
But I’m no quitter and I arise every day with the hopes that SOMETHING will break in my favor. Better to be prepared than to be ill-prepared when God DOES move, right?