The path of a model definitely entailed ‘hitting the pavement.’ This was before personal computers or even cell phones were popular. I would call my agency and write down my castings and/or job or jobs for the next day in an agenda book. In preparation for daring the streets of Manhattan, I would locate the castings on my huge fold out map of the city and its subway system before departing. Whether NYC or Paris or Milan, I turned into a regular of public transportation. It was a combination of frugality and desire to be in control. I knew where the subway would let me out, but taxis, or better said, their drivers had minds of their own and you never knew what would happen. But mostly, I didn’t want to waste money on taxi fares.
One sunny fall day my third casting was on the East Side of Forty-second Street. Forty-second Street in 1986 was still Forty-second Street! Peep shows, ladies loitering in stilettos and mini skirts, homeless people, and smatterings of scary men littered its landscape. Walking out of the subway, dressed nicely (as nicely as I could manage), lugging my book, searching for an address I had the pleasure of taking it all in. But the more I took in, the more I felt the pressure of stares or attention my way. It was as if the weight of the debauchery on the street could physically hold me down. I was afraid to continue to my destination and afraid to turn back.
Vowing to take a cab the heck out of this place after the casting, I spotted a police car parked at the curb just ahead of me. I inhaled a few seconds comfort in the car, its lights, and NYPD logo, or better stated, what they represented. A bit of relief washed over me knowing the police were right there. I purposefully glanced in the open window as I passed looking for and expecting additional comfort. The cop, replete in his blue uniform and police hat kind-of smiled at me and stuck his tongue out, flicking it up and down in a lewd gesture that even I understood. So much for being comforted.
Read more in the first edition of SLENDERBREAD magazine. http://www.slenderbreadmag.com