It must be time for a serious spring cleaning or, at the very least, a makeover.
I was thoroughly humiliated and “dissed” twice in one week, and, to borrow a line from the kids, I didn’t even do anything! It all began on Monday evening, when the Apollo Theater hosted its annual spring gala. Honoree Chaka Khan was inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame to celebrate her 40th anniversary in the music industry. The honor is well deserved. Khan is multi-generational; from “Sweet Thing” to “I Feel for You,” she is a stellar performer and has rocked the house throughout the ages. But back to the Apollo…
The customary media alerts were sent out, and I received them. The first alert was to notify the media of time, date and place of the event and the litany of stars who would be attending. The second alert that I received asked for a confirmation of attendance in order for the media to cover the event. Upon receipt, I replied that yes, I would attend.
Fast forward to the night of the event. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the press entrance only to be ceremoniously denied entrance. But wait! The gentleman at the door was kind enough to go upstairs and check with his superior, as surely there must have been a mistake as to why my name was not on the list. Apologetically, he returned to tell me, sorry, no can do.
Now mind you, I did not request to come to this event. The email requesting confirmation of my attendance was sent to me. OK, so maybe it was sent in error and they didn’t really mean to invite me. After all, oversights do happen. However, according to the school of diplomacy and manners from which I graduated, upon receiving my email response the proper thing to do would have been to send a return email that would say something to the effect of, “We’re overbooked for the event and, due to space, we cannot accommodate another person.” Even an email stating, “The email requiring your confirmation to the event was sent in error. Therefore, we apologetically have to retract the invitation.” To have me come out in a torrential rainstorm and then deny my entrance was totally unacceptable and bad manners, to say the least.
To add the icing to this cake, I was not dressed in rubber boots and a fisherman’s raincoat. I was dressed to the nines, as it was my way of spicing up the joint. Additionally, I believe that if a hostess goes through the trouble of hosting an event, guests should come dressed appropriately. Meanwhile, another young lady went rushing in past me. She must have represented the Bohemia Times, because she was dressed like a refugee who just got off of the boat. I only imagined looking down to see her wearing flip-flops. Nonetheless, her name was on the list, and she was ushered upstairs. I would love to read her review, as I can’t imagine what kind of depth and insight she has to offer about Khan or any of the other performers (like Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu) but that’s another story.
Not being one to cause a scene or demand to see the boss, I left. Amidst my disappointment–not to mention embarrassment, as it made me feel like I was a party crasher–I couldn’t help but think one thing. It’s not about me per se, but here I am representing the New York Amsterdam News, and this is the Apollo Theater, two of the country’s longstanding institutions. Both establishments are located right around the corner from each other. Where’s the sisterhood? Where’s the camaraderie? Where’s the professional courtesy? Obviously, there is none, because under the circumstances, I, or any other person in my position, should have been granted admission. Period. In short, as much as I would like to have reported on all of the evening’s tidbits that I know you love to read about, I can’t, because they wouldn’t let me in. Boo hoo.
The second event of the week occurred right out of the blue. After completing a series of errands in preparation for Julia to start day camp next week, it was noontime, and I suggested we go to Ollie’s on Broadway and 116th Street for lunch. As always, parking was a nightmare, but we were lucky enough to find a spot between two cars that were permissibly double parked on 114th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive. We parked, we ate and we returned 10 minutes before the time was up, something I am very conscious about for two reasons: one, I don’t want to get a ticket, because once time is up, you are considered illegally double parked and will get a ticket; and two, I don’t want to block anyone in once time is up. Again, imagine my surprise when, as I approached my car with my child, this wild man comes running up to me, screaming profanities about how dare I lock his car in by double parking and asking, didn’t I see the note on his car stating, “Don’t block me in”? Whoa.
Now that he was in my face, my reply was that I had listened to him speak, so now he must listen to me (isn’t that what they teach in conflict resolution?). I pointed out the obvious: that the deal when it comes to alternate side-of-the-street parking is you either plan to be locked in or move your car before the rule goes into effect. Did he listen? No. Did he care? No. He just proceeded to continue using profanities, calling me all types of names, ranting like a maniac and threatening that if I ever did it again, he would damage my car.
Here is the really bad part. I began to engage in a verbal battle with him, and for that, I am terribly ashamed. It set a very bad example for my daughter. There’s also the fact that in today’s world, this guy could have really gone ballistic and pulled out a high-powered rifle received straight from the front lines in Afghanistan via UPS and blown me away. Furthermore, it was completely out of character for me to be sucked into this low-level behavior.
Upon reflection, I believe the proper thing for me to have done would be to take down his license plate number, snap a photo of him in his maniacal rage and drive off without ever having said a word. Can I ever be forgiven for not letting a cooler head prevail?
Until next week … kisses