New York is always full of surprises. Sometimes it feels as if the city conspires to create encounters that outwardly look like chance, but are truly fated. I was supposed to do a million other things this Saturday morning: go to my out-of-town dentist to get “crowned;” leave the city early to surprise my mom for Mother’s Day; sleep. All plans were put on hold when I read this piece in the Times. As a seriously devoted (from issue 1) Domino magazine reader, I was game for an early wake up call and a morning of standing in line. My design-savvy Brooklyn friend and her theatrical set designer-friend were also up for a Saturday morning tag sale. As the Downtown resident, I was enlisted to report to the location on w. 9th street at 8:30a the next morning.
I arrived at the sale at 9 (come on, it’s the WEEKEND!), the line wasn’t too bad and, as it edged closer to 10a, I kept checking the growing queue of people behind me looking for my Brooklyn friends. It was then that I recognized a face in the crowd. Someone I’d exchanged emails with in hopes of collaborating on a book project. We’d never met, but a few days prior, I had had a conversation about them with my mom, bemoaning the fact that, no matter how great email is, there’s nothing like meeting someone in person to talk business, especially if they don’t know you. There’s simply a connection you need to have face-to-face that email cannot offer. My mom is of the school of “persistence = results.” She thought I wasn’t being persistent enough, which, I tend to agree with, but there’s a fine line between persistence and stalkerdom. I ended the conversation by telling my mom I thought I would just somehow run into them. “Ok, so your plan is to just run into them on the island of Manhattan, an island populated by over a million people?” she asked. Yup, that was the general idea. My mom sighed and hung up the phone, but not before repeating her most favorite mantra to me, “Stop standing on ceremony.”
With my mom’s phrase in mind, and seeing my email buddy a mere 20 feet away, (ha! Told you so, Mom!) I had some ladies hold my place in line while I walked back to my email friend and introduced myself. I was met with a warm embrace and a total “holy shit, what are you doing here/how cool is this?” response. We made our way up to my place in the line and talked for a half an hour before my friends showed up. Then, we all spent the next hour talking, laughing, sharing theater reviews, movie stories and design ideas while we waited.
Once inside, the items were mostly picked over (though I was able to find a really cool, adjustable curtain rod that will look fabulous with the new curtains I bought for my living room) There were also tons of great textiles, but it was hard to judge just how much fabric was on the bolt. A lot of the good stuff had already been purchased, but it was fun to look through what remained and recognize things from the magazine’s photo spreads.
My Brooklyn friends were in and out of the sale in record time, acquiring some impressive loot before heading back to their borough. My email buddy and I stood outside, still marveling over our chance encounter and commenting on how our meeting and subsequent conversation was even better than the sale. We made a promise to get together and talk about said project in the coming weeks. As I walked back to my apartment, curtain rod in tow, I realized how fate intervenes just when you need it to and sometimes, standing on ceremony isn’t a bad thing, especially if you’re standing in a line with a million other New Yorkers.