8.55am on 14th and 9th
In New York on a humid Monday morning, waiting for the Apple store to open at 9am, I am approached by a well-kempt bearded man who proclaims to like my shoes.
“I’ve always wanted blue suede shoes,” he says. “I want to get married to my fiancee in a pair.”
I tell him they are from Aldo and when he looks blank, tell him there is a branch on fifth avenue. But he has finished with the shoes.
“Can you do something for me?” he asks.
Here comes the pitch.
“Can you Google the opening time for Apple?”
Actually this is marginally funny because the headquarters for Google is right across the street. But there appears to be no indication of intended humour.
Just as I say a time, he has moved on. It’s a stream of consciousness.
He tells me he is fatigued because his fiancee wouldn’t let him sleep. In the next few minutes – minutes that seem to elongate into hours – I discover they have been together for just four months but have known each other for six years. She was once his student when he taught musical improv but is now an investor in his business (he doesn’t quite elaborate on what this may be). Her brother is a convicted fellon who has taught her how to pick locks and last night she put this important life skill to the test by picking the lock of his private space – his home office.
“It sounds like there may be trust issues,” I say to be present.
“Yes. I felt violated. It was what I thought was my space.” The intrusion left him in fear of both his privacy and his safety, hence his inability to sleep.
But she believes in him and has witnessed his many relationships.
“Now she wants to marry me. She knows I’m over that period and I am comfortable with who I am. But I’m not going to marry her unless she trusts me.”
Mercifully the shop opens and we go in. He thanks me for the conversation.
The glowing white button I saw in the lift that morning comes to mind.