“student ID please”
“I’m actually not a student but I have my drivers’ permit” (please ignore the “NOT VALID FOR ID” in the middle) I replied. They couldn’t get over it. “But you look like a student you just blend right in!” I do work for an educational nonprofit that serves the Columbia community, but in the throngs of backpacks, smartphones, iPads and iPods and lunches and homework, I wasn’t a student. I love assuming roles and blending into a crowd I don’t belong to sometimes just to “see what it’s like.” In this scenario, that would be a Columbia University student, a college student-cum member of this elitist upper-crust society- or just a smart kid with $200,000 debt.
I think it all started when I was sitting in an ER on a Friday morning this past January, waiting to get four stitches on my finger (casualty to chopping Romaine lettuce. I swear by the pre-cut packaging now). All the doctors were casually having their coffees, danishes and morning gossip until a Code Blue flashed, and it almost seemed as if it was in the same announcement the secretary was asking for her stapler back. The doctor doing rounds to ask patients if they were victims of domestic violence came back to me (uh did she think I was lying?!) to compliment my glasses and decipher my Tzahal sweatshirt before reluctantly moving on. I decided there’s much more going on than flashing amblances and people hopping out on crutches, and added being an ER doctor or something similar somewhere on my to-do list. (I’ve added piloting a commercial jetliner, running a Fortune 500 company and being Mayor of a town since).
Anyways, I was doing a favor and taking my boss’s 9-year-old to school this morning in Manhattan when instead of quiet residential West End Avenue I accidentally turned down Amsterdam. I couldn’t help notice all the businessmen in suits and ties, standing on the sidewalk, all holding white coffee cups. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but usually the only time you see businessmen not running to work or glued to their crackBerries are Starbucks or the subway. Come to think of it, they order coffee while talking on the phone and look busy even while riding the subway, too.
I was starting to wonder what was going on when I saw what was apparently the director giving the “businessmen” instructions – ahh, a commercial set! I asked a group of guys wearing shorts, flip-flops and pencils behind their ears. Its a segment for Fox TV airing Monday. Hmm. I wish I could join in! I snapped a picture on my iPhone and moved on, but I couldn’t help looking back- those guys were actors?! They dressed the part pretty freakin’ well, I guess. Goldman & Sach, Deloitte & Touché, Price Waterhouse Cooper…and heck, they were just actors blending in. Well they did that well I guess!
I read an article recently that stated it is well known among actors that sometimes they “become” their roles and the personalities they take on. I love dropping into other cool lifestyles I want to try but I guess at the end of the day you take a picture, save the memory and move on, experiencing life and the many adventures that follow me as myself.