Rachel Pink - amazed by the lives of the coffee cart guys, farmer's market vendors, and the people I ride the bus with every day.
  • Rachel Pink - amazed by the lives of the coffee cart guys, farmer's market vendors, and the people I ride the bus with every day.

My blog, Rachelpink Rides the Bus, started as a lark over a long weekend. At first it was an exercise in self-restraint. I thought I was talking too much, talking all the time. I figured if I wrote about what happened every day I'd be less inclined to talk about it.

What I write about is my life as a 30-year-old book publicist living in Manhattan with my freelance writer boyfriend. I grew up on Long Island, just an hour or so from NYC. Proximity did not dampen the mystery of the city and from the first moment I moved here, into a disorganized apartment share in Brooklyn, I've spent each day at least a little amazed by the lives of the coffee cart guys, farmer's market vendors, and the people I ride the bus with every day.


Like every other Monday everyone's tired and cranky and longing for a few more hours of Sunday. My bus driver races down Houston St. and the man standing over me threatens to up-end his coffee onto my knitting. And that will not do. I'm working on a hat, a fruit hat for Delaney, my little niece. I've chosen a soft, breezy cotton because Delaney, along with her brother, my spectacular four-year-old nephew Donovan, is moving to Florida soon. The move is breaking my heart. The fruit hat helps a little.

The wobbly coffee holder gets off and I'm pleased, delighted even, that my blackberry in the making has not been corrupted. I've been knitting on the bus now for six months or more without incident. Only once did anyone even notice my knitting. That time the fascinated man looked down at my needles and yarn. "That's nice," he said. "Did you ever make, you know, like a big sheet?" I said no. He started to go, but before he departed he told me to keep doing what I was doing. "That sewing, that's nice. That's nice to do."

Knitting prepares me for work, calms me down, pushes my blood pressure into the nonthreatening range. I'm a book publicist, not a brain surgeon, but even with the help of modern anxiety medicine I'm a bit of a stress case. I was supposed to be a professor by now, or at least an almost-professor finishing up a book on the use of snuff in the 17th Century or editing an anthology of littleknown women diarists. But I left my professorly hopes at Brown, grab-handing what I could of my sanity, and now I publicize other people's books. Sometimes the books are good, sometimes they're not. For book publicists, it matters only so much. My schedule ranges from severe to impossible, leaving me little time to read the books, much less grade them as good or bad or something in-between. I rely on jacket copy and catalogs to tell me what to think and do. It's not how I like to work, and it needs to change. Books mean too much to me, and I can't keep treating them like this.

But I digress.

Did I mention that this seemingly unremarkable Monday is actually a bit of a milestone? That it's the last Monday I'll come to work for this company, this job? I've already notified my authors, sent out hundreds of review copies, and hastily written four or five press releases since I gave notice. I told my coffee guy that the end was near. He offered me a free jelly stick.

This week I will pack up the office, have celebratory two-cocktail lunches, and finish my exhausting FAQ for the new publicist. I'm leaving my job because I've been working too hard and staying until 9 and spending more time with Bude the cleaning lady than with Chuck the boyfriend. It's the right decision but not an easy decision. I will miss my brilliant, clever editor friends. I will miss running out of the office at 6:30 p.m. for the $3 hot chocolate at the Jacques Torres chocolate shop across the street. I will miss the camaraderie that comes from working too hard and caring too much.

OK, that's all for now. I'm getting sappy and self-involved. So let's end on a light note.

I had a dream last night, fueled by a cocktail of Tylenol PM and a glass of diet ginger ale. It was a long and intense dream about a zombie invasion. I survived. And I had to worry about more than the flesh-eating zombie-fiends because even inanimate objects were possessed by the zombie spirit. As the dream closed I was holed up with some friends in an abandoned toolshed. With increasing ferocity I was being attacked by a roll of Scotch tape. I screamed to everyone: "BE NICE TO THE TAPE. IT WILL STOP ATTACKING IF YOU'RE NICE TO IT." I started to coo at the tape, to tell it what a good job it was doing. I said it was pretty and round and a good fighter. The attack lessened, the tape dropped to the floor and rolled off.

Let's all be nice to our zombies today and see what happens.

Rachelpink Rides the Bus: rachelpink.typepad.com/rachelpinkridesthebus/

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