Thursday, October 18, 2007

New friends

"A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject" - Winston Churchill

I saw this quote in the elevator this morning on the way to work, and it has nothing to do with anything. I just admire the way he was able to capture the idea so eloquently and memorably that it sticks with you.

It's been a quiet week so far. My boss is again traveling around the world, and won't be back until after Thanksgiving. However, I did get a couple new projects to keep me busy - a law firm, a pharmaceutical company and a pitch for a media advertising company. Plus I'm still doing some work on the Qatar pitch. But generally it's quiet work that doesn't require a lot of meetings and phone calls.

Last Friday I had dinner with a new friend I met online, a freelance writer named Lori who lives in Queens. We were supposed to meet at the Barnes & Noble store near my office, but she went to a different one further downtown by mistake. Once we finally got together, we went to Marrakesh, a Middle Eastern bistro nearby, then back to the bookstore to shop. When the store closed at 9 p.m. (which is dreadfully early for a B&N), we went back to my office and I gave her the nickel tour. This Friday we're planning to visit the Museum of Modern Art, which I've been meaning to for ages.

I also met another new friend, purely by chance. A couple weeks ago I saw an ad in the paper for high interest rates on certificates of deposit at Wachovia and I decided to put some of my money away to earn more interest. I went to my local Wachovia branch about two blocks down Third Avenue and saw the financial specialist about the CD. Her name was Karina, and she was very helpful - we hit it off well because she is Polish and oddly enough there seems to be a disproportionate number of Poles in my circle of friends. However, nothing happened on that first visit, and I walked out of the bank with my CD, intending to return in six months when it matures.

However, when I tried to sign up for their online banking, I found that Karina had not given me a 4-digit PIN, so I went back on Tuesday and saw her again. Our second visit was very chatty and we found we have a lot in common. She had an invitation to go to an outdoor sculpture opening at lunchtime and asked if I wanted to come, so we took a walk at lunch to 49th and Second, which is a block away from the United Nations building. We watched a Hungarian band play for the opening, then took a walk around the block and saw the UN building, a first for me. She is studying hard for classes and to pass financial exams for work, plus she lives in Westchester, NY, so we probably won't be doing much together other than an occasional lunch, but it was nice to find a friendly, down-to-earth person working nearby in the city.