Times Square is a busy place. I know that for sure because I went through there four different times today: 8:20am, 1:35pm, 5:30pm and 8:10pm. Each time, I felt nearly overwhelmed by the lights and signs and sheer the number of people, walking, milling, working, posing, and directing others to do the same. “If it’s so busy and horrible, then why did you go there so many times, my friend?” you ask. Well, it was rather unavoidable today. I went to visit the last of my classrooms, the only one I hadn’t seen yet because their Week 0 meeting took place at the same time I was in a Week 0 meeting at another site, almost exactly a mile away. I think most of my sites would fit on a circle about a mile in diameter. I’m getting my steps in, that’s for sure. The classroom itself is located in the Viacom building in Times Square, twelfth floor, nice view to the west (away from the Square).
Once you get past the revolving doors, the environment gets a lot quieter.
You take an escalator (or the stairs if you prefer) to the second floor lobby and security. Today, I got stuck at security – my name wasn’t on the list. If you’re not on the list, you’re not getting in, at least until someone comes and vouches for you. This has happened to me at a number of sites. I kind of expect it now. First, the phone calls start, usually from the security desk. When those don’t work I try email. I usually “reply all” to the most recent email response to my request to get on the list. When I can, I make the request 24 hours in advance. Frequently the job of getting me on the list is delegated, so the email CC list flows downhill scooping people up along the way. If I had stuck to my original plan, getting there at 9am, emailing probably would’ve worked – people are in their offices around 9. But nope. Plan, what plan?
In my request, I said I’d be there around 9 am, but later in the day, this happened:
Teacher: Hey Joe! Just wanted to ask when we should be expecting you tomorrow?
Me: Anytime and all the time. I move like the wind. Uh, a little before 9?
Teacher: Yea before students get there would be ideal. Like 8:30ish
Me: Will do. I’ll have to get up early to do my hair.
The key phrase in there is this: “before students get there would be ideal”, which I took to mean “we need to talk”. It’s teacherese. (I try to make up at least one word in every post. See if you can find them. Just kidding. I don’t really do that, but it kind of works out that way. Shakespeare did it. Just saying.) So, I found myself going through Time Square at 8:20, rather than 8:50. That half hour made a difference, because no one was in their office yet. On to plan C: texting. I texted the teacher, and she came down to get me.
In order to avoid this problem in the future, and, secretly to reserve the possibility of popping in on a class should I need to, I am getting a security badge for that building tomorrow. That will make four security badges for six sites. If I need to, I can lean on the other two sites – they’ve already said yes, but we haven’t arranged to get the badges made. I must say, I feel like a spy with all these IDs. It’s actually kind of tricky to keep them straight. Eef dees eez sixt avenue, den I moost be in Paris. (Google had only two spell check errors in that sentence. WordPress flags five. )
Once I got upstairs, I discovered that the staid lobby belied the colorful interior. When you step off the elevator (These are still the old-fashioned kind with buttons in the car, not destination dispatch. They don’t need DD because they have banks of six elevators for about every 15 floors – like eighteen elevators in all.), it’s all color. The twelfth floor had glass doors with huge decals showing scenes from Viacom movies. I recognized Grease, and I think Trading Places. A movie buff would do better. Anyway, the inside was the closest I’ve seen of a large corporation looking like a start up.
You are going to want to know, so their concerns were nothing too serious – they wanted to know how to deal with a student who is pretty distracted. There are some other things going on there that I will keep my eye on, though. My spidey-senses said “Hmmmm…” I need to see if there are patterns. Today may have been an off day, since was a bunch of planning going on for the Meet and Greet tonight that may have thrown things off a bit.
After lunch, I went to another site in its Week 1 to see how they are doing, which is quite well. Then I headed back to Viacom for the Meet and Greet. It was really nice. The girls are going to get a behind the scenes tour of “The Daily Show” on Friday. I, on the other hand, will be with a different class, where one of the girls will ring the bell to close the New York Stock Exchange for the week. Field trips are one of the percs. 🙂