“I had no choice,” I said to my brother.
“Yes, you did,” he answered.
“No, I had to show up,” I retorted.
“No, you didn’t,” he threw back at me.
We were curled up in the warmth of his apartment, the day after the huge blizzard that shut down New York City. I was recounting for him my last few days, and claiming, a bit self-righteously if I’m going to be honest, that I had had no choice in the choices I had made.
But maybe I had had a choice. And if so, why didn’t I say no?
I had had a tough encounter with the blizzard. Picture me, 7am on that Saturday morning, dragging a rolling suitcase up Lafayette Street, in the East Village. A rolling bag that was nearly as big as me, and I’m guessing 40 to 50 lbs. in weight. I was dragging it, and heaving it, and hefting it. I was plowing snow as I walked – or trudged – my way to the subway station four blocks away.
I’m guessing it took me at least twenty or thirty minutes to go those four blocks. Before heading into the subway, I stopped at the blessedly open Starbucks, got a cup of coffee, called my business partner, and cried. It was a tough morning.
I then hefted my dragging bag (I couldn’t roll it in the snow) back to the subway station, down the stairs, and to a stop in Brooklyn where I was meeting my partner. And the two of us then dragged, hefted, carried, and plowed our way down four or five blocks. It took us another thirty minutes or so. The snow was falling so heavily we couldn’t see a block in front of us. But at least this time there were two of us, so we were somewhat laughing (instead of my crying). The few people who passed us on the empty streets laughed at us as well.
So why did I do this? And why did I think I had no choice?
I did it because we had a client engagement, and they weren’t going to cancel. They were all in easy walking distance from our meeting place – easy even in the over two feet of snow. If they weren’t going to cancel, then we weren’t going to cancel. And if my partner was going to make it, then I was not going to leave her alone. I was going to make it too.
Now, circumstances were insane and unusual in that I had such a heavy bag, but that wasn’t going to stop me. Apparently nothing was going to stop me. The fact that I got stuck in New York City for the weekend (that’s how I ended up at my brother’s) wasn’t going to stop me.
Because, I guess, I’m dedicated. And maybe a little bit crazy.
I wasn’t willing to let our clients down. We had promised and we were sticking to it. And I wasn’t willing to let my partner down. I would never not show up for her, unless I absolutely physically couldn’t.
But those were choices. Choices I’m glad I made, even with the crying. Even with the dragging and plowing. Even with getting stuck in New York City and crashing on people’s couches.
But they were choices. Choices I’d make again.
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