Monday, September 5, 2011

"You never, never know."

People often ask me, "You've done so many of these interviews. Where do you find all these people?

I have a standard answer to this question but to help me here, I'm going to turn to one of the world's foremost life philosophers. Fans of The Jerky Boys may smile at the above title as they may pick up on one of Mr. Sol Rosenberg's most quoted pearls of wisdom - one that seems appropriate for answering the question about my interview sources.

For example: Several years ago, I needed to get to Newark Airport and had decided mix things up a bit by taking a Super Shuttle instead of using a car service or cab. I usually flew out of LaGuardia but, living on the Upper West Side, Newark was often a good option. The shuttle picked me up at my West 87th Street address and when I entered the van, there were already a few other customers seated. Within a few minutes a couple of us started to chat and one woman (that would be Ms. Gayle Johnson) and I connected right away. By the time we had made it through the Lincoln Tunnel, I was already lost in a great conversation with Gayle and then, once we had hit the NJ Turnpike and she had asked about my occupation - I filled her in about the Eldercation project.

It's funny, very often I get a feeling about wanting to interview a particular individual but there is this moment of truth where I find myself hesitating - being careful not to insult someone regarding their age. Gayle was one of those people because, honestly, I couldn't figure out if she was under or over the age 70 threshold. As the van drove up to the Delta terminal, I knew it was time for a decision. The clock was ticking.

Three weeks later . . . I was sitting in Gayle's beautiful Upper West Side brownstone enjoying her company and learning about what prompted her move from Seattle to New York City many years earlier and how she had come to call New York her home.

So, yes, Sol is correct. You never, never know how a special person is going to enter your life. Go figure. A Super Shuttle ride to the airport?

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