broadsideblog

If you ever need a cab in the rain, I’m your girl

In beauty, behavior, design, domestic life, life on January 3, 2012 at 12:47 am
color wheel

Image by unleashingmephotography via Flickr

It takes some serious cojones to nab a cab in Manhattan.

First, you have to know which cabs are actually willing to pick up a passenger — forget anywhere near 4:30 — you, know when people actually need a cab — because as locals know, that’s when they all change shifts and you, ‘o hapless tourist laden with shopping bags, are SOL.

But how do you attract their attention in the first place?

Using one of my three hidden talents, the ability to whistle really loudly using two fingers and a curled tongue. While amateurs waggle their fingers hopefully, and the rest fling out their elbows and sprint, I can stop a cab half a block away, in the rain. I rock!

My other hidden talents?

At any time of day or night I can tell you what time it is, within 20 minutes. It doesn’t always work, but it’s reliable enough.

I can remember a color exactly enough to feel completely confident buying clothes, accessories, paint and decor and knowing they’ll match what I already own. In Thailand, I happily bought ten yards of raw silk (for a staggering $10/yard) the color of a glacial lake, and it worked nicely at home in my New York apartment.

In the 1990s, planning to become an interior designer and leave journalism, I studied at the New York School of Interior Design. I loved my classes, (except for drafting), and one of my greatest accomplishments was getting an A in my color class. It was taught by a ferocious Swiss woman, whose high standards terrified even the wealthiest Connecticut housewives in our class. We learned to mix color from the ground up, painting tiny box after tiny box until we began to memorize the subtleties involved.

What are your hidden talents?

  1. When staying for 5 weeks in China I discovered that my hidden talent was being able to eat whatever food I was offered and then tell my other American friends whether it was worth trying or not. I became a guinea pig for any bizarre concoctions that our Chinese friends tried to throw at us. It got me into some trouble a few times, but I will have to say I learned a great deal about Chinese cuisine.

  2. This is interesting because I’ve been struggling with trying to find out what talents I have and how to maximize them. Its a combination of age, unemployment and boredom. I need to find my own fulfillment.

    • The standard trick is to think about what you LOVE to do….and would do all day even if no one paid you. (Playing video games or watching TV don’t count.)

      When I considered leaving journalism, and couldn’t imagine anything else, I realized that my idea of the most fun is (and still is) rearranging and designing my apartment, whether choosing a wall color, carpets, moving furniture, making it lovely and efficient. Plus I love antiques and design, draw well and know how to sell. That all added up to a fairly clear direction….which I ended up not taking! (yet)

      I had always dreamed of being paid to do public speaking but could never figure out how to make it happen…my new book has opened that door for me. The route to using your talents might not be direct.

  3. I can pick up a rock, whirl, and more than likely hit my target. Discovered this at nine when I hit a kid between the eyes from about a hundred feet. Jeez – this talent has gotten me into trouble!

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