Tonight after my run, I was walking around with my headphones in, and I came to the corner of 89th and Broadway. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw an older lady flagging me down. I stopped and greeted her. She asked me to help her across 89th street because "all of the curbs are beaten to shreds" (which is true, none of the curbs/ramps are in good shape). She took my arm, and we began to walk.
We crossed the street, and she said that she would just hold onto the scaffolding from that point on, but I insisted that I walk her all the way home (it was only one block more, not out of my way, and the scaffolding was going to end halfway down the block which would not have been good for her).
So we continued to walk and I began to get to know this amazing, storied lady named Anne. After asking me about my profession, she told me that she is a musician by profession; she plays the violin, viola, and all of the keyboard instruments. She spent 15 years as the principal violist for the Frank Sinatra Orchestra and traveled all over the world with him. They were friends! She was a player in the New York Philharmonic and was a family friend of Leonard Bernstein (whom she affectionately called "Lenny" as I'm sure his friends did). She has played on the Tonight Show with Jack Parr and has played on David Letterman's show. She knew those guys personally.
When Anne gets bored, she looks at words and makes anagrams from them. She once made 29 words from the word "philharmonic" in her head with no pencil or paper. She recalled a time when one particular conductor she worked with conducted Mahler, "It was so boring; he had no heart for it. Some people would dig their toes into the ground to keep from falling asleep. I just did anagrams."
"I did my work, did my homework, I've traveled all over the world. You know the only place I haven't been, the one place? The North Pole, but I figure I can just go to Macy's to see Santa Clause" she said. Anne is very witty and charming, and she "doesn't like old people." She said, "I don't want to need help because I don't want to annoy people as much as they annoy me!" She was awesome and hysterical.
I took her all the way to the door of her building where her doorman helped her inside. She said, "Well you know where I live and you're in the neighborhood, so if you ever want to stop by, just ask for Anne." I said I would, and I think I will.