Blog: Trader Joe’s and New City Woes

Taylor Griffin
Taylor Griffin | Lariat Blogger

By Taylor Griffin
Lariat Blogger

NEW YORK – What is it about living in a new city that makes you feel completely inept?

After almost six months of waiting, I finally boarded a plane for New York City last week where I’ll be taking classes with other bright Baylor students as well as interning with NBC’s entertainment publicity department all semester.

Since move-in day, I’ve enjoyed a week of exploring this effervescent city, attending orientation at 30 Rock, remembering the difference between local and express subway trains and catching a showing of “Chicago.” Just within this short time, I’ve learned to adjust, react appropriately and most importantly, where to buy groceries.

This past Monday, I traveled across Manhattan, reusable totes in hand, to Trader Joe’s grocery store on West 72nd in hopes of bringing home my favorite Tanzanian Peaberry coffee. Like every TJ’s I’ve been to across the country, the store was terribly packed with people who also enjoyed the cheap finds and heavenly Speculoos Cookie Butter.

As I waded through the masses like the Everglades for my perfect brew, a fellow shopper rolling a rather large suitcase passed behind me, and turning around, I tripped—nay, flew—over the luggage right in middle of the frozen food section quicker than I could say, “Where’s the coffee grinder?” Of course, as I hit the ground, my flailing limbs made that loud echoing slap noise one often hears when her pride is bruised.

My left cheek lay on the cold linoleum for what seemed an eternity, and the woman who caused my demise stared wide-eyed in my direction, speechless, as were the rest of the 50 or so nearest patrons I had just entertained. A collective gasp among my audience affirmed this amusement as if I would then say, “And for my next trick…”

If that weren’t punishment enough for practically breaststroking through a grocery store, no one came to my or my rolling-away fruits’ rescue. I lifted my skinned knees off the ground and limped away like a champ, quietly dying of embarrassment on the inside.

I could feel my face blushing redder than my strawberry-blonde hair as I thought, “Looks like I’m finding another grocery store.” Needless to say, I left without my Tanzanian Peaberry that day.

If there’s one thing to note, I am a clumsy person normally. I tripped over a mini trampoline this summer and absolutely broke it in half. This clearly is not an isolated occurrence.

In a city this size, it’s a given and normal to fall down a few times, both literal and not. While I can certainly laugh away the pain of my Trader Joe’s mini debacle now, it has since reminded me of the times I fell learning to ride a long board last fall outside the Lariat office. A friend was always there to offer a hand to pick me back up on my feet and start again.

While I’ve made many wonderful friends here thus far, I quickly have learned that in the real world, there won’t always be a hand extended when I fall on my face. Sometimes, I’ll have to brush myself off and keeping on trekking. I’ve always been an independent soul, but even I needed that little reminder.

However, it never, ever hurts to ask for help, especially here. Most New Yorkers are willing to offer a kind word to folks asking for directions. It certainly is an ego boost as a newbie here to be asked such a question.

In all, it’s a tough notion for anyone to keep going when you’re down. It’s natural to delight in our successes such as the chance to study in NYC, but we learn most from our disappointments and shortcomings like seriously face planting in front of frozen quinoa.

New York is not for the faint of heart, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to finally getting my savvy street feet. At least with them, it’s a slim chance I’ll be falling in grocery stores again.

Taylor Griffin is a senior journalism major and minoring in Film and Digital Media from Tyler. She is participating in the Baylor Communication in New York program this fall while interning in the entertainment publicity department at NBC.