Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I had another “Only in New York” experience on the outskirts of Soho on Macdougal. This was my first time getting a document notarized. (I clearly haven’t lived.) The place is called, “Something Special,” and boy is it ever. From the hand-written cardboard sign in the window that says, “Notary Public,” to the somewhat dingy curtains, it’s completely unclear as to what lays inside.

Once I wrenched open the door, I found myself facing the proprietor and his wife, who sit amidst a ramshackle space papered with celebrity autographs (Sarah Jessica Parker, most conspicuously) and discombobulated mailboxes for rent. I find it hard to believe that celebrities frequent this joint, but I suppose even they have their notarization needs. I waited for the owner to finish up a conversation before he nodded in my direction. He instructed me to place my paperwork on a specific square cutout on the counter. I put the letter down and backed away from it slowly.

He asked for ID to check against my signature, which I provided. I’m always afraid of comments on my driver’s license. In actuality, I don’t get comments so much as a chuckle here and there. I look very different now than I did nearly 5 years ago when I had the photo taken—my hair was dyed black and cut far too short because I had just moved to New York and had no idea when I’d find a stylist, so I erred on extra short to buy me time. A dyke look if there ever was one. I eyed him as he perused my picture. He looked up at me. We both had the slightest twist of a grin, but he said nothing. He took out his embossing tool, stamped and signed.

I told him and his wife that the paperwork was for my stolen credit card, which had over $3000 in charges. He said he notarized about three of these forms a week. That’s a lot of fraud! He eyed me and said, “Are you really sure it wasn’t an ex boyfriend…(pause)…or an ex girlfriend?” I was totally pleased that he failed to presume. Perhaps it was my driver’s photo that gave him pause. But pause he did, and I liked that a lot. Kind of reminds me of the time this guy on the subway came up to me and said, “I really like your ring. Is it an engagement ring? Who’s the lucky man or lady?” It’s great to know that there are people out there who don’t always take the status quo for granted—who admit it’s sometimes (and often) difficult to tell what’s going on with someone else, and that you can’t really assume anyone’s preference. Sometimes it takes a notary to get noticed.

Someplace special, indeed. This is one of the great reasons to live in New York.

I rather hope I have to get something notarized again soon.

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