I swear it was my shrink who told me I needed to shop.
Like many New Yorkers, I have been in therapy for years. I can see long-term that it’s made me a happier, more confident person, and I enjoy having the support during short-term crises — such as switching careers mid-life.
But if you’re picturing that I walk in to see Dr. Melfi once a week and we talk about condos, it’s not that. So I was kind of surprised when my psychiatrist said, “It sounds like you’re enjoying your new career; you will enjoy it more when you start to reap the financial rewards that go with it.”
So this week, the minute I closed a rental deal, I gave myself permission to shop.
If you’ve been with this column from the beginning, you know that the beginning of my real estate career was inglorious, and I ran up a whole pile o’ debt. When money comes in now, it doesn’t go to new things, it goes to hacking away at the credit cards and the second mortgage.
I bought a new phone, the Blackberry Pearl. I still don’t know how to make it do everything it can do, but I love it. It’s faster than my old phone, and brighter and sounds better.
There had been a point where I considered an iPhone — until I tested one. The touch screen works on heat transfer, which means it’s insensitive to stylus taps — or fingernail taps. I am not Barbra Streisand, but I ain’t cutting my nails for Steve Jobs.
And then, since I had a new phone, I obviously needed a new tote bag to put it in. Bags are hard because Tribeca moms, my preferred clients, have no trouble spending $2,000 a season to have the right bag, and I just can’t keep up. But a knockoff seemed like the worst of both worlds, and, what’s more, most decently stylish, mid-range bags are monstrously heavy.
I ended up going with a Japanese nylon number. It doesn’t quite match the classic profile I am striving for with the rest of my brand, but it has a million little pockets for gadgets, so the new phone has its place and my laser measurer has its place and keys I am using to show have a third place. So at least it’s cutting edge.
And you know what, after spending six hundred bucks on myself I felt better. Markedly better.
So when I went to meet my newest potential client, it was with a song in my heart. I was Cher in “Clueless,” the hip girl who had just been to the mall and got all decked out.
Whether I made my own luck or not I cannot say, but the new client and I got along like a house on fire. He’s a Wall Street guy — a blessed switch after a run of picky lawyers — and he trusts my eye and my judgment. I came across as blithe and laid-back, which are not traits anyone would usually associate with me, but I was so elated by my new toys.
Now this client had already seen one property without me, and if he buys that I don’t know if I’ll get paid, but there are three or four other things worth seeing so I have a 75-80 percent shot. His budget is decent so I’d be looking at a five-figure commission. And, unlike my recent clients who had been taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R, I bet we’ll get this one wrapped up in three months.
And then I can really start to pay off some credit card bills.