Monday, November 12, 2012

New York, New York

Remember that I wrote most of this the day I got back from New York, so some of the info is old.

I want to tell you about my trip to New York. I gave a lecture to the New York AGD last Sunday. I was so excited about going to the greatest city on Earth. I asked a bunch of people in the know about where I should go to eat. More than one person that told me I should eat at Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn, so I thought I would treat myself to an awesome steak dinner.

I called to make reservations. On the fifth try, they answered. I told him I needed a reservation for Saturday night. He chuckled and informed me that if I wanted to eat at his restaurant I would have to call six weeks in advance. Oh. That totally took the wind out of my sails.

I got into La Guardia at about 5:00. Then realized I didn't know a thing about where I was and I was uncomfortable. I got in a taxi and I told him the address of the hotel. On TV, you can tell the driver that you’re going to 25th and 8th, and the taxi cab pulls away. But in real life, you give the driver the address and he asks you where that is.

I gave him the name of the hotel I was staying in, and he looked at me like I was an alien. I had to look up the directions on my phone. "My phone says to take a right in .3 miles." Welcome to New York.

I got to the hotel just in time to see the second half of the Gators game. We lost and that put me in a foul mood. I decided to venture out. There were plenty of sports on; I could go have a beer and watch someone else lose. I asked the young lady at the front desk for a sports bar that was close, but she had no idea. I googled "Sports Bar, Queens," in my phone and Yelp came up with about 10. It is awesome because it lists the closest to the farthest and rates them.

I decided to go to the one that was closest. It was 3.2 miles away and it got 3.5 stars. The driver came into the hotel, paid the young lady for calling him, and we drove away. We drove and drove and drove. I started to freak out. I told him that my said it was only 3.2 miles away. Then I realized he didn't speak English. But he did manage to tell me that he knew where the place was. We did finally get there and the fare was $25. Yeah, only in New York would it cost $25 to go 3.2 miles.

One thing I have learned about New York is that they jam a lot of things in small spaces. This restaurant was about 1,800 square feet. There is a bar on the left, a walkway not wide enough for one person, and high-top tables on the right that are barely big enough for two. They must have five TVs. I ordered the A--hole Burger (if something like this is one the menu, you almost have to order it). After dinner and a couple beers, I still felt like crap about my game so I went back to the hotel. I took a taxi and it $25 again. I guess the first guy didn't stick it to me. That is just the way it is.

The next morning, I was to meet the executive director of the NYAGD at 6:30. I got there 90 minutes early to set up and make sure all AV issues were taken care of. It took me seven minutes to set up, so I was 83 minutes early.

I am kind of new to this and I am still very nervous when I speak. Usually I get a lot of energy from the audience. When the audience is into it, I can relax and take a deep breath. The audience in New York was very different. They were a mix of many ethnic people. Maybe their customs are different or maybe they just are not big talkers. I usually try to start my lecture by asking the audience some questions to get to know them. When I asked a couple of questions and no one answered, I knew I was in trouble.

I have heard that this doesn't mean that they didn't like it but that they are just not very vocal. But I was starting to think I was bombing. I started to feel like a comedian that wasn't funny. I continued to ask questions, but I got nothing. I made jokes, but no on laughed. I started looking for the gong. I leave time in my lecture for discussion. Guess what. No discussion. The lecture ended way short of its intended time.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed my time there. I was honored that they took a chance on a new speaker like myself. But I wanted everyone (or at least someone) to like it. The worst thing was that my sponsor was there. When everyone left the room, it was me and two big wigs from the company. They just kind of smiled. Theirs smiles seemed to say, "You just bombed up there and we had to pay for it." We chatted for 15 minutes, but all I could think of was that they were just being nice to me and couldn’t wait to get out of there. This is a terrible feeling to have.

This feeling is hard to shake. The high I feel when I think I knocked it out of the park (like at the FNDC) equals the low I feel when I suck it up. I spent the next week wondering if I want to continue this lecture thing. If it is going to go like this, I don't think I can take it.

But who knows? Maybe they liked it. Maybe they were just quiet people. This was a very tough weekend. The Gators lost and I was almost was gonged out of New York.

Hope your weekend was better than my last weekend.



Claudia Anderson said...

I loved this made me laugh and it made my heart ache for you at your speaking engagement. I am thinking that, as you continue to grow in your speaking adventures, you will, indeed, find that there will be huge differences in the audience relative to location, venue etc. If the humor you share on this blog is any indication as to how you "warm up" an audience, I am pretty sure you do an excellent job!! Keep moving forward...and keep sharing your funny stories!

Claudia Anderson, DDS

Lilya Horowitz DDS said...

First thing you gotta know about NYC: walk if it's 3 miles or less. Subway is the next best thing. Cabs are only for bad weather and when you are wearing nice shoes. If you every come back and need some tips from a local, let me know :)

gatordmd said...

Thank you for your kind words. I need them after last weekend.

And Lilya, I am pretty sure no one is ever going to ask me to speak in NY again.


Anonymous said...

I am sure you did great. I love all of your blog posts, am SO sad that you're stopping in December!

Anonymous said...

As a word of encouragement... I was in one of your FNDC lectures, my partner in the other. We both came away enjoying your lecture over the others and I learned great, real techniques and materials for posterior composites. I won the Clearfil SE & SE Protect from the video clips and have continued buying the Protect, on top of producing some much improved posterior resins that now look like teeth (although I'm a high-speed carver)!

I started reading your blog following the lecture and have thoroughly enjoyed them and hate to see them end. Not sure anyone in the NE is going to give anyone positive feedback. If you didn't get booed, I'd say you won! You did a great job in FL!

I'd love to pick your brain in the future. God Bless!

Bradley Hume, DMD
Palmetto, FL

2 Cor. 5:21

Anonymous said...

You are a talented writer. Tell me where youer next public speaking engagement is to take place and I will attend and give you a critique. Some dentists want to be public speakers, but just cannot make the grade; others are really good and do dentistry credit. I will give you an honest , though personal, opinon.

Dr. Bob Allen, Hampton Va

gatordmd said...

Thanks Bradley you make my week.

And Bob I am speaking in Washington state for their AGD Masters Program on Jan 25th in Seattle.
(I don't know if you can crash the course.)

You guys are great.


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