A New York Story – Con or Charm?

I got picked up last night, and we went on a date.

Her name is Nicki. She’s seventy-eight years old and she
started chatting me up while we sat waiting in the lobby of the New World
Stages, off Broadway.

But have I been charmed, or conned by a scheming person?

I found Nicki very charming. She said I was charming, which
is charming of her to say. I live near Oxford, and she said she’d
researched at the Pitt Rivers Museum there many years ago. She also knew Cambridge, having
lived in nearby Grantchester with her three young sons in the early seventies.

Her manner was that of a fast-talking, Jewish New Yorker.
But she was born and raised in India. She came to New York when she was ten.

We sat talking for half an hour. About Middle Eastern
culture, on which she’s very knowledgeable. We debated the use of language,
about which she’s very opinionated. As am I.

She’s a fanatical theatre fan. She told me she sees eleven
shows per week. Over five hundred a year. I secretly wondered if that was
really true, or if she was exaggerating.

Then it was time for us to see our respective plays. She was
going to see The Wall and I saw Church and State.

“Why don’t we meet up after, and swap notes?” she asked. “I
know this place where we can get fish tacos for a dollar.”

Sounded interesting, so I agreed.

After the theatre, I got us a taxi and we went down to
Coopers on 8th Avenue for one-dollar fish tacos and beer. We talked
non-stop. I was fascinated by her life. She was interested in mine.

So why should I even think I was conned?

This morning, I went for breakfast in a deli on the corner
of 8th and seventeenth. As I ate my eggs on wheat toast, I Googled Nicki
Cochrane. And up popped her face in an article from last year, with the headline “members of
New York’s theatre community detest her”.


The article confirmed all she had told me the night before.
That she’s originally from India. That she sees eleven shows a week.

But she’s made
some enemies. Here’s the article, and decide for yourself if she’s a charmer,
or a con artist:


What do I think?

I’m meeting Nicki at the theatre again this afternoon. She’s one of the most delightful people I’ve met in years.