Thursday, November 13, 2008

New York Is Not For Lovers

If you ever met me (which is unlikely as I am garbed in comforting shadows) you would probably be assume that, despite my best efforts, I am a nice guy. Six months ago, I would always hold the door open for you, regardless of gender. I always say "please" and "thank you," generally remember birthdays and anniversaries well, and try to be a helpful human being. I generally hold back the biting wit and dark thoughts, reserved for close friends and outlets such as this.

Skip ahead six months...

New York City. The Concrete Jungle. The City That never sleeps, etc. etc...

8.11 AM.

When the train doors (known as subway doors to you) creak open, I move my ass. Thousands of other well-dressed lemmings are pouring from every orifice on the train, and there is only one outlet on my 53rd and Lexington stop: a three story climb to the surface, either via escalators or some steep-ass stairs. No one is talking, everyone is just queuing into the funnel to begin our ascent. Every morning, I hum "Sixteen Tons"to myself as I climb step after step as fast as I can.

Once we hit the surface, free to go out separate ways, I break from the herd and hustle towards my office, slightly bent over, as if I am heading into a strong wind. My head down, I just move with the flow of other proletariat pedestrians. Every body knows their place in this dance, and we pull it off without flaw.

Until this:
The Thundering Herd screeches to a halt, blocked by these looky-loo lovers. They stroll right down the middle of the sidewalk, shambling aimlessly along, gawking at the sights surrounding them. "Look honey, a falafel cart, and over there, a faux handbag stand, and if we look in the nearby store windows, it's the exact same crap we can buy just about anywhere else we might be in our homogenized society. Neat!" (I may be paraphrasing)

They are completely oblivious to the pile-up of humanity they have created with their bottleneck.

My eyes dart quickly about, looking for an outlet to slip past. My only choices are edging past them by the dirty and sharp edged ubiquitous scaffolding on the right, or certain death by oncoming traffic on the left. I shuffled behind the slowpokes, seething at the delay.

Finally, as I was about to attempt human "Frogger" with the traffic, another trenchcoated denizen of the city just snapped, and said what I was thinking. "Fucking Move!!" he growled, and the startled tourists parted, and the logjam flowed between them.

As I slid past at my customary pace, I caught the woman's eye, and with a knowing look and small nod, she comprehended my meaning on my kind, nice guy face. Welcome to New York, stay outta my way, or I'll shank you. . .

I think I AM becoming a New Yorker!

SA

4 comments:

Sara Mu said...

How could you not love it! By the way, we'll be neighbors by February.

Linda said...

Oh my, can't wait to visit!

meleah rebeccah said...

as I was about to attempt human "Frogger" with the traffic,

ha ha ha ha

Welcome To The City

rjlight said...

I understand -- I was nice before I moved to Madrid, Spain. Now I stare at everyone and push my way in but now that I am back in the states and out of the city I am learning how to smile at people again.