Every time I go to New York, I learn something new. Last week, I learned that I’m one of these people.
I know that because every single time I got onto a subway, people leaped up to offer me their seat. My baby is in college, and the only happy event I’m expecting is the release of the new iPhones. (My death-by-techie brother sometimes gives me his old ones.) So that leaves the three-legger. Wait… WTF?
See, I think of myself as this.
But apparently, in the light from the New York subway system, I’m this:
I was pretty sure I wasn’t in an alternate universe, because all of my favorite NYC subway-types were still there. On the A-Train, for example, the gentleman opposite me took the opportunity to clip all his fingernails. Since it was an express with plenty of time between stations, he also removed both shoes and did battle with some seriously tough toenails. I tried to keep to the two-second rule but my gaze kept getting sucked back.
Then there was the upscale couple who got on with a twins stroller. That stroller was bigger than most New York apartments, but just to make sure they were inconveniencing the maximum numbers of commuters, the couple had added a basket at the end for their purse dog. NOTE: the dog was very well behaved, but the screaming twins were clearly chips off the old parental blockage.
But overall, New York is experiencing an epidemic of niceness. People who saw me checking GoogleMaps (compulsively, every five seconds, even though there is no signal down in the subway tunnels) would ask me where I was going and if I needed any help. A clerk in CB2 wrote down how to find Target, and even drew a little map. And everyone, customers and staff, in the Chipotles seemed so incredibly happy I started wondering what was in the salsa.
I was staying with my daughter, who lives in a fascinating neighborhood. I don’t know about the rest of New York City, but her neighbors take “the city that never sleeps” literally. Shops are open always, and you can find people getting haircuts and doing their laundry in the middle of the night. They also choose those hours between midnight and dawn to provide free entertainment for tourists like me as they conduct really personal arguments in the middle of the street. Typical: – Her: “You f**king bastard!” Him: “mumble, mumble, Baby, mumble, mumble, mumble.” Repeat for about an hour, with her at ever-increasing fortissimo. “YOU. F**KING. BASTARD. F**KER!”
The last night I was there, I heard a new sound. Peeking out through the bars on her windows, I saw a crowd of about a hundred people running down the street. They were followed by a line of several police officers abreast, each with a stubby little weapon drawn. A few minutes later, I heard gunshots. This seemed like a good time to run into the back bedroom and check on my daughter. When I got there, I tried to wake her up but all she did was hand me her Kindle, roll over, and go back to sleep. New York chicks are tough. I perched on the edge of her bed for a while, and eventually went back to my room. Finally I heard “You f**king bastard f**ker!” followed by “…mumble, mumble, Baby, mumble, mumble, mumble.” It seemed reassuringly familiar, and I went back to sleep.
On the way to the airport the next day, two young men politely argued over which one should offer me his seat. Another man asked if I was going to the airport (you think it was the suitcase?) and stood nearby so he could tell me when I was within two stops because the speakers weren’t working. I love New York!