"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day

2.15.2006

Make It Mean.

I was having dinner with a fellow NYC-transplant last night and we got to discussing how living in NYC has changed us. In the end we agreed that it has made us more aggressive, less passive, and maybe more proned to violence. This morning a woman stopped in front of me to put winter clothing on her child, causing a back-up at the stairs. I went around her, and then she proceeded to jump in front of me on the stairs and go very slowly. My first instinct was to kick her in the back of the knee. I didn't do it, but I really wanted to. Who have I become!?!?

Before moving here, waitstaff ignored me, cashiers over-charged me, people cut in front of me, all without me saying a word. I may have mumbled, or sighed, or cleared my throat agressively, but never, ever would I have spoken out. But now, I have become known for my aggressiveness at rental car counters and with customer service representatives. My daily commute requires me to take a stance I would've formerly used only for protecting myself from mosh-pits (feet planted firmly shoulder-width apart, arms up and parallel to the body) so that I will not be pushed over by someone ginormous bag or lose my standing space to an aggressive middle-aged commuter. It's sadly part of survival in NYC. In the three years I've lived here I've been kicked, hit, peed in front of, breathed on aggressively, had someone expose themselves to me, and called a whore, all in the course of my morning commute. If that doesn't change a person, I don't know what will.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Um, so I was one of the bad people today. I am flying to Austin today after work so I had to commute this morning with two relatively big bags and a purse on the 6 train. Agressively, I made it on the packed train before anyone else and then blocked a bunch of other people from getting on with my heavy bags. Sorry everyone else.

By 68th street I could move in towards the middle of the car and by 59th street, this women sitting behind me was hitting my bag with her morning paper trying to get my attention. She was trying to get me to sit in the empty seat next to her so she grabbed my bag and pulled me over to the only open seat on the train.

In a rare change of events, people were actually nice to me and my big bags this morning.