Friday, February 19, 2010

I Heart NY

February, the month of the dreaded Valentine's Day. I know what you're all thinking: this is going to be an onslaught of bitchery at the level of Alexis Carrington on two hours of sleep and a heavy-flow day. Well, here's a surprising little piece of trivia for you...Valentine's Day doesn't bother me all that much. I know, it's supposed to be the day that all of us single people cry into our wine/ice cream/pornography, wondering where our love might be hiding. However, thanks to my time in the service industry, I've become completely jaded to the entire event. Ask almost any waiter and they'll tell you: Valentine's Day is depressing because it's the day that couples who should no longer be together celebrate their love. It's the event in which people who haven't said "I love you" for the past 364 days realize they've been lax, and decide to say "I LOVE YOU!!!" so loudly and often that they can get away with not saying it for another year. As far as I'm concerned, there are a million wonderful ways to tell someone you love them...these ways do not include dinner reservations, a brownie in the shape of a heart or a pre-fixe menu.

So this Valentine's Day was okay for me; I made cookies and danced to Tina Turner, which is pretty much guaranteed to put me in a good mood. And I started thinking about my life, and I decided that I'm actually pretty happy with it (don't worry, this short foray into rainbows, flowers and lollipops will be short-lived). And I thought about why I'm happy, and one of the reasons I came up with was "I live in New York!" Which is kind of awesome. I mean, not only because it means that I don't live in a fly-over state, or the suburbs, or the tenth circle of hell, but because I feel like after 11 and a half years here I can finally claim to be a New Yorker.

What makes one a New Yorker? I believe it's said that you have to live here for 10 years before you can call yourself a true New Yorker. However, I think there's something a little more difficult about being a true denizen of this city than simply managing to survive a decade living here. So I present to you, in no particular order, some of the reasons that I think that I'm a New Yorker.

I think that I'm a New Yorker because I was walking down the street yesterday, and I saw a man standing by a building, slightly hunched over, and I immediately assumed that he was urinating. There really are a million reasons that someone would have pulled over on the sidewalk...he could be texting, or reading a map (though we all know that people who need maps in New York generally aren't intelligent enough to get the hell out of the way while they use them), or trying to find his Metrocard. But do I think that's what he was doing? No, I think he's taking a moment out of his busy day to take a public leak on a freezing February morning in broad daylight. This is not normal. This implies that not only have I seen men pissing publicly, but that I've seen so many that I've actually become jaded to it and now treat it as, if not really a classy thing to do, at least something that doesn't give me much pause on Tuesday at 7 am. By the way, as I walked past, I noticed that he wasn't actually draining the main vein, he was walking one of those white, poofy, drop-kick dogs. It was so small I didn't see it until I actually passed him. How someone can feel even remotely masculine when walking a dog that could pull off the name "Fifi McFabulous" is completely beyond me.

I think that I'm a New Yorker because I know that in the Times Square subway station, right by the Grand Central Shuttle platform, there's a cell phone hot-spot where you can get reception to shoot off a quick "I'm late!" text message. Not in the "I'm late...and pregnant!" way...the other way. Look, I have no desire for cell phones to get reception on trains. Can you imagine the inane, shouted conversations that you would be subjected to if the general populace had the ability to get on the phone while on a noisy subway?

Representative of the General Populace: "Oh my God, I was like, I don't know, but I tried to call him and his phone went to voice mail, and I didn't know what to say, so I was like I'll just text him, but then I went to text him and realized that I didn't know his name, because I just put him in my phone as "Hot Guy," and I wasn't paying attention to his voice mail message, so I didn't get his name from that, so I was going to call him back so I could hear his name, but I don't know, what if he sees that I called him, like, twice in 30 seconds, and then he'll think I'm like a stalker or something, and I don't want that because I really like him, so like don't be mad, but would you call him for me and listen to his voice mail message and let me know what his name is, so I can text him, because I think he would make a really good boyfriend!"
Me: {takes out gun, shoots RotGP, looks around expectantly for a thank you}

Suffice it to say, I don't think anyone wants that. However, despite my happiness with the lack of cell phone reception underground, there are times when the ability to contact the outside world is more than appreciated. Granted, it's usually appreciated "because of an earlier incident," or "due to train traffic ahead" but nevertheless...appreciated. Just last week I was running to a table read, and "due to a sick passenger" (GROAN! SERIOUSLY!?) my train was delayed. I aimed for Times Square, shot off a quick text message and hopped on the shuttle. I was still 15 minutes late, but at least no one was surprised.

I think I'm a New Yorker because I appreciate intelligent graffiti, and conversely am disgusted by the moronic. I wonder if any taste for graffiti comes from having a freshman roommate who was a graffiti "artist"...but then I think about the fact that I didn't much like him and I doubt it. In fact, one day I will write a post about my freshman year roommates called 'The Witch, The Communist and Me" and I can get deeper into this whole tangent, but as a short appetite-whetter, let me say that one of them was a graffiti-artist and the other one admitted to watching me while I slept. Worst. Year. Sleeping. Ever. In any case, as I wander through New York, I find myself really enjoying clever graffiti. Obviously, this whole month was rife with promotions for the movie Valentine's Day, which, if you don't know, featured just about actor in Hollywood this side of Dakota Fanning. At the bottom of a poster, which listed something around 15 movie stars, someone scrawled "And a partridge in a pear tree!" I found this amusing. On a poster for It's Complicated someone wrote "Sophie's Next Choice!" Again, amusing with a nice pop culture reference. On the other hand, drawing male genitalia on the little girl who's on the poster for Jackie Chan's The Spy Next Door...that's just sophomoric.

I think I'm a New Yorker because I now prefer barren trees covered in LED lights to a good old-fashioned Christmas tree to get me in the holiday spirit.
In fact, most of the time, I simply find the suddenly numerous displays of evergreens to be a real imposition upon a sidewalk that is already crowded with tourists, Greenpeace representatives seeing if you have a moment for them to guilt you into pledging $20 a month and the homeless. The sudden abundance of coniferous trees everywhere, while it does do something to mask the natural urban musk of the big city, is really simply too much for New York's spatial limitations. Not to mention the fact that it's impossible to actually remove all the stray needles from your house before the vernal equinox. I'm convinced that pine needles are the at the root of the "spring cleaning" craze. I vastly prefer my simple, bare trees, so drowned in lights that they look like holiday glow sticks speckling the avenues of New York. Even better if there's a fresh snow, which makes every corner look like an entrance into Narnia...I half expect a timid faun to greet me as I pass underneath, or an albino woman to ride by on a sledge tempting schoolchildren with Turkish delight.

I think I'm a New Yorker because I have way more use for a ""Bullshit-o-meter" and a "You'reAFuckingMoron-o-meter" than an odometer. I think I'm a New Yorker because I get irritated when TV and movies try to make other cities look like New York. And, most of all, I think I'm a New Yorker because I believe that thinking I'm a New Yorker warrants an entire posting on my blog.

1 comment:

Ryan C said...

one doesn't become a New Yorker, one becomes New York