I used to be afraid of going to THE CITY so everything seemed scary. But now people smile at each other on the subway. Guys give up their seats to old ladies (not talking about me here). People are generally quiet (you don’t want to know about pseudo-slutty girls from Hoboken). Maybe everybody’s too busy playing games on their iPhones. I was happy to see so many people still reading books, not as many newspapers though.
But there are still things about New York City that I don’t understand. How can so many people eat dinner at 11 p.m.? How do New Yorkers memorize zillions of subway routes? How come I had to swipe my Metro card repeatedly, but locals’ cards worked every time? How do city dwellers refrain from eating out nightly, going for broke on food? How do so many women walk so briskly in five-inch heels? What percentage of people get sick eating food cooked on tiny grills in food carts that look fairly unclean? Do the guys break-dancing and performing stunts like jumping over seven people at Union Square make enough money to buy food at Whole Foods across the street? Do people like making their way through the crowded streets, or do they feel lonely when hardly anybody’s around during a blizzard?
Shopkeepers say “Enjoy Your Day” when you buy contact lens solution. New Yorkers wait patiently in long lines at the new Trader Joe’s; at Whole Foods there’s a color-coded system to move shoppers through efficiently. Nobody looked enraged standing in line with their baskets of assorted greens, soy milk and goat cheese.
Then there were the girls from Hoboken. Okay, I can’t help telling you how they wore minuscule mini-skirts and seven-inch heels on the Path train back to Jersey from the city. They were swearing, talking loudly about what they did — or would do — to/or with guys. One man took offense and said something about what he would do if his daughter left the house looking as slutty as they did.
The girls (a la “Jersey Shore?” I’ve never seen the show but I’ve heard about it) admitted that they left home wearing sweat pants so their parents wouldn’t be suspicious. Then they called the irate father a pedophile. The conversation escalated. A few good-natured young men were making comments that I couldn’t hear. Ethan was laughing along with them. It became too much for me. I rolled my eyes a few times at the other mother sitting next to me and a quiet young man hugging the door. Many of us clapped when they left the train in Hoboken.
Offensive, yes, but not a scary situation. People were playing music in the subway stations: Blues, jazz, drums, Native American singers, and at one place couples were swing dancing. Ethan said he has never seen that before. I wasn’t one bit scared in the big city. Maybe I’ve grown up.