A tinge of twisted thrill runs through my body as I read the results of my blood test.
“A Vitamin D Deficiency!” it proclaims, in bold black ink. A Medically Alarming Lack of Sun Exposure. A New Yorker’s Wintertime Badge of Honor. And I, ladies and gentlemen, earned my badge.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I developed this deficiency by October, well before the really dark days of Winter. So, scientifically, you may call me an Overachiever…
This is the latest evidence I’ve gathered proving I have reached “Official New Yorkerdom”.
The Facts Supporting my confirmed New Yorkiness:
- I’ve walked past Times Square and failed to look up.
- I have a favorite street food vendor.
- My street food vendor has memorized my order.
- I audibly block New York thru the magic of earphones.
- I follow Unspoken Umbrella Etiquette… automatically doing the “tilt, lift or drop” when crossing other umbrella-toters on rainy days.
- When people tell me they live in my neighborhood, I ask: Off which stop?
- I get inordinately excited when their subway stop is mine or next to mine. The other New Yorker reacts with equal, inexplicable glee, even if we just met and will likely never see each other again. For contrast, note how this NEVER happens in a normal town if you discover you live off, say, the same highway ramp as a random stranger.
- $1500 for a one-bedroom apartment that is 80 years old offering amenities like “no bed bugs” seems like a steal.
- I understand why people spend sunny days aimlessly walking or sitting outside like sun-lizards. [Reference Vitamin D deficiency]
- The words “Showtime! Showtime!” irk me.
- The dudes selling tours to tourists don’t approach me
I’m proud of #3 and #11. Not proud of #1 or #4. I want to be a New Yorker. Just not the jaded kind.
So I vow to make myself look up and SEE where I live, the City of Big Dreams. I promise not to take it for granted, despite the breakneck pace that makes it easy to forget, or easy to excuse to forget. You gotta stay present, you know? People pay good money and travel long distances for this view. And I do aim to make Times Square my office. So I look at the gleaming strip of real estate and let it thrill me like a first-timer.
I make myself NOT block out the world vis-a-vis music-blasting earphones. I force myself to drag my eyes off the crossword on my iPhone to enjoy the odd assortment of humanity collected before me on the subway. These sounds, these people and the observations they make me… well, observe… are the lifeblood of the writer. But I’ve learned the enforced and relentless proximity to thousands of strangers on a daily basis compels one to cut off like a psychotic master compartmentalizer.
Where there is sunshine the doctor starves. ~Flemish Proverb
They’re not starving here. ~ Faxas Proverb
Everyone else “out there” [read: NOT in NYC] has cars and a moment alone, a wee smidgen of privacy as they travel from one place to another.
But here in New York, it’s a strange man’s leg touching yours for 14 subway stops; It’s a woman’s purse digging into your spleen at rush hour; it’s twice-a-day close encounters with the clearly insane; It’s an obnoxious, why-God-are-they-so-loud conversation from which you cannot escape because you will NOT lose your SEAT, precious commodity that it is. And because the next subway car over is having Showtime! Showtime!
Speaking of… “Showtime! Showtime!” is essentially G-Rated pole-dancing. The performers are male teens blaring rap music on the world’s last remaining boom boxes, narrowly avoiding kicking you in the head while swinging wildly around the subway poles.
The 1st time, you think: How fun!
The 12th time: At least they’re not in a gang…
The 27th time: I really need my dollar.
The 780th time: WHY CAN’T I RIDE THE FREAKING SUBWAY WITH 10,000 STRANGERS IN PEACE?!?!?!?
You’re an entertainment hostage.
And that’s when you employ New York Coping Method #4: the earphones.
Now if you’ll excuse me, as a new New Yorker, I need to attend to my strict regimen of freebasing Vitamin D then staring at the sun before it sets at 3:30 in the afternoon….
You can enjoy Eileen’s Big City Observations by stopping by the blog at EileenFaxas.com anytime. If she puts in her earphones, that’s your sign to kindly leave the premises…