NYC: Hurry Up and Wait… and Like It!

I’m not too sure why people say that New Yorkers are among the most impatient and rude people in the world. I know that mine is just an outsider’s view, but to this outsider, being a New Yorker seems as though it would be a constant exercise in patience.

Immediately upon our arrival to NYC at the Staten Island Ferry—which would carry us swiftly across the New York harbor, depositing us at the southern tip of Manhattan—we waited.

First we waited to board, then we waited to de-board, next we waited in line to purchase unlimited subway passes and then we waited on the platform for the train that would take us to our hotel. We waited to board the subway, to get off the subway, to walk up the stairs to street level… and of course we waited for our turn to cross lest we be run down by a cab, bus or bicycle messenger on a mission.

Welcome to New York City. Home to over 18 million people in the metropolitan area — it is an overwhelming, endless rush of humanity. And believe me everyone is rushing somewhere, everywhere, all the time. Hence, the “hurry up” part. Hurry up to get a place in line. Because this tidal wave of beings can only move as fast as transit and commerce will allow. Transit and commerce (I might add) that are also operated by and reliant upon other human beings. Thus, the “wait” part.

I quickly learned why Lee, my fearless-and-informed tour guide, told me to quote: “… travel light and wear comfortable shoes.” By the time our visit to the Big Apple concluded we had waited in line(s) not only for constant transport around the city, but for coffee, bagels, hot dogs, beer, pizza, pastrami and pickles. We waited in line for events, for elevators, for escalators, for public attractions, for bathrooms, for boats, for shopping, for a cashier, for a good view, for a good picture and even for a bench to sit on and rest from all the waiting.

Perhaps the “impatient” brand that has been seared upon New Yorkers only comes into play when they are, say… forced to deal with thousands of versions of some clueless tourist (like myself) on a daily basis who may or may not know the exact and proper ordering procedure for a pastrami on rye. For they are not afraid to show you their displeasure with your non-new-yorker ignorance.

I can’t blame them. That’s just the way it is. Therefore, you’d better like it. Take your $20 deli sandwich, your $7 slice, your $5 dog or your $12 cocktail and drag your bumbling-photograph-taking-aimlessly-wandering-map-studying @$$ and get out of the way. Quickly. After all… someone else is waiting.

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5 Signs I Should Have Had Decaf

Standing in the long line at Subway for lunch yesterday it began to dawn on me that perhaps decaf would have been the wiser choice of java that morning… Why did I suspect this? 

  1. The man immediately in front of me, pacing, dancing around and grabbing / eating bags of chips from the front of the counter—that he hadn’t even paid for yet—was so jumpy and jittery that he began to make me nervous.
  2. The man standing in front of him had a tag sticking out of the back of his shirt and I had an overwhelming compulsion to violently rip it from his collar.
  3. The woman seated to my left was laughing so loudly and so obnoxiously that her shrill joviality made the concept of chewing glass an attractive option.
  4. The couple standing in the middle of the restaurant yelling to an acquaintance (who was standing RIGHT BESIDE THEM by the way) about their newly-rented, 10-bedroom condo in the Outer Banks incited such extreme annoyance that I felt the sudden urge to throw my purse at them while simultaneously yelling: “NOBODY IN THIS RESTAURANT CARES HOW MANY BATHROOMS IT HAS!”
  5. I honest-to-goodness imagined yanking the cell phone from the hands of the girl behind me and tossing it into the cucumber bin simply because I hated her ring tone.

Somehow, while all of these crazy imaginings and urges were flashing across my mind, I managed to look calmly out the window and settle my gaze upon a lovely maple tree that was just beginning to blush with the colors of fall. That is until my attention was diverted from the tree to the photograph hanging on my right. It was of a local high-school cheerleader—whose big hair and ridiculously-happy smile—made me want to slap her.

See, I told you… decaf.