Throughout my formative years I was known as the kid that would go with the flow. My parents could tell me to get in the car and I would just do it, no questions asked, no trouble caused. My friends would decide what we were going to do on a play date, and if I didn’t agree with it, I usually just went home without causing a scene.
And then I think high school hit me along with (probably) hormones and my calm, cool, collected mindset disappeared.
Don’t get me wrong, I put up a pretty calm front most of the time. And it’s usually very genuine. But when something gets under my skin, I maintain that front and internalize all the stabby feelings I have, and it’s probably not good for me. My blood pressure goes up, my hands get cold. My breathing gets shallow.
No place has been able to do this to me more than New York City. Within the first few months of moving here, I thought I needed to see a doctor because I kept getting really lightheaded and dizzy. And then I realized that this place was giving me anxiety and that it went against social mores to confront those who were making me crazy.
So let’s take a trip inside my head on a regular day…
Like today. Get on the subway. I’m wearing high-heeled boots, carrying two bags and an umbrella. At the first stop, a seat opens up. I don’t normally take a seat (because sitting is killing us all…and it’s what I’m doing now), but I should’ve known the boots would be an issue, and so I took it. It was an old school F train that has some forward-facing seats, so I took one next to a window to avoid being the person that takes the aisle seat and refuses to move in. I thought I was doing the world a service. And then an oblivious older (but not old) woman sits next to me. Puts one purse on her lap, puts her iced coffee between her legs, plops her other (open) bag between us…when there really isn’t any room between us (really, Bloomberg, the width of the subway seats is enough to discourage us from drinking soda and being obese), and that’s when the instant anger hit me.
I hate when other people or their stuff is touching me when it doesn’t need to be. Like, feeling it on me seriously infuriates me. It’s the worst if it’s their hair (disgusting), but just them or their stuff does the trick, too. So this woman’s bag is all up on me. I try moving over more, but I can only go so far over without clinging to the wall of the car and getting my legs all up on the person in front of me (who was minding her own business and not putting her crap all over someone). So I did what any typical New Yorker does. I shook my head. I glared. I gave out a loud sigh. Nothing.
I thought for sure she would eventually move the bag because, common sense, yeah? No. Some people are actually just that oblivious. She got on one stop after me, and got off one stop before I did. And I was furious the entire time.
The anger built up inside me to the point where I actually thought I might say something. But when you say something, suddenly you’re the asshole. I couldn’t be like, “You know it’s really rude to put your bag on someone,” because god only knows what scene she would’ve caused. She practically caused a scene getting off the train as she poorly carried her open bags that were begging for a pickpocket. And why were her bags all over the place? So she could read The New York Post. Hey guess what, I was reading a book (getting more than anyone will ever get from the Post) and was able to put both of my big bags on the ground AND prevent my umbrella from injuring anyone. NO EXCUSES.
During my lunch break, my lunch buddy and I hung out at the fountain at Lincoln Center. This was probably the most calming moment of my day. Water has always been something that completely mellows me out. I closed my eyes (because I was trying to look at the top of the water and the sun was blinding me) and the sound made me want to be at the ocean. I can’t tell you the last time I was at the ocean. Oh wait, I can. It was 2010 with my college field hockey team in Bermuda. It was a great trip that I can’t stand seeing pictures of because I wasn’t all that field-hockey-ready and someone decided it would be a great idea to take a team picture in bathing suits. Jerk.
Actually taking in something like this in New York makes me think, “this place isn’t so bad.” And then I go back to my desk and check my bank account and go, “LOLYEAHRIGHT.”
I guess I can give it some credit for being a free attraction. Some kids wanted to go in it too, which would’ve then provided free entertainment.
After work, it was time for a five mile run in Central Park. I dread my run all day, and then I change into my workout clothes (aka my badass look) and suddenly I’m ready to go.
And then I get to Central Park and the frustration sets in again. As a runner, I realize I need to share the road with cyclists and walkers. But they also need to share the road with me. Don’t bike in the run/walk lane when there’s a wide bike lane right next to you. Don’t go speeding through the narrow bike lanes due to the addition of car lanes (what??? Yeah, it’s a thing. Ugh.) and then slalom into my lane as if to scare me. You’ll get the arms-spread WHAT?! look and make me run faster when I shouldn’t be. If you’re walking at a leisurely pace and not for exercise, it’s probably a better idea to use the walking path that’s right next to the run/walk path, because no one is moving fast on those. You know, let’s be smart. C’mon.
And for the love of god, don’t just stop dead in front of me. And if the crosswalk doesn’t say you can cross, and I’m running through it, don’t play chicken with me. I know my rights and my right-of-ways, jerk. And there are run/walk, bike and car lanes in the park. I don’t see any skateboard or rollerblade lanes. This isn’t the ’90s. And you’re all going too fast! Oh, you want to go around the reservoir? Too bad, bikes aren’t allowed, and there’s not enough room for them, plus there’s so much dirt on that path it’s like running on the beach. You wouldn’t bike on the beach, would you? And that sign? It says you have to go around the reservoir counterclockwise. You know, because it’s narrow and we allow tourists and walkers up here and us runners need to pass them because TIME MATTERS DAMMIT. And don’t take forever to take a picture here, because I’m gonna run through it.
And seriously, if you cut me off as I get to the top of the hill, I will contemplate tripping you or calling you a name, but I probably won’t actually do it because I’m not wearing a bullet-proof vest, and I’m too tired to use any self-defense skills on you.
Guys, I would make such an awesome Central Park ranger.
So then my run is over, and I’m in much better spirits as calories have been thoroughly burned. I get back to the office and feel like a superstar and pick up my stuff. And then I get on the subway again, sweating like a pig, because there isn’t any A/C on the subway platforms. Seriously, Bloomberg, this would be more important than a soda ban. Get your act together, sir.
I get on the train and refuse to take a seat this time around because I’m considerate. I’m literally dripping sweat despite how much I’ve attempted to dry off, and despite the fact that I’ve changed out of my running shirt, and I don’t want to get the seats sweaty for other passengers. I mean, I would be pissed if I saw someone doing this.
I take my usual standing area by the door that’s opposite the side that will open the most. The train isn’t too packed, and there’s plenty of other standing areas. Yet a woman decides that right next to me is the best place to stand. Not even against the poles on the other side of the door, but right next to me. At this point I can’t feel bad. She’s the one who has to smell my sweaty self. And I know I smell bad, because one time after field hockey practice, my mom picked me up with my then 3ish-year-old niece in the car and she said, “Auntie B, you stink.” Kids don’t lie. So I can’t really care if this woman smells me at this point, but I can be annoyed that’s she’s within a foot of my personal space.
The rest of the ride is uneventful as the woman, luckily, gets off at the next stop. I get home, take a shower, then get to my laundry that needs to be done. One good thing about training for a race? It forces me to do laundry more than once a month, since I run out of running clothes after a week.
I get down to the laundry room in my building and all the machines are being used. But they all only have about 10 minutes left, so I decide to wait and play on my phone. I get caught up on all the games I’ve neglected for weeks, because I’m the worst person ever to start an app-based game with. One washer finishes, and no one is there to empty it.
Ever since college where if you weren’t there to get your stuff within five minutes someone would leave it out for the world to see, I make sure I get to my washers and dryers at least five minutes before their cycles are done. Apparently I’m alone in this thinking, because three more washers finished, and no one was there to get their stuff.
I think the college shaming of touching someone else’s laundry (a task that always skeeved me out and I only did once and got caught doing. oops.) is probably inappropriate in the adult world, so I sat there fuming at someone thinking they’re the only person who needs the laundry room on a Monday night. Don’t do this to me, person. Mondays are usually my golden laundry days. I think about how I’m going to say, “Hey jerk, I was waiting here for 15 MINUTES, which is practically a year for a millennial like myself. WHERE. WERE. YOU.”
And then a little middle aged woman came skittering in, apologizing for not getting there sooner, and of course I donned the sweetest smile I could muster and said, “It’s ok, it happens!”
Not to me it doesn’t. That woman used four washers and commandeered the laundry room as her own folding factory. I could never live in an apartment complex without my own washer and dryer if I have enough people living with me that I need to use four washers.
Thank god for cats as therapeutic animals, otherwise I would’ve blown a gasket by now in this city. How can you not be stoked to come home to this:
So those are the thoughts that go on in my head during the day. It’s not a pretty place to be. It’s pretty exhausting, actually. But it’s also something I can’t help, and it’s the reason I sometimes get lightheaded and stop breathing regularly. So if you’re ever around me when this happens, help a sister out and get some chocolate or an iced drink or something to me, stat. Thanks?