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Monday, November 21, 2011

holoblomo day 21: tourist tip

note: “holoblomo” stands for Horribly Local Blogging Month, my response to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that happens every November. The NaNoWriMo challenge asks writers to compose 50,000 words in a month; I chose 10,000 as my goal. Enjoy.

So here we are.
Maybe you know this, or maybe you do not, but I make Manhattan my home. I did not grow up here, however; that designation belongs to the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA... a mere 370-ish physical miles from here but a more than a million mental ones. 
Everything I’d heard about New York City -- from TV, films, and friends -- suggested that the rapid pace of the city would overwhelm me and swallow me whole. But when I came here, I found myself easily transitioning to a slightly faster walking speed, even with my unfortunately short legs. It was such a not-a-big-deal that it was somewhat disappointing.

But all I ever seem to hear from out-of-towners is how fast the city is. How they can’t believe how those rude New Yorkers just blow by them on the sidewalks. 
It finally occurred to me why this is, and since it’s the start of the big holiday tourist season, I offer a simple analogy to all you tourists out there as a public service:
New Yorkers are, for the most part, their own cars. They are mobilized by their feet, and not in the Fred Flintstone way. When they walk, wherever it may be, they are walking with purpose to their jobs or appointments or other such errands, and they are doing it as quickly and efficiently as they can.  
We are, in fact, no different from you... only your efficient speed is behind the wheel. Think about how you drive when you are at home. If you’re running late for an appointment, or heading out to pick up your kids, or even just dealing with the daily commute, and you’re in front of a slow car (especially with out-of-state plates), you’re going to tailgate the hell out of them, curse them, pass them as soon as possible, or all of the above. And if there are a lot of them, you’re going to weave, speed, and do whatever it takes to get out of that clump of *your-profane-adjective-of-choice-here* Sunday drivers. 
Well, when you come to NYC and decide to stroll leisurely through the streets, you are our Sunday drivers. Mind you, we bear you no ill will, and in fact welcome your tourism dollars and love of our city. But we will blow your doors off. 
So take it in stride, literally. Or stay in the slow lane. And enjoy the fact that at least we don’t flip you off in the rear view window.
And that’s 9254 words.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.

1 comment:

  1. As someone who was in NYC for the first time in his life 2 weeks ago (I live in Europe, so I was one of those pesky tourists) I loved being able to walk everywhere in such a huge city. Plus I'm a fast walker anyway and I'm used to it, so it was very, very easy to me. Also I never thought New Yorkers were unfriendly (I've heard that as a rumor before), quite contrarily, whenever I needed to ask for directions everyone (man, woman, small, big... you get it) happily replied and some even started small talk. I need to come back soon.