In order to live in New York City, you must have at least one of three attributes: you have to be a) certifiably insane, b) oblivious, or c) an icebox. Why is that? Well, let’s break it down:
If you are a) certifiably insane, then you will fit right in with the wackos and the strung-out boozhounds in the city. In my ten months living here, I’ve seen the following oddities in New York:
- a gentleman jogging in a thong onesie
- a person dressed up as Spiderman, casually walking down the street, as if window shopping
- an older woman dressed as the “Naked Cowgirl” in Times Square, with very little covering her backside…
Of course, you can still survive New York sans-crazy if you are simply b) oblivious. By oblivious, I mean that you will inevitably encounter the following, yet you still won’t bat an eye:
- feces of all kinds, including, but not limited to: pigeon, dog, rat, human, and hybrid combinations of all four
- smells… bad ones
- and many a sidewalk puddle so disgusting that, if you were to be splashed with its contents, would compel you to burn your clothing, and perhaps chop off any appendage that encountered the filth
Lastly, to live in New York, you also must become c) an icebox. This is not a suggestion; it is an actual necessity, especially in these recessionary times. If you have a heart while living in New York, you will likely end up broke, homeless, or jogging in a thong onesie through the Upper East Side. Since January, I have been asked for money by:
- solicitors in the subway
- solicitors living in the streets (one, with a pet rat nesting in her hair)
- solicitors imploring me to help the children, support the troops, feed the hungry, cure cancer, go green, buy booze, and welcome back Jesus
The great thing about living in New York, though, is that once you get past the insanity, the filth, and the ever-present guilt (“sorry, I don’t have any cash, but here’s a cough drop”), you can pretty much put up with anything. There is nothing out there that can make you feel uncomfortable, because we’ve seen it all, right?
Tonight, I was walking home from work when I encountered someone else who was walking step-in-step with me. Now, this doesn’t seem all that strange… until you think about the unwritten NYC pedestrian rule. The sidewalk is like a one-lane highway. You don’t ever have two cars on the same side of the road, going at the same speed. You either pass, or let the other guy pass. But for three blocks, this woman walked right next to me. I sped up. She sped up. I slowed down. She slowed down. It freaked me out. Finally, I took a detour into Duane Reade to see if she would follow me. But thankfully, she went on her merry way.
Is it just me, or is that whole scenario stranger than the 70-year old Naked Cowgirl? Or… am I just heading down the path towards (un)certifiably insane?