January 9, 2013 by annalarissa
So while on my way in to work this morning, I had a thought, a thought about propriety.
In this city, where I am constantly having new, sometimes awkward, sometimes very very awkward, experiences and encounters, there is an unwritten set of rules that most (sane) people follow.
Then I think, New Yorkers and rules? Ha!
But it’s true.
Just after I walked by a man, fast asleep (and snoring contentedly) in a pile of recyclable refuse he’s put a lot of work into collecting from among the garbage cans of the NYC underground, I realized how it didn’t phase me, nor did it bother any of the many people around me waiting for the next express train.
Rule #1- Let sleeping dogs lie.
Then I’m on my crowded train where I have annoyed, yawning, sleepy-eyed people pushed up against me on all sides, yet again, it doesn’t bother me one bit. In any other place or situation this invasion of personal space would kill me! But here, not even a fleeting thought is paid to the strangers close enough to breathe in my own exhaled carbon-dioxide.
Rule #2- Redefine too close for comfort.
But as soon as I step off the train, I’m moving directly into the first open space I can find, working towards some semblance of a personal bubble equilibrium. Walking through the bowels of Grand Central Station, I board an escalator and question to myself, do I stand one step away from the person ahead of me or two?
Rule #3- In order to survive, remain flexible and adaptable.
There are a thousand other little rules that I won’t even mention, and these rules, though unspoken, are universally understood and are in place to maintain some sort of propriety.
And then I think, propriety?! In this city?!
Where we have the naked cowboy?!
And the even more terrifying naked cowgirl?!
We’re worried about being appropriate when our eyes, ears and nostrils are being constantly assaulted?
It’s a crazy thought, that in a city known for it’s rude, cold and judgmental people, there exists this unspoken understanding between them.
’til next time…