Good morning, Tuesday. Have you ever wondered what it takes to be successful at living in New York City? Besides having unlimited income, I mean.
I had an epiphany yesterday as I was walking Khan at 7 am. There's a hospital type facility right by where I walk him, and a young guy was wheeling a very old guy in a wheelchair, and said old guy was in a hospital gown. On the street. At 7am. And just today on my walk to get a coffee in Soho, some other dude was doing this weird/walk run. With his shirt off. And pants falling off. And a poop stain. It's not even noon yet, ps. Can't a girl just get a skinny vanilla latte?
Successful living in New York is accepting the fact that we live out in the open. It's a no holds barred look into everyone's lives, including our own. We see things we shouldn't see. And we hear things we shouldn't hear. We sit shoulder to shoulder and often stand face to very close face on the subway, where the notion of personal space is strictly the provenance of Uber riders. On any day, you can hear passers by screaming into their phones about a break up, a job loss, a gynecological matter. Living lives in the wide open is surely not for everyone. I'm a private type by all means but one becomes accustomed to this lifestyle, even when you see someone eat an entire stick of butter on the subway. And perhaps that's why New Yorkers are so friendly (we are). Because we literally live out loud. And we've kind of seen it all.
I've heard that living in LA can feel isolating, because of all the time one spends in the car, alone. Cut to New York life- where you never truly feel alone. And though for many years that gave me solace (I always found comfort in the fact that, during fits of insomnia, others would be up and wide awake too), lately it's been giving me a headache. I'm tired of hearing about your brunch plans. Your abnormal CT scan? Nope. I don't want to hear your Spotify playlist at deafening volume on the C train. And now that almost every office environment has open seating, there's no chance to have your own space even when you get to work. So what's a lifelong New Yorker to do?
The same thing I've always done. Hate/love on all of these random displays of humanity, or simply embrace them. Would life be more fun NOT overhearing the sad saga of a Tinder date gone awry? Probably not. I just think it's amazing to live in a place where we are all so very exposed, where the playing field is so very level, but where at the same time- one can retain true anonymity if one desires. Because more often than not, in this city of wide open, it's very easy to disappear. That's the crazy two sided coin that is New York life. I can walk for hours in my own void if I choose, and I love that about big city life. Not the case in a small town where everyone knows your name. For some reason, that feels a lot more intense to me than a man running down the street in a diaper in a snowstorm. I've seen that, ps.
In a world where oversharing is the new normal, perhaps New Yorkers have a higher threshold for all of those pictures of you on your unicorn pool float. Or perhaps not because we get to see "real life" more often than not, and much of it will never make it to Instagram.
Oh, New York. You do give me a real run for my money sometimes (literally all the time), but somehow it all works, even though we all have island fever and are completely nuts. I've seen and heard too many things for many years, but I'm also able to disappear here. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Cause that's what's up this overexposed Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in open books and big city life. XO
The collage at the top of the post is by UK artist Laura Redburn.