Sunday, March 14, 2010

You Are Not Alone

It is easy, and perhaps necessary, in New York to inoculate yourself against the ever present crush of humanity around you. Privacy is an illusion, and if you wait until you are really and truly alone to have "private" conversations or let your guard down or cry, etc, well, you will never have the opportunity. So New Yorkers have made an unspoken deal with one another: If I encounter you in a situation where your humanity can not be glossed over... if you're weeping unconsolably or talking about your sex life on your cell phone... if you're putting on your makeup on the subway or laughing out loud at a passage you've just read on your Kindle... I will look through you and pretend I didn't see it. It's not unkind or uncaring. No, it's the opposite. It's a peculiar sort of respect. It's recognizing that we live in close quarters, and we're human, and we experience things in those close quarters that aren't always pretty to behold. Don't get me wrong: If someone is truly and obviously in trouble, and a fellow New Yorker can help, they will. I'm talking about the smaller things. The things that we kinda wish we didn't have to show other people, but we've got no choice because of this beautiful, overcrowded urbanity in which we find ourselves.



Just because you hold your one hand in front of your face doesn't mean I can't see you picking your nose for days on end with the other. I can see it. I see you picking your nose. Please, please stop. I can't pretend about this one.


Laurie said...

How do you feel about coughing to cover up a fart? Because my Grandpa perfected that trick.

Paul Ericksen said...

That is hilarious! Where did you come up with that one?