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Why Do I Live Here?

July 28, 2011
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Originally posted 25 October 2007

MONDAY – After spending a lovely weekend in a fare city, in a faraway land called Virginia, I landed at LaGuardia, to be greeted by a taxi strike. It cost double and took twice as long as it usually does to get home. I had to share the ride with three other disgruntled travelers who chose to take out all of their anger and frustration on the driver. After about 20 minutes of enduring their misery, I finally piped up and asked them to leave the poor man alone. He’s just trying to feed his kids. My decision to stand up for this man was a risky one and to tell you the truth, it didn’t pay off. Not only did the disgruntled travelers turn their frustration and anger towards me, but so did the driver. He didn’t need no stinkin’ woman defending him. Well, pardon me.
TUESDAY – I went to my usual deli to get breakfast. I was standing in line waiting, and just as it was my turn, a suit walked in and started ordering in my place. The guy behind me got all upset on my behalf and I told him not to worry. It’s just breakfast. But then the woman who had been before me turned around and asked, “How can you let him do that to you?”. She was outraged. Not by him. By me. I said the same thing I’d told the other guy – it’s just breakfast. Clearly, the suit thinks he needs it more urgently than I do and I’m not going to pick a fight about it. She made that noise that people make in the back of their throat when they are disgusted – you know the one I’m talking about – ughcchchch. It was accompanied by a very dramatic eye roll followed by a look of pity that was mixed with more disgust and perhaps a dash of scorn. Well, excuse me. I’m sorry?
WEDNESDAY – I get on the bus to go home. At the next stop, an older woman gets on. She’s not old old, but she’s no spring chicken. She’s probably a grandmother and she looks a little unsteady. So, I offer her my seat. Would you like my seat, ma’am? She responds with, “What, I’m too old to stand?”. Deepest apologies, ma’am.
THURSDAY – I had a meeting at 10:30 with a woman who is a low-talker. Besides being a low-talker, she has the unfortunate affliction of not being able to match her facial expression to what she’s saying. So, she asked me a question. I didn’t hear her. I asked her to repeat herself. She asked me again. I was straining my ears to hear her, but it didn’t work out. I still had no idea what she was saying, and her facial expression was giving me no clues. (If I could have trusted her facial expression, I would have guessed that she was telling me that she’d gotten a whiff of something awful) So, I apologized, and asked her to repeat herself one more time. She responded by yelling, ” It’s 10:30 in the morning! Time to wake up! What’s the matter with you?”. I only wish she’d been able to muster that kind of volume when she was asking me if I needed anything.
FRIDAY – It’s pouring. It’s cold. It’s rush hour. Everyone is speeding down the sidewalk. Umbrellas are colliding, getting stuck one on the other. Owners of umbrellas are glaring at each other as their umbrellas collide. Control your umbrella, their looks say. The umbrella-less are glaring at the umbrella owners. Make your umbrella stop dripping water on me, is what their looks say. Walking through the streets of Manhattan with an umbrella is a blood sport, and I’m losing. These very same $5 umbrellas that we were all forced to buy from the guy on the street when we very foolishly left our houses without checking the weather forecast, will be scattered like dead carcasses on the streets and in the trash bins on the corners by morning. The wind will have destroyed them all. And then what will we glare at each other about? Huh? What?
Why do I live here?
No, seriously … why?
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