Wednesday, September 28, 2011
This morning I was scrambling to get to the subway (because you have to rush in New York, even if you're not late), when a broad-shouldered man in a white-T leered over and whispered "Hey beautiful, have a nice day." As usual, I averted my eyes awkwardly and quickened my stride -- getting hit on at 9 a.m. is neither flattering nor discriminating. But as I walked away, I had a big smile on my face.
If you've read my ode to rickshawvallas you know that I have a big time affinity for strangers. I like them less than my friends, but more than my acquaintances. I like the lady who held her umbrella over me for three blocks, and the guy in the laundry room who got all of my quarters out from under the machine with a pencil when they fell out of my hands three consecutive times. And I'm a little bit in love with a Moroccan cab driver who drove me home at 2 a.m., laughing the whole way.
Living in a city for the past couple of years has made me more susceptible to these chance encounters. Personal space gets compromised, even with those weird wooden separations on the train station benches. You get forced to do crazy things like read someone else's texts (guilty) and make a whole line of people wait to help bring a stroller up the stairs. But you also end up having to share things -- compliments and laughs and nervousness.
And if you're lucky, umbrellas.