Is a New Yorker any specific kind of person really or have I just made it all up?
I’ve always told myself that they are loud and over-the-top and confident and strike up conversation at the drop of a hat. And these generalisations aren’t just based off tv; I’ve travelled here three times before and I think I know what I’m talking about.
But, on the subway today, a self-proclaiming homeless man (he actually got on and proclaimed it aloud to the rest of the passengers) plead for our money but there wasn’t one person on the subway who made eye contact with him, not even me (I’m a conformist moron). At IKEA yesterday, I had to basically nail my finger to a plank of wood to get ANY sort of reaction out of the ironically-named ‘Service Desk’ man. And no-one has yet to make random conversation with me which goes against any dream I’ve had of living out a romantic-comedy. How can I meet my soulmate serendipitously if he doesn’t start randomly talking to me at a bookshop cafe or on the subway platform?
So, are they in fact not as I imagined them? Are New Yorkers actually rude and arrogant? Are they secretly shy and insecure? Do they NOT like John Cusack movies?
The thing I should probably be asking myself is, why do I care? Why am I so eager to label them? Is this something we just naturally do as humans? Does it help us work ourselves out by working out other people first?
I’ve always done this; wanting to find similarities between people so that I can group them. For example, I try to guess everyone’s star sign and then put them in a nice little box in my brain with their fellow sign-buddies. I don’t know what it is, I like connection. I like making connections between people. I think it makes for belonging, to know that there are similarities between us. Maybe another more Jungian explanation is that labelling makes me feel in control of my life; everyone has a compartment and when I find evidence to support their being there, then all is right and tempered in my world.
Look, I’ve been here for less than a week – I reckon I’m gonna hold out on my definition of ‘New Yorker’ and revisit it at the end of my trip; it’s causing me more angst than I need at this point in time. Let me meet more of them…then I’ll be better able to judge. That’s how it works, right?
Note to self: life is more fun and engaging when you allow yourself to have purple motorcycle moments; that is, allowing yourself to be shocked and surprised by people rather than by having them live up to your expectations (whether these be in the form of their attitude, behaviours, choices etc.)