The first words spoken to me when I returned to the States were by the immigration guy in San Francisco. “New York, huh? You live there? By choice?”
I marched on to baggage claim to wait 50 minutes for my bag to pop out. After a 1.5 hour delay because of “weather” in SF, we flew on to NYC. Once over the tri-state area I was flabbergasted by all the congestion. There are probably more people in the NY Metro area then the entire continent of Australia. Good word. Do they really need me here, too?
My bag arrived quickly this time. The airport was quiet as it was nearing midnight. I caught a cab for 20 miles that cost a fifth of my 10,000 mile flight to Sydney after being told that the supershuttle I’d reserved would require a 90+ minute wait. That’s the service one gets with a reservation? Sit until past 1:30am after 27hrs in transit? Welcome home. Imagine living in a place where someone can pick you up from the airport. Sigh.
When I loaded up on groceries the next night, after a few hours sleep and a full day of work, I tried to imagine someone in Australia rolling over my foot with a cart and not even looking up, much less apologizing. No. Wouldn’t happen. Yet here it’s commonplace, I grumped, as I flexed my crushed foot. At Fairway? It’s premeditated.
Some people love this and everything else about New York, but the older I get and the more I get out, I realize that it just isn’t normal, healthy, or pleasant. Unless you’re a millionaire, New York is an entirely uncivilized place to live. Yes, there are lots of nice moments. Like the MTA guy who let me in without paying because none of the vending machines were taking debit or credit cards and I needed to buy my monthly pass. And the baby seated next to me on the train home who grabbed my thumb and held it the rest of his ride, unbeknownst to his mother because of his puffy coat. But these don’t quite make up for the angry bodies pushing onto the trains and up the steps, not to mention the lack of infrastructure to handle so many people. Why weren’t the four machines taking cards anyway? One only took coins! People think they’re tough because they deal with this stuff all day. Bullshit. They’re numb. I know. It’s not a great way to be. Get out for a while and breathe. Stretch out. Relax. Ahhh.
Anyway, I get like this often, especially on return from a trip. Let’s hope I finally do something about it. And soon. Far too quickly I’ll be back to thinking it’s normal.