New York and I barely tolerate each other anymore. It’s too concrete, yet illusory. It’s a simulacrum of itself.
Friday Eve on the D train a woman steps on holding a book entitled, “Feign Thyself.” The cover image is a torso portrait, proud and exuberant, of the author.
New York is a comparatively “grounded” place. You cannot help but feel attached to Earth whilst rapt in rock. Cement and hard ground are the uprisings of the spirit of this place as it has come to be. The buildings are the monuments to the sky; the subways a burrowing system, ant colony, gopher extraordinaire rodent tunnels. A city known for its rats, everyone has their own little hole and corner, tucked away in rows and systems of mazes, turns, and hideaways. The city seems to run as its own living entity. They say that New York City never sleeps. This is a farce – the city itself may not sleep, but if you have ever tried functioning between the hours of 3 and 5, you may find that the only fellows you have are the rats, and their human namesakes, themselves. Yet, the automation lives on. Even when the police force struck itself off, things go off without a snag. Chaos exists, of course, but New Yorkers step right over it, like long legs over a destitute sign-flier, not even missing a beat of stride.
It’s a city for an observationist. There is no short of signs, patterns, protocol, sound, or emotional input. The sheer variety of people one is exposed to in a short ride through a major subway line is enough to take one through the entire human condition in less than 20 minutes.
New Yorkers are known for not smiling at each other. People here know that a look in the eyes may be a battle challenge, and it just simply isn’t done. It may seem cold, or inhumane even, but there is a very good reason for it – the constant input and numbers of people mixing is very hard to bear. We haven’t evolved to make contact with so many people. Tribes are only supposed to be able to handle about 150 members. To make contact with so many people in a day is enough to drive a person insane, which is why the only ones that do, are the ones who are in motley or rags on the street corners. They’ve already crossed over. They’re already dead. Most though, have to stay in their own little world. There’s no other way to remain safe. Duck, cover, and get there fast.
NYC lesson #1: Get The Fuck Out Of The Way.