What many people don’t like about New York City, is that there are too many people. It takes focus to walk down a street and maneuver past all kinds of bodies going right, left, stopping, slowing down or speeding up. But this is precisely what I like! I love being in a crowd. My favorite is the subway at rush hour. I enjoy the idea of being compressed amongst the hundreds of bodies on the subway train with the blank or tired sagging faces turned in different directions trying not to slip and fall. I like to stand my ground while other bodies push me about. Everyone is fighting for their body’s room, and one has to be assertive about claiming space at peak times. This arouses in me a love for the city because I see, and literally feel life gushing and pulsating around me. Sometimes you can feel the heat of the person next to you and realize how close you are to a stranger: closer than you can get anywhere else without it being socially unacceptable. I smile when the conductor yells to not hold doors for the last few people that squish into the subway train instead of waiting for the next train because this shows that, yes, there really is an overwhelming amount of people, of life. And I am more interested in the idea of confinement in the subway, reminding me that I am alive, over the confinement of a coffin, alone and dead.
I really like how careless people are in public. New Yorkers have seen and heard so many odd things about so many people that odd things don’t capture their interest as easily as the rest of America. People dress more unusually or wear crappy old clothes and others don’t pay much attention to that. There are so many people and everyone is so busy and in such a rush that others don’t have time and energy to care about each individual as much. And in a way I like the idea of this. I like the fact that one can go about their business without others wondering who this person is, why he’s dressed like this, or what he is up to. You go into a store for a chips and beer, and the cashier doesn’t really care about you. He serves you quickly, because there is likely another customer behind you, and that’s another dollar. To him you are just another buyer. I think it’s great when strangers don’t care about your business because it allows you to be yourself, not attract attention, and not think about what they think about you. You don’t have to answer to “Hi, how are you? Did you find everything you were looking for today?” Everyday encounters aren’t elevated to special occasions the way they are in small towns. You can simply be an object to others; another number in the city.