I can bet that just about everyone has dreamt of living in New York City. Whether it’d be a good fit or not is a different problem, but for me, I think it just works. I know it’s only been a week and some change since I landed at LaGuardia in a complete haze that I get to live this dream (albeit for only three months), but I know when I find something I like it.
People are constantly in a rush to be somewhere else. The pace of life is nothing like the midwest where I’ve grown up. New York’s streets hide absolutely nothing. The candor of ‘locals’ trashing on all of the touristy sites, MTA, and Jersey is refreshing.
My morning commute is less than 30 minutes door to door. Which is spectacular! What is less so enthralling with the mundane daily routine is the ride back home afterwards. The train cars have clumps of people strung together by the doors rushing to make the 6:08pm train uptown, while those seated and hanging onto the railings between doors are in a state between comfortable and wariness. I myself am a good subway passenger, getting up for those who need my seat more than myself, and confining my existence into a space only envied by a package of sardines. Yet, I’m left with the unknown ‘right’ response to someone who is taking up space that could also be occupied by someone else, or the person incessantly coughing at stops into the hand they are using to hold onto the railings.
The mob mentality of New Yorkers is to simply ignore. Tuned out to the rest of the world via wireless headphones blasting the latest Beck album or the guilty pleasure podcast. Typically paired with some mindless knockoff of Bejeweled or Candy Crush. I choose to follow the crowd by defaulting to an overplayed playlist of last year’s jams, followed by the blank staring of the overhead bed sheets ad plastered in the entire car.
My office is incredibly quiet for how many people there are. Desks are separated with partitions that isolate the neighboring work stations only if seated. There is the occasional quip of making a deadline to a co-worker or conferring over a model of the museum’s rotunda. This condition is of my concern in that part of my internship entails answering phone calls, in fact, many calls. Then again, the office is a reflection of the preference to work ‘separately’ by communicating through your computer’s work-approved instant messenger program or phone extensions than face to face. Which I fully approve of quite honestly. I don’t even have to state when exactly I’ll take my lunch (which is allotted an entire hour) or if step away from my desk for a 15 minute break. This work environment, unsure if it is similar to other NY offices or its own situation, just works.
Amidst the throngs of homeless people and flashy business folks playing chicken on the sidewalk while they check their emails – I find a peaceful balance of the hustle and bustle. My 9′ x 13′ private room is my safe haven. The weird noises from my pipes and radiator, traffic at my doorstep – honking and sirens aplenty, barking from the tiny rat of a dog that lives across the street, have all become white noise. They now lull me to sleep instead of stirring me awake at 4:30am.
Sure, I have not yet explored beyond my little bubble. In my favor, the spring weather and timing of completing my thesis will go hand in hand for my plans to escape the artificiality of Herald Square in my backyard come March. Let’s just hope my wallet is willing to accept the fate of having the world of food at my fingertips and discounted admission to museums across the city.