I’ve been an official New York City resident for a little under two months now, but this is my second round living the life as a working New Yorker. I was here three years ago as an intern at Marie Claire magazine, and it was the most magical experience of my life. To this day, I refer to it as “the first time I lived in New York” because I still believe that, even though I was here only temporarily, I lived everyday as if I was a true resident of this beautiful, glittering city of dreams.
You see, now I’m slowly beginning to realize where my transition into a “true New Yorker” is happening. As opposed to the last time, when I had an expiration date to my time in the city and I packed my bags and went back to good ol’ Texas at the end, this time I’m becoming more and more desensitized to the little nuances of life in New York City. It wasn’t until the other day until this epiphany hit me like a rumbling subway train that I realized I just wasn’t noticing any outward behavioral change. But everyday I’m zipping through crowds (always in a hurry), getting irritated by people in my way and scowling a lot more than I used to — and then it hit me…
I’m starting to develop the New York Angst, and worse — I’m paying it forward!
Now, one thing I want to clarify very thoroughly is: I do not support the stereotype that “all New Yorkers are rude” because 1. I don’t support stereotypes, period. And 2. this one, in particular, is simply not true. But, I do believe, now, that there is such a thing as the New York Angst, and it’s commonly mistaken by its more well-known cousin, Rudeness.
So, what is this New York Angst, you ask? Well..I think it’s the built up residual mess of these scenarios right here:
- It’s the annoyance of hearing sirens, incessant honking and a variety of other city noises blaring through your window first thing in the morning.
- It’s the stress of having 25 seconds to cross the street at every block — and still having the fear you’ll be run over by massive busses because they think the 10 ft between you and the curb is plenty for them to squeeze through.
- It’s the panic of fitting in the subway at the last second before it leaves (with about 75 other frenzied commuters) without the doors shutting and severing your limbs cleanly off.
- It’s the disgust of having someone’s smelly pits in your face (when it’s 100 degrees outside) as they hang on for dear life during the hair-raising ride in the underground roller coaster that’s called the Subway.
- It’s sad realization every time you look down at your paycheck that — yet again — New York state and New York City is robbing you of all your money.
- And lastly — it’s the angsty moods, cutthroat attitudes and scowls of every person you pass by in New York City that rub off on you that make you feel the same way and want to pay it forward to the next innocent passerby.
I’ve realized that in a city where we’re constantly bumping into each other — quite literally — it’s so easy to pay our angst forward, and that’s exactly what’s happening! New Yorkers aren’t rude — they’re (we’re?) just angsty, and it’s easy to be when you’re living in a high-stress, fast-paced environment that’s also highly contagious.
So, sorry for being angsty, guys! Someone bit me with the New York Angst bug…