Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Task in New York for Tomorrow

People in New York are funny. They are actually friendly when you engage them in conversation about some relevant topic or when you are the subject of their service, but overall without the pretense of a focussed topic they ignore you. Such is life in a megalopolis, I suppose. For example, when you pass some one in the street here, the usual interaction is to say nothing. You huddle up and scurry on your way.

This suits me well. I generally dislike such trifling acknowledgments of our existence, and, I assume like most New Yorkers, just want to get about my business.

I feel compelled, however, to change my ways in the city that suits me so well (being the rude, un-noticing son of bitch I can be), and tomorrow I shall greet every person on my path in a friendly manner.

Perhaps this is noticing the difference between where I live and here. No. No. No. It is not that Salt Lake is the bastion of friendliness--in fact it is not. It is the fact that here you have the Salt Lake problem of being rude to your passers by so massively evident. In Salt Lake, however, at least you have someone who recognizes the problems of a homeless person (I've only met one so far in this visit to New York) or even a hobbling old lady. In SLC there would be at least some help for the old lady. The homeless folks, however, face a harder time. You know, ultimately, that may be why beggars are so far and few between in modern New York: there is very little tolerance for poverty or for beggars. They don't fit in the scheme. They don't survive her because the people don't tolerate everyday courtesy.

Zow. (No offense, New York, but as the song says "I love you but your are bringing me down.")

Ok, Ok, so what't the plan as I finish my Convention attendance here in the greatest city in the world? "Hello!" I shall say to the unwitting tenement dweller in my unfortunate neighborhood. "How's it going?" I will ask of the tourist hauling her luggage to Penn Station. I will give my change to whoever asks for it.

It is easy to forget the simple courtesies while living in such a large city. Yes it protects us. (As I know as a resident of a not-so-large city), but it also anesthetizes use from living. The difference between San Francisco (which abounds with beggars) and New York is vast. I feel compelled to write about that difference and what it really means. That is for latter, however.

But, Hello! How are you doing? Thanks for stopping by. Would you like something to drink?


  1. Will there be video? This could be an entire documentary, you know. I admire this challenge and would very much like to hear how it goes.

  2. No, thanks for asking, there will be no video.

    When did common courtesy get highjacked by fucking business?

  3. I have my theories and maybe I'll share at a later time.