Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Despite their generally fearsome reputation, not all New Yorkers are assholes. Most, in fact, are not.

In the interest of fairness, I will state right up front that I am not an entirely disinterested party. I grew up in New York, in that vast tract of suburbia that surrounds the City That Never Sleeps. Despite the fact that I have lived elsewhere most of my life (and have thus developed the ability to view New York from the 50,000 foot perspective), I am always skeptical of those who see Empire Staters and NYC dwellers as nought but a nasty, brutish mob.

But there is that stereotype of the brusque, surly New York denizen... and like all stereotypes, it is based on a few factual observations that, just as a grain of sand stimulates the growth of a pearl, generate a certain sort of hyperbolic embellishment.

Nevertheless, as I stated at the outset of this post, not all New Yorkers are assholes - whether you buy into that unfortunate stereotype or not. Here’s evidence:

The Mistress of Sarcasm, even as I write these words, is enroute from her northwestern Connecticut home to Long Island, where she will meet me at The Other Elisson’s place. It’s a challenging enough drive for anyone, even those familiar with the territory, owing to the plethora of confusing road signs, ridiculous amounts of traffic, and the spaghetti-like maze of roads that wind around New York, the nexus through which she must pass. But the Mistress is not (to be charitable) a model of Navigational Capability... and so the trip poses an even greater level of difficulty. Thank goodness for modern satnav devices: If not for the Garmin or its electronic ilk, the Mistress would be in a Bad Way.

Which is where she found herself when her Garmin crapped out. Fortunately, I was in easy cellphone reach, and with my own phone’s route-finding abilities, I was able to put her on the right track.

So here she is, in massive New York traffic, queued up at the tollbooths for the Throgs Neck Bridge. As is so often the case, cars and trucks jockey for position... and correcting a bad lane choice (exact change vs cashier vs electronic pass) is next to impossible. A nearby van evidently found itself in just such a situation, but the Mistress, being the polite young woman the Missus and I raised her to be, let it in ahead of her.

When she reached the tollbooth, she found that the guy in the van had paid her toll. That’s six and a half simoleons, not a trivial amount. Unless maybe you’re Mitt Romney. Yowza!

So: New Yorkers. Tough and a bit surly on the outside, but at least a few of ’em have got warm, melty centers.


Kevin Kim said...

Imagine seven million people all wantin' to live together. Yeah, New York must be the friendliest place on earth.

--Crocodile Dundee

K-nine said...

I have found new York to be a fairly amiable place. Me with my surly demeanor strange dress and very notably southern accent have met and made aquantence of a veriety of new yorkers.
The pretty young Jewish girl I shared a subway ride with who explained Purim to me.
The feisty Italian guy who gave me a plastic cup of wine just because I happened to be in his thrift shop at lunchtime and that's what he was drinking.
The hundreds of people who wanted to pet the jacks as we wandered the city.
The big Irish construction guys who paid my tab because I had them all laughing at the pub.
A blog murderer and great photographer we both know from Brooklyn.
Most of the surly people, in my opinion, are from elsewhere and just live there now.