Monday, April 4, 2011

The Kid's Still Got It

Alone on the NYC subway? Sorrrrt of creepy.
Six months & a handful of days ago, I packed my bags, loaded up an abductor van U-Haul & moved out of DC, which had been my home for three excellent years. In the past six months, I:
  • Moved in with my mom in Ohio
  • Freelanced for a hometown news outlet
  • Moved in with my boyfriend in New Hampshire,
  • Got a job that entails working from my living room

All of these podunk-sounding life changes, combined with the fact that I own a cat & have begun geocaching in the woods, might lead one - one like you, let's say - to question whether I've lost my city smarts in favor of becoming a country mouse.

The answer to that question is no, I haven't, & now I've got proof.

I spent the last week in New York City, & I'm proud to announce that, as the title of this post suggests, there's no groove to get back. It was never lost, just temporarily shelved.

While in New York this time around, I did a number of things I'm proud of. I:
  • Spent an evening in Harlem, which I accessed via subway & not cab - brave!
  • Slept in a hostel situated on a street corner rife with verbal disagreements that included lines like, "I AIN'T GONNA GET ARRESTED FOR THIS SHIT!"
  • Successfully navigated the subway from my friend's apartment on the Upper West Side to my office near Grand Central
  • Took a crosstown city bus from one friend's apartment to another, luggage in tow, then transferred to a nearby subway station
  • Only got stuck in the turnstiles with my luggage once, as opposed to the four times I got stuck on my last visit

    BONUS: In case you're wondering how can a suburbanite like myself makes her way in the big city, I come bearing guidance!
    • Don't hesitate. Look like you know what you're doing, even if you're not sure you so. If you walk a block in the wrong direction, you will live. Just turn around & fix your mistake. But if you look around nervously before you make turns, you will inevitably get flustered. And also annoy people.

    • If you must hesitate, do it elsewhere. It's OK to not know what you're doing or to get turned around. As a master of getting lost, I'm constantly struggling to read Google Maps, pull up my subway app, figure out what the eff I'm doing, etc. But when I need to take a breather & reorient, I step to the side or duck into a corner, someplace where I'm not going to act as a roadblock to every busy, bustling New Yorker trying to go about his daily business. In other words, move over.

    • Look kind of angry. Angry people do not bite their lower lip in confusion. Angry people do not look doe-eyed at strangers hoping they'll stop & offer up directions unprovoked. Angry people do not get distracted by architecture or the height of the Chrysler Building. Walk with purpose, & even New Yorkers will believe that you're a New Yorker. Or... at least not a proud suburbanite with a crippling fear of public transportation.

    • Act kind of nice. Asking for directions is totally allowed, as long as you choose the right person to ask. Go for someone who looks A) trustworthy, B) knowledgeable, and C) not in a hurry. Nearly everyone who fits these criteria will be happy to point you in the right direction. Literally.
    Also? Keep your eyes open. There is much to be seen:

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