Monday, April 26, 2010

Cheek By Jowl-A Rant

I live in New York City, and have lived here basically all my life, and I've grown up with all the inherent baggage that comes with that, the New York accent (which I struggle to defeat), the New York quickmouth, the ability to drive in city traffic and not be panic stricken, the concept of that small area of private space that we all carry and that nobody enters, the knowledge that I live and have always lived in what I think of as the city of finalists. We understand the concept of "lead, follow, or get out of the way."
Lately though, I'm not so sure.
I am dismayed by the number of private conversations to which I have become an unwitting and unintended party. I use a cellphone as much as the next person, but try to keep my voice down or cut calls short when I'm on the subway or the bus. But I know so much more about people's lives than I ever wanted to, whether they're talking to their parents, their children, their lovers or spouses, their employees or employers. And I'm so not interested in the details of your lives, your pithy evaluation of your date over the weekend, the argument you're having with someone else, the way you're tearing someone a new one because they didn't finish some task you set for them. It goes on in elevators, on the street as I walk, in the bathroom, in every conceivable location---I'M NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR PRIVATE LIFE, DON'T INCLUDE ME IN IT.
We also have our own pedestrian version of driving while texting---texting while walking down a crowded city sidewalk. It's not as life threatening as blackberry use while driving, but it's equally dangerous, as a multitude of citizens now walk down the street with their heads down and their thumbs a-flashing. GUYS, IT'S THE SAME AS DRIVING AND TEXTING, LITERALLY TAKING YOUR LIFE (AND MINE) INTO YOUR OWN HANDS---HEADS UP!!!
And don't get me started on the people who seem to think that they're centurion sentries, and stand in the subway doors and don't move as the doors open, only tilt their bodies somewhat sideways to allow others to squeeze on and off.
But enough ranting and raving. I'm back to posting, and I DO have stories to tell.