An Open Letter to New Yorkers: It’s Time to Restore Your Rude Reputation

Dear New Yorkers,  I was warned about you when I first moved to the East Coast from the quaint town I grew up in. New Yorkers are rude, everyone told me. “They’re not like us, you won’t like it.” But after living here for almost six years now I’ve come to realize it’s not the […] The post An Open Letter to New Yorkers: It’s Time to Restore Your Rude Reputation appeared first on Robot Butt.

An Open Letter to New Yorkers: It’s Time to Restore Your Rude Reputation

Dear New Yorkers, 

I was warned about you when I first moved to the East Coast from the quaint town I grew up in. New Yorkers are rude, everyone told me. “They’re not like us, you won’t like it.”

But after living here for almost six years now I’ve come to realize it’s not the rude New Yorkers you have to watch out for. The Good Samaritans are the ones who ruin your day.

I’m not talking about the people who silently donate all their money to a good cause and go about their lives. You know the kind I’m talking about. The ones who come up behind you and tap you on your shoulder, as you were minding your own business, headphones on, right as you were about to start head banging to the chorus of your favorite song. Inevitably they proceed to look at your stunned and startled face and tell you something obscure, even innocuous, like, “hey, the bottom two inches of your left shoelace is loose.” As if you couldn’t feel that your fourth metatarsal was prone to just a little more wiggle in your usually-perfectly-laced sneakers than every other day.

But the worst, the worst, are the ones who feel the need to tell you about your bag. This morning was a perfect example. I hopped off the train, hurriedly shoving my book and gloves into my bag, while keeping my coffee from spilling. My phone charger hung out of the zipper, but I wasn’t worried. I’d tuck it in once I got off the train and had a minute to recollect.

While riding the escalator up from the platform I felt something tickle my leg, right behind my knee. I turn around to see that a woman, riding four steps behind to maintain social distance, had reached out to touch my leg. 

“You have a cord sticking out of your bag.”

I told her thanks and that I knew and that I was going to tuck it in once I got up the stairs, but I wasn’t thankful at all. Who touches your goddamn leg? I envisioned her walking to work with a warm heaviness in her heart, thinking she had done a great deed. Face smug with satisfaction. I saw her look at her phone and I imagined she would smile as she glanced down to text her hubby, convinced again that she is a good person and everyone must love to hear from her.

What did she think? That because four inches of my phone charger were hanging out of my bag I would never be able to charge my phone again? Perhaps she thought she was saving me from losing all social connection, unable to call friends and family at the touch of a button, without which I would surely lose the ability of speech and spiral into a dark psychological disorder. 

On another occasion as I was walking to work, someone tapped me on the shoulder to tell me my book bag was open. As I slung the bag over my shoulder towards my chest I saw what “open” meant. A two-inch gape between the zippers. I was annoyed, maybe even angry. Were they TRYING to start a conversation or did they just want to mess with me? What horror did they expect would befall me because of these two inches?

I assume it is because, as we all know, cobras are wont to fall into the bags of unassuming victims. After which, said cobra would crawl out once I had reached the office and bind me to the chair at my desk job. In the process I would, of course, be strangled. Which frankly would be a saving grace from the dull platitude of life that happens to all adults in the workforce. And if cobras were capable of cognitive thought (which as far as I know has yet to be proven) I doubt one would be caught dead between the four walls of a modern office building. The building in question inevitably flaunting some questionable artwork that looks like every other framed painting in every other office, as if proof that the higher-ups have achieved not only a welcoming environment but are stylish. 

This never happened to me in the Midwest, where people mind their own business. You are welcome to leave your book bag open in peace. Let everyone see that you dare to leave your biology textbook exposed to the elements as you walk from the parking lot to the band hallway. You risk-taker, you. Perhaps this is how New Yorkers prove to themselves that they are nicer than everyone gives them credit for. 

“Ah yes, see now, we’re welcoming, I just told that young girl I could see into her book bag. Not everyone is so nice; they might try to take advantage and see that she has some great sweaty running clothes ripe for the taking.”

Midwesterners, as a source of pride, mind their own business. Sure, this poses a problem when it means someone turns the other way when a child comes to school with bruises, but boy is it easier to enjoy your music there. Personally, I’d just prefer that New Yorkers stop being Good Samaritans and start living up to their rude reputations. 

In the meantime, I’ll just be here walking around with toilet paper sticking out the back of my waistband. 

Sincerely, 

A Harried Hoosier

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