(Photo: Stuart Richards/Flickr)
New York, they say, is cruel. It’ll chew you up and spit you out.
Quite often, “they” are dead on.
Says the city:
Sorry, you can’t have this apartment. Or that one. And don’t even THINK about that one there.
The dating pool? That’s not for you, girl. That’s Chelsea. You jump in over HERE, right between the Ashley Madison guys and the Amish gentlemen violently allergic to cheese and shellfish. No, no, no, normcore. You’re too old, honey.
You’re lucky, though. I’m sure you really like that cool job you have. You’re so happy I bet you won’t even see it coming when they downsize. Remember: Layoffs happen just before the holidays. Remember when it happens, we told you so.
Sometimes it feels like this place really has it in for us.
The other thing they say about New York? The people won’t bat an eye if they see something situationally askew. Naked man eating a banana in the Village? That’s not news. Giant bear bounding out of a Central Park West building? Meh.
So when you, my dear, shed a few tears, it’s doubtful this will even register with our de-conditioned, staring-at-cell-phones residents.
That’s what they say.
There were times I tried to pass my weepiness off as allergies, or having “just read a touching email” or laughing until I cry.
But I quickly got to the point where I just didn’t care, figuring that pretty much no one else did, either. So for times when those demons in your head make your eyes rain, here are a two good places to be:
- Penn Station and/or Grand Central Terminal at rush hour. If you aren’t crying here, you’re the one who will stand out.
- CitiField is a great place to cry. It was created to be a supportive environment for those used to disappointment.
But when I ventured my weepy eyes outside of these few obvious places, something odd happened. People noticed. And… trembling lip… they cared.
I wiped out after running in Riverside Park. And I was crying. Three women stopped, lifted me off the active path and poured their bottles of water out on my cuts and scrapes.
When I shed a tear over a martini in my favorite Italian restaurant, the owners brought me Kleenex, bought me dinner and let me vent about that dang shellfish hater.
Kinda reminds me of the old Shel Silverstein poem, “Nobody,” which is from A Light in the Attic:
“Nobody loves me, nobody cares,
Nobody picks me peaches and pears.
Nobody offers me candy and Cokes,
Nobody listens and laughs at me jokes.
Nobody helps when I get into a fight,
Nobody does all my homework at night.
Nobody misses me,
Nobody thinks I’m a wonderful guy.
So, if you ask me who’s my best friend, in a whiz,
I’ll stand up and tell you NOBODY is!
But yesterday night I got quite a scare
I woke up and Nobody just WASN’T there!
I called out and reached for Nobody’s hand,
In the darkness where Nobody usually stands,
Then I poked through the house, in each cranny and nook,
But I found SOMEBODY each place that I looked.
I searched till I’m tired, and now with the dawn,
There’s no doubt about it-
Love or hate New York. Your pick. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself with more caring folks around you than you might expect. They might be anonymous, they might be a safe crying audience, but they’re there.
In the city that never sleeps, there’s no doubt about it: Nobody’s gone.