I don’t spend a lot of time being scared of my surroundings in the city. Perhaps I’m naive, but I carry my pepper spray (when I remember it) and watch my surroundings and usually I feel pretty safe. That said, there are a certain number of things that I deal with here that are just downright scary. Would you like to hear about them?
One. I get so nervous in turnstiles. Am I alone in this fear? I don’t too much mind the spacious ones big department stores have where you could practically lie down and take a nap in each compartment, but there is another much more menacing kind practically peppering the subway system. Tiny little metal grates they are, many of them old beyond the point of good function. Squeaky, hard to turn, cramped, awful little things. Now that may not sound too scary to you, but here’s what always gets me. What if someone comes into the compartment directly behind me and pushes so hard he nips my heels? Whenever I feel a push behind me, you wouldn’t believe how I hurry to get out of those prison bars. How do more people not break into a cold sweat at the sight of these terrifying devices?
Two. Speaking of the subway system, can we take a minute to discuss the floors in the stations? When I spends two hours commuting to and from work every day, I cannot help speculating about just what is one the floors I am walking on. Especially in the stations outside of Manhattan, the floors are covered in veritable polka dots of black upon gray. And the only thing those little black circles could be is wads of someone’s chewed gum, covered in years of grime, and if I think about it too hard it’s incredibly gross. Mostly I’m able to ignore the polka dots though, unlike the next terrifying issue…
Three. The smell of the elevators in the subway. They smell like a room would smell if used for the sole purpose of potty-training a passel of little boys and never cleaned. Ever. Have you ever paused to consider that smell? The good thing is that the smell can be avoided by using the stairs, or so you would think. But sometimes you’ll casually be sitting on a bench waiting for your train and an overwhelming smell of urine sweeps over you, and you think, what did I inadvertently sit in immediately before heading to my fancy event with fancy Manhattanites and will I also smell like this for the rest of the day? The struggle is real, man.
Four. The price of Oreos here is just uncool. And so I lived an Oreo-less life, bland and unchocolatey, until one day with great joy I found a place that sold them at North Carolina prices. So this fear of an Oreo-less future has passed, thanks be, but if you ever come here and find yourself in a similar quandary, let me know and I will share my secrets.
Five. And now let me bare my soul for a moment and tell you something that’s actually scary about my move (Ok, I’m legit a little scared of the turnstiles too), and if you have ever moved to a far off place away from everyone who knows and loves you, you’ll understand this. I keep doing this with my life, first with my family to Honduras where we spent six very lonely years and then I up and hove off to Illinois for a school year where I knew one person and here I am doing it again in New York City. I don’t know why my life keeps ending up like this, but it appears I have a propensity toward these drastic life turns. But here’s what happens when you’re gone from your community. You lose your place. People change and move and get married without you there, and even worse, people you love have struggles and issues and you’re too far away to do anything about it except worry and pray, and it sucks. I was mentally braced for the loneliness of the move, but somehow I forgot to prepare myself for people changing without me there (even though you’d think I know this by now with my life history) and it’s caught me a bit by surprise. It’s a scary and unsettling thing to not be needed, even though I have a suspicion it’s terribly good for me.
And now to reassure you a bit before I sign off so I don’t have worried messages peppering me- I usually can find an option aside from the turnstiles, I’m probably developing an immune system of iron from all the germs and smells around me, I have located affordable Oreos, and I’ve made a couple of friends. This past week I got to spend TWO evenings with people that I sort of know which was such a nice break from spending nearly all my free time with strangers, and today I’ve spent all day with an acquaintance-turning-friend, eating and coffee shopping and church hopping. So all in all, the Lord provides. 🙂