Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rules That Don't Apply in NYC

Yesterday I was speedily crossing a busy street, daring the blinking red hand in the sign in front of me, when the blinking red hand became a solid red hand. My speedy walk turned into a scurry, and at that time, I noticed the old lady with the walker walking across the same street, with the same solid red hand staring at her, a car rushing towards her. She took two tiny steps with each forward push of her walker, between each of the two tiny steps a lingering two seconds, and between each push of her walker and the next pair of steps, a lifetime.

The car continued to barrel towards her. My southern manners kicked in, and I abruptly stopped running, turned around, and approached the frail woman with the walker.

"Ma'am? Can I help you?" I said as sweetly as possible with the ever-looming car in my peripheral vision. But instead of hearing the expected thin, cracking voice of an old, tired woman, my hospitality was met with a high-pitched, nasally, and very...VERY loud voice, spoken with the best of New York accents (of which I will spare you in my writing),

"No! NO! GO ON! GO ON! GET OUTA' HERE!!" She miraculously moved one hand from the handle of her walker and waved me away.

"Ok, ok! I'm goin'!" I ran out of the middle of the street and walked the long avenue block toward my friend's apartment. As I reached the end of the block, I looked behind me to observe the situation. The old woman was only three-quarters of the way across the street. Push. (Wait) step...step. (Wait) Push. (Wait) step...step.

That'll teach me to help old ladies cross the street. I mean, what was I thinking? How RUDE of me.


The Cachinnator said...

I once held a door for a lady in NYC. As she walked past me she said, "I can do that for myself!"

I'd had enough at that point. It wasn't my first such encounter and I was on my way home from a long day's work. My patience was a little thin. It was even thinner considering that I didn't expect to be snarked at for doing something nice.

So I proceeded to yell at her back in the same tone with which she addressed me, "I know! That's why it's considered a gesture of kindness!

Numerous onlookers laughed. I just kept holding the door for a few more people to cool down. Then I went about my business like everyone else.

Don't let NYC poop on your soul.

Discontented Refuge said...

yah, keep it up.

(was Seth's post earlier today a spoof? April fools?)

Seth Ward said...

No, just needed to tell a few more people before I posted that. A few that should be told in person... sniff, sniff...

MamasBoy said...

How will a couple of polite Texans survive in NYC?

The Stan said...'s the old hag's loss. Don't let it turn you into a meanie. (I suspect that maybe the woman was exaggerating it a bit because she knows it pisses off the drivers! I can just imagine all the NYC drivers honking and cursing at her! Hell, I'd be annoyed if I was forced to wait through several light cycles because an old lady was holding up traffic!)

Anyway, I think Alba & I will pay you guys a visit up in NYC come December. I haven't been in ages, Alba's never been, and Matt & Shelley are just an hour away from there.

Seth Ward said...

I hate to say it, but something about that is endearing to me. I prefer it to an old woman who whines and moans and sits in her chair all day waiting to die.

However, anyone who is meant to my baby can bugger off.

kddub said...

that stinks! It's never cool when you try to do something nice, and get a mean response! I guess you'll need to look out for those old ladies when you move there... (congratulations, how exciting!)

Matt and Shelley said...

CLASSIC! I once offered my seat on the subway to a large woman older than myself. I thought it was the polite thing to do, but by the look she gave me (and the scoff) I could tell that she thought I was only giving it to her because she was on the larger side. That was only PART of the reason! I was also just trying to respect my elders!

I like what the chachinnator said: "Don't let NYC poop on your soul." Haha, it's true. It's pooped on my soul a few times, but you just gotta brush it off, smile and enjoy what's great about NYC.

I know you won't lose your sweet spirit, Fancy! NYC could use a few more people like you, so it's good that you and Seth are moving there! Congratulations, and I can't wait to meet you!

Chaotic Hammer said...

When you live in a place where people are constantly in close quarters, and the pace is frenetic, these harsh manners and lack of people-skills seem to be the natural way of dealing with it for most people.

I understand what Seth means about there being something endearing about it.

FancyPants said...

"Don't let NYC poop on your soul."

It's going on my bathroom mirror.

How will a couple of polite Texans survive in NYC?

With lots of prayer and lots of faith, and fortitude and hope.

The Stan, come on up!

Shelley, can't wait to meet you, too!

Kddub and DR, thanks!

Seth, tell that old woman to bugger off and she'll beat you with her walker.

FancyPants said...


Endearing...maybe, or....crazy would work, too.

Baca's Head said...

Ha ha! I laughed like that when I read this