What New York is like: III
This state is loud. Well, Manhattan is loud. I’ve been to the Bronx a few times to go to Target, I’ve been to Queens to a friends house for things like Star Wars first-time viewings and True Blood Season Premiere and I’ve been to the airport in Queens. I’ve been in Brooklyn once, to pick up my bed when I moved here. And what’s the other borough? OH Jersey. heh. I’m kidding. Staten Island, I believe. The one you have to take a fairy to get to. Haven’t been there yet. Haven’t been to Long Island or Roosevelt Island (and I’m told there’s good sushi there). SO. Manhattan is loud.
There really ARE sirens ALL the time. And no one stops to wonder where they are going because it could be an emergency, it could be lunch time– no idea. Most of us are under the impression they are needed somewhere to help someone. However much we are under that impression, we don’t move fast enough to get out of their way when they are coming. Yes. People still walk across the street with a screaming ambulance racing through the stop lights, just missing the stupid guy walking across the street. The cars do not move out of the way either. The drivers seem to look in their rearview mirror and then back at the traffic in front of them, and no one tries to get out of the way. Where would they go? Once in a while I’ll see the cars at least angle towards the right, as if to say “if I bothered or cared I’d move ‘this’ way, like I was taught in Driver’s Ed.” But for the most part, it doesn’t seem like any vehicles really get out of the way for the ambulances or fire trucks or police. They only pull over if they have met their destination. And sometimes I think about their karma ju-ju and shake my head and roll my eyes.
Car alarms really DO go off at all hours of the day and night. No one EVER does anything about them.
Helicopters are constantly, get that? CONSTANTLY, circling either for fun, or maybe looking for someone, like Ro said the other day. heh.
Taxi’s and gypsy cabs are honking their horns, even in the “no honking” zones. Yes, those really exist, it even says something like “$300 fine for honking” but you know what, I guess since the traffic and the honking, the police can’t actually GET to them to fine them. Shrug. Vicious circle. Also, the drivers of these cars (the yellow cabs and gypsy cabs) must go to a special drive-in-manhattan school because they all drive the same. And it’s crazy. And it often feels unsafe. They drive with intention, that’s fine. I’m sure it has something to do with making money, but you know what–it makes me motion sick. There is NO reason to hit the gas pedal hard to move fifteen feet forward, just so you can slam on the breaks before you hit the car in front of you. No reason. I once told my driver if he drove carefully, I’d double his tip. He did, and I made good on my word. But they are always swerving and speeding up and slamming on breaks and almost hitting cars and people–and everyone drives like this. Even “normal” people. normal as in, the people not driving cabs. I mean, in la la land I would drive with purpose as well, but you gotta watch out for idiots changing lanes without blinkers, speeding jackasses, car wrecks bla bla bla. These cab drivers do not care about the people in their car. They care about the money in your wallet or on your card. These are also the guys that anticipate the green light so much that their hand is on their car horn to honk at the person in front of them once it turns green, giving that person no time to remove their foot from the break and apply it to the gas. Impatient. They’re just impatient. And too aggressive for the most part. Some of them, however, DO stay on their side of the street. By the way while they are driving crazily they are playing bad music too loud or talking on their phones, on speaker phone. Yah. That.
People play their music Way. Too. Loud. And they play that music during all hours of the night as if to say “as a matter of fact I DON’T care if you are trying to sleep, because I don’t care about anyone or anything other than myself.” And no one calls the cops on them for disturbing the peace because, honestly, we don’t know where it’s coming from. It’s not in my building, it’s two buildings over on I-don’t-know which floor. So we deal. I deal. wah wah wah. People also enjoy their music while walking the streets and sidewalks of Manhattan, or while on the train, or while on the bus, or or or. SOME of them bother to wear headphones, NONE of which have it turned to a volume that only they hear. They have those headphones in, and BLAST their music so I have to hear it anyway. And it’s NEVER music I would enjoy. EVER. In fact, it seems to be music that I CAN’T EVEN STAND. This makes the bus ride or train ride longer for me because in addition to the overly loud conversation between the teenagers and their friends, the screeching of the rails of the train, I get to hear bad music. People also sing to their music players. That’s always fun too. It’s as if they don’t have any respect for the people around them–and they don’t. I know they don’t. And I choose my battles, but I’ve–often–asked people to turn down their music (of which all thus far have obliged, which was nice and shocking at the same time). I’ve told people to stop yelling, or stop smacking their kids of I’ll smack them. Yes, I have. I’ve looked at the guy next to me playing his music without headphones and said “do you have headphones?” and he’s said “no” and I have said “then turn it off, I don’t want to hear it.” And he looks at me as if to say “who they hell do you think YOU are?” Then I stare right back, giving him the “evil eye” and just waiting. Then he turns it down, I roll my eyes–but at least it’s not as loud as it was.
People talk on their phones on the bus. Now, this is not the worst of anything, I get that. And I’ve done it as well. I tend to cup my mouth over the phone to try to trap my voice close to me and my phone, and only long enough to answer a question or say I’m on my way home, or something like that. But there are people that will have a conversation on their phone as if they are trying to magically make a deaf person be able to hear. And they are not on the phone briefly. They are on it for my entire ride. Yes, I take it personally. They see me and think to themselves “oh! She’ll be ridiculously annoyed if I use my phone!! NOW I’ll call my sister in Georgia or in Harlem even though I haven’t spoken to her in a while and we’ll relive each and every birthday or holiday together! I’ll laugh and swear and use our special language that only we understand and I’ll do it until that girl gets off the bus!!” Yes, all of that–I just know it.
Shut those kids up. Now, gee that sounds mean doesn’t it? I mean…kids will cry and yell sometimes. They haven’t yet learned how to behave–or maybe they haven’t been taught either. But I’m convinced if you pay attention to them and what they are trying to convey then at least, eventually, they will calm down a bit. And this is a case by case thing, but what I’ve seen is the five year old (ish) yelling at his mom because he dropped his toy or the train floor, but the mom’s eyes are closed her headphones in (and yes blasting her music) and the only thing she is doing is telling the kid to shut-the-fuck-up. And if the kid tries to go get his toy, she yanks his arm–hard it looks like–and the kid NOW has another reason to cry. I’ve seen the binkies and bottles fall out of the the babies mouth and they don’t know where it is or how to put it back in their mouth and they are wailing with lungs of an opera singer–and the parent or person in charge of them ignores them to have their own conversation, or again listen to their music. Kids fight over toys on the bus and train. make them STOP and sit quietly. MAKE them, they are old enough to understand. Kids are running through stores yelling that they want this or that, grabbing stuff they could break, dropping it and breaking it, getting yelled at then crying because they got yelled at. I was raised to keep my hands to myself in the stores, not to yell at anyone while in the store but walk up to them to get their attention. I’m sure I cried about wanting stuff when I was little, my mom could probably fill you in on that, but you know what I didn’t get rewarded for it. I didn’t get a new toy to shut me up, or another piece of chocolate. Sometimes I’d get scolded, sometimes we’d just leave. But I was never rewarded or hit for making noise. Good job Maamm. Good job Dadda. And if you can’t take them out to the car–and in Manhattan this is a real thing–then take them somewhere else away from people. Discipline them. I didn’t say beat them. And no, I don’t have kids so “how would I know?” Well I have younger brothers that I babysat alot and nephews. Surely if my Maamm and friends and Sister can care for their kids–you can too.