A New York State Of Mind
I'm back in New York today. After a seven- month break (the longest of my adult life!), I'm excited to be back. I love Manhattan like locals who swear there's no place else they'd rather live. However, I think I only love it BECAUSE I don't have to live there. I love the city the way every tourist does, for its utter uniqueness and its energy.
There's something about the crush of humanity, the life among strangers, which makes me both exhilarated and exhausted.
When I arrive, I realize there is a certain code of conduct I'm expected to know and use.
I need to walk at a certain clip (fast). I must take my turn when hailing cabs (or endure some serious cursing). I should avoid eye contact when commuting (on the subway, bus, or walking in the streets).
I consider these the rules of moving among strangers which is probably why Philip Larkin's poem comes to mind. It's one of my favorites and always puts me in a New York state of mind.
I hope you enjoy it as well.
The eyes of strangers Are cold as snowdrops, Downcast, folder, And seldom visited.
And strangers' acts Cry, but vaguely, drift Across our attention's Smoke-sieged afternoons.
And to live there, among strangers, Calls for teashop behaviours: Setting down the cup, Leaving the right tip,
Keeping the soul unjostled, The pocket unpicked, The fancies lurid, And the treasure buried.
- Philip Larkin