New York City suits me. From the second I stepped off an Amtrak train with my family in the summer of 1993 (we were coming to visit one of my college choices, good ol' NYU), I knew that this was where I belonged. I loved the non-stopness of Manhattan: the stores open twenty-four hours, the trains and buses running all day and all night, and the streets that always had some sort of life on them, no matter what time. I liked that people walked fast to get where they needed to be, even though until that point I had mostly relied on cars to get me to and fro. The idea that I could get to and fro - on trains, buses, or foot - appealed to me enormously. The downside of all this hustle and bustle is the flow of traffic. In order to really work, people need to follow some basic rules of thumb. For walking, that is to keep to your right. For trains and buses, it is to step into the mode of transit and move the fuck toward the middle of the train or back of the bus so others can fit. Also, if you are standing near the door when the train comes to a station, move out of the way, even if it requires stepping out for a moment, so others can get off. Oh, and wait for the damn people to exit before pushing your ass onto the train. Simple.
One of my top pet peeves is people who cannot manage to follow these guidelines. It is impossible to walk down a sidewalk when people are streaming in all directions, or standing like a lump in front of a door so people can't get in our on the train. There are eight million residents, and millions of visitors every day. We need to synchronize or everything comes to a halt.
Once I met a new person who I thought might become a new friend. We took a long walk together, and she veered repeatedly, for no reason, to the left side of the sidewalk. I knew immediately, just as I knew immediately that New York City and I were going to get along splendidly, that I could not be friends with this woman.
This is serious business.