Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Episode 28: How to Walk in the City

When I was in college in Memphis, I got to go to New York City on a junior trip. I was in some big fancy building in Midtown and got on an elevator and was suddenly sort of pushed to the back by the crush of people before I could press the button for my floor. So I had to yell "hey, y'all, could y'all mash that number 27 button for me?" After the uppity sniggering at my accent and vocabulary had subsided, I vowed to never again look like a small-town tourist when in the big city. Sidewalk etiquette is where provincialism crops up the most, I think, unless you're German, in which case we all knew you were a tourist anyway because ever single German who has ever left Germany wears weird pants and funny shoes and is thus instantly identifiable. They should just put that on the German flag: Wir tragen seltsame Hosen und Schuhe lustig.*

That same trip, I was out late one night with my fellow travelers (underaged drinking at some Jamaican joint!) and on the way back to our hotel near Lincoln Center, we watched a homeless man drag a grand piano on casters out into the middle of the street, go through the motions of lifting up the tails of his imaginary tuxedo, sit down on his bench and proceed to play some fancy piece of music that my memory says was "Rhapsody in Blue" but was probably something else. At the end, we all applauded. Then he stood up, bowed and picked up the end of the rope attached to the piano and dragged the piano off into the night.

I think this is where I'm supposed to say "and now you know.....the rest of the story!" But I don't so I won't.

*Translation courtesy of iGoogle Translate so don't blame me if I just called you a stinky donkey.


Anonymous said...

You forgot one of the most important parts! "Walk to your right so oncoming pedestrians will be on your left."

Lisa said...

And don't do anything like look for your ID or Metrocard or finish up that phone conversation while standing right in front of a doorway or on the subway steps. People will push you RIGHT out of the way. I will.

Kitt said...

The same goes for airports. No, doubly so.