Kansas vs. New York

Thursday, August 15, 2013

You should see the look on people's faces when I say I moved to Lawrence, Kansas from New York City.  It very closely resembles the look on people's faces when I told New Yorkers I was moving to Kansas.  Except that the Kansas folks are sort of fascinated by the whole thing, and New Yorkers think you are kidding.  Both of them, for the most part, don't quite understand what life is like for the others.

Every time someone asks how long I was in the city, I feel such mixed reactions about responding.  Partly a little heartbroken that I'm not still there.  Partly angry at the ones who hear my answer and comment on how I got out just in time.  Partly relieved by the knowledge that New York did change me...and definitely made me a New Yorker.

New Yorkers love to talk about what makes you a real New Yorker.  It's their favorite pastime.  Some mark the accomplishment by years (one? five? ten?).  Others mark city-dweller status by accomplishment of life milestones.  Case in point...

In my personal experience, I would add the following:
  • Falling asleep on the subway without ever missing your stop
  • Overhearing people in other states discussing how fast you walk
  • Ability to change subway cars in between performers boarding the car and beginning their show
  • Surviving major natural disasters in the city
  • Ordering takeout from an iPhone app in order to avoid talking to actual people
  • Viewing tourists as an obstacle to be dodged when walking through the theater district...or Fifth Avenue...or Rockefeller Center...or anywhere else in midtown
  • Newfound fear of silence when visiting the suburbs
  • Insistence on giving the cab driver specific directions
  • Failure to notice socially awkward things that tourists gawk at (like the Naked Cowboy, Santa Con, pant-less subway riders, crazy people, etc.)
  • Ability to justify $40 yoga classes and $400 haircuts
  • Sitting next to a celebrity at dinner and no one noticing
  • Finding out that a particular celebrity enjoys the same dry cleaners/deli/ice cream shop/bookstore that you do
  • Crying on the steps of a brownstone belonging to a total stranger
  • Sharing a cab with a friend of a friend of a friend who you just met
  • Brunching for six hours (or more)
  • Bragging about leaving the city for the weekend
  • Relief of returning to the city after weekends away
  • Recognizing random corners in TV shows as the tiny deli in your neighborhood
  • Forgetting how to drive or put gas in a car
  • That skeptical, creeped out feeling you get when someone is nice to you
Which brings us back to Kansas.  These people are way too nice here.  And it is really quiet.  And my coworkers make me slow down when we walk across campus.  

And mostly...when they say "subway" they mean a sandwich.  

Who are these people?

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