Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Yorkers, revealed.

One of the many reasons I had avoided NY for so long was my perception of the New York personality: loud, obnoxious, pushy.

I haven't met any of those people yet.

I'm afraid that I may jinx myself if I list what I have actually found, but I was raised to tell the truth. So, yes, I have been surrounded by kind, polite, friendly people, many of whom have made an extra effort to help me when I most needed it.

There is the cable guy who spent an hour more than he had planned in order to fix some faulty wiring he found.

The superintendent who stayed several hours in order to install a deadbolt that refused to be installed.

The hostess at the local diner who keeps a drawer stocked with lollipops for the neighborhood's children.

The staff at the gym who never fail to greet me or wish me a good day.

The man who stopped and asked if I needed help when I pulled out a map.

The crowds of commuters, day after day, who show remarkable patience and restraint when packed into a very small space. No one panics, no one curses, everyone studiously tries to give each other a little bit more space.

The cleaning ladies at work who giggle and greet me with great enthusiasm every afternoon.

My colleagues, who by their sheer goodness are teaching me to be kinder and gentler.

The young guy who struck up a conversation with me while standing in line at Starbucks. He wanted to explain why he had a bouquet of dead flowers with him on Valentine's Day. It was, actually, a nice story.

The bus drivers who patiently tell me to turn my metrocard the other way. No, the other way.

I am sure there will be a day when I am scolded, or pushed, or treated roughly. But I will see it as the exception and not the rule. For even in the darkest heart of winter, warmth and civility reign.

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