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Archive for the ‘America’ Category

New York Tale

New York 11:30 AM, the Amtrak train from Boston pulls in. The conductor helps me (and all the other passengers that get off at this station) take down my oversized bag, he says some polite kind words that just fly in and out of my ears. After two weeks of dealing with so much friendliness, I start taking it for granted. I mumble something back, it seems that here in America I never can react soon enough with the pleasantries, I am pretty sure that my Eastern-European rudeness is somehow visible although I am really struggling to keep up.

The air is so wet here in the station and the dimmed lights and steamy atmosphere make it look like a thriller scene, still I feel relieved to get out of the ice box I was in. If someone ever came back from a USA visit and told you jokingly about the American’s passion for air conditioning, well, they weren’t kidding! And let me tell you, this together with the ice that comes with every single drink you order, could become a problem for a typical Romanian girl whose mother never let her drink out of the fridge or taught to never-ever sit in a draft.

Outside, finally! And now down on the 8th Avenue till 46th Street to our hotel. The oversized bag is rolling behind me and sometime stumbling into my feet and unavoidable into some other peoples’ feet. The sidewalk is so full that I can hardly get through. I have always considered myself a big city girl so I think I know how to solve this situation, I start pushing and trying to get myself across with what I would call at least moderate force. At one point I feel my luggage wheels run over someone’s foot. I feel already very feisty from the heat, the agoraphobia that I didn’t know I suffered from until now and I feel ready to snap at the person that dared intersect with my trajectory. I take my eyes up from the ground, where I have been keeping them in order to avoid the masses of pedestrian traffic that was flowing with and against me and look back and I see the person that was blocking my way; he is drifting aimlessly perpendicularly to anyone else. Prepared to open my mouth and…  but something stops me and I close it back: the person in front of me is blind and now getting of from the sidewalk into the street… NO please, DO NOT BE BLIND! Anywhere else but not here, not in this city! I look to see if there is a special traffic stop button for blind persons at the crossing, but New York takes its pride and beauty in being dysfunctional, so of course there is none! In the meantime the masses I was mentioning before push me further and I find myself zombie like feeling that I have to carry on with my marching, while still desperately trying to look back to see if the object of my worries is still in sight. I’ve lost him behind a big parked car. I get nervous; he really must have gotten into the street now. I squint my eyes and hope for the best while going further… BOOM, I hear a loud noise behind me; now I’ve stopped, I don’t care if the other pedestrians are going to walk over me. What happened? Where did he go? Did a car hit him? Did I just imagine the noise? I cannot see anything anymore but the flowing traffic on the street and on the sideway. I wait a moment longer, to see if the people are gathering or if there is concern or agitation behind me. I don’t see anything, it all flows as it was before and I flow along with everything and everyone else but not really letting the doubt in my mind go. I walk ahead, the street is full of colorful beautiful commercials and buildings, my attention is distracted and even if I felt unease before it all seems to all fade away in my mind…

This experience is how I would summarize the learning that I extracted from my brief visit in America, besides the beautiful things, the impressive majestic sceneries the really great people that amazed me through the generosity and openness the truth is that the current flows fast and if you are not flowing with it to more colorful beautiful places  you risk to be run over by the harsh and hard reality.

I will probably develop more on this in another post if I manage to get my contradictory thoughts and impressions together into a reasonable opinion…

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