Friday, February 26, 2010

Who Says Chivalry is Dead?

She obviously wasn’t living in New York on a very snowy day, because chivalry most definitely exists on days like these.

On my walk this morning, I came upon a particularly treacherous bank of slush, ice, and perhaps alligators. This moat was most intimidating, and caused me to stand for a moment, configuring an escape. My chucks were no match for the endlessly wet wintry mix, so I was ready to turn around and head home in defeat. Suddenly, through the swirling blizzard and my slight Friday morning hangover, I noticed a figure sprinting towards me.

Normally, I would have assumed someone running towards me that quickly was trying to mug me, but for some reason (maybe it was the blood keeping my extremities warm, instead of being in my brain) I felt oddly trusting. I also knew that my chucks would never allow me to run fast enough to get away, so I accepted and awaited my fate.

Luckily, my instincts were right…my knight in shining armor (read: a regular guy in full snowsuit and boots) valiantly grabbed my hand and pulled me onto his horse. He led me through the menacing bank, fighting off icy diversions until we stood safely on the other side. Though I was shivering, my heart was fully warmed.

How could I ever repay him, I worried, remembering that I had just given my last bag of gold to the hobbit living down the street. But before I could utter a thing, the knight was galloping away. “Be well, my lady!” he proclaimed, blowing me a kiss before he hurried off to slay the dragons in Times Square and the gremlins hanging out in Hoboken. All this, just so I could get to my Palace safely. After I was given my smelling salts, and my heart finally stopped fluttering, I started thinking about the following...

Lesson #20 (which really is for those visiting the city, since the rest of us are here year round): If you want to see New Yorkers at their most chivalrous, happiest, and most cheerful, walk around on a really snowy day. It seems that the best time is early in the morning, when the snow is still pristine, people are enjoying their morning coffee, and the realization hasn’t set in that their day will be thrown off by the storm.

Also, things seem less bleak when covered in a blanket of snow – though it could be the vitamin D boost from the sun/snow reflection. Regardless the reason, I’ve never seen so many smiling faces in this city at once (not to mention dogs that have their own winter Olympics in the snow). And seriously, don’t underestimate your fellow New Yorkers’ compassion and willingness to lend a hand, physically.

I don’t know that I’ll ever see the knight in shining snowsuit again, but I’ll sleep easy knowing others like him exist – random New Yorkers looking out for each other, defying stereotypes and defeating werewolves along the way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If you really love someone, you'll let them free

O Franz, why have you forsaken me??

Should you really let go of something you love? Or perhaps you should find a way to deal with the pain, and hopefully a way to ignore annoying cliches such as these.

Since you don't have control over so many things in life, like the sudden departure of Franz Nicolay from the Hold Steady, it's important to find things that are consistent and make you happy.

Yes, you read that correctly - Franz left the Hold Steady a few weeks ago and I think I'm finally over it. Though I did watch this video and tear up a little, I know he's on to bigger and better (actually, just....different) things.

Lesson #19: One never truly can prepare for sudden life changes like these, and living in a place like NYC makes it all the more difficult to keep the stress to a minimum. That's why you need to find a few things that make you incredibly blissful and for God's sake, hold on to them and don't let them free.

For instance, here are a few things that make me beyond happy: the fake cheese popcorn at LifeThyme, tap dancing (which apparently Franz is also into), and currently number one on my list: Crossword Sundays with my amazing pal Ryan. They're beyond fantastic, in a way that very few might understand. I look forward to it all week, am in a state of bliss during it, then the high wears off only a few days later.

Now, I'm not encouraging anyone to take up my habits (I swear, I'm not referencing drugs in any of the above) but if you want to stay sane, and learn to deal with sad changes, then find the things that make you smile. As in stop reading this blog and figure out what it is that makes you glow! Unless of course this blog is your idea of ecstasy. Then read away, my fellow logophile - I'll try to not make it another 2 weeks until your next fix.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Must. Avert. Gaze.

Of models and madness: "(In New York) Every 20 minutes, you have to decide immediately -- oh my God. Do I look at the most beautiful woman in the world or the craziest guy in the world?" - David Cross

Mr. Cross had this totally right. You can’t decide which way to look! Gorgeous Amazonian model or the grinning man with a cat on his head and no shoes?

I am constantly stunned by the number of beautiful women in this city and even more stunned by the stark contrast with the city crazies. I’m happy to fit somewhere in between...though I’m sure most of these gorgeous women are also crazy (and, poor things, sometimes too beautiful). Or at the very least, narcissists. But then again, aren’t we all?

Lesson #18 when moving to a big city: Don’t stare. Or at least try to be less obvious, since many people view the slightest eye contact as confrontational (or a come on. But that's another story).

I would also say not to compare yourself to either the gorgeous or the crazies, but one only has so much will power in a day. Part of my mind thinks, ‘How can they be so tall? How would it feel to know that having a job relies on your ability to look hot? Do they ever get sick of looking that hot and people constantly staring? (probably not)’ but the other side is simultaneously fascinated with the crazies, and thinks ‘How can they be so disheveled? How would it feel to know that getting a job relies on your ability to look like you’re not homeless? Do they ever get sick of people staring? (probably not)’

However, I also wonder if these folks are used to being stared at, and standing out in smaller cities...then they move here and people react less to them (or perhaps have gotten better at staring without being seen). That or they become more beautiful/crazier just so they can stand out. Madness!

So you see, crazy people and supermodels do have a few things in common. Mostly that both could use a decent meal and could ditch wearing animal fur (though the crazies prefer it’s still alive, like the cat on head man in the east village). Maybe the city crazies are an outward manifestation of the way supermodels feel inside, and will one day become. But mostly they're alike because people are quick to judge and assume they “get them” immediately. Which, along with staring, I’d never do. And I’d most definitely never expose my sarcastic tendencies via this blog.