I grew up in New York City, and except for college and a failed attempt to expatriate myself to Seville in my 20s (I’ll teach English! I’ll drink sangria! I’ll pantomime my distaste for rabbit entrails to a man named Carlos who either had a novia or a novela, I’m not sure!) I’ve lived here my whole life.
My theory is this: The best way to measure the age of New York woman is not by how she looks (she always looks amazing) but by her relationship to public transportation. (For you non-New Yorkers, this is a twice a day mandatory up-close-and-personal interaction.) There are distinct behaviors and emotions associated with every life stage. I am in the process of working my way through all of them. To wit:
Little girl You ride public transportation for free and old ladies on the bus tell your mom how cute and well-behaved you are. You draw hearts with your finger in the condensation you breathe onto the window and think yourself very clever. The world is a wonderful place.
Grade schooler You have a bus and subway pass (nowadays a school-issued Metrocard) and if you’re alone, you feel mighty grown-up and offer your seat to old women because you’re still nice. But sometimes they look displeased and say no. You’re not sure why.
You also notice that some of these older women complain about a lot about things, such as how long the bus took to arrive and the way the driver overshot the stop even though THEY WERE WERE STANDING RIGHT WHERE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO! If you did that your mom would refuse to respond until you changed your whiney tone.
Middle schooler You are an utter nightmare on all manner of transportation, goofing around at decibel 11 with your friends and eating nasty orange Cheeto-like snacks, making people want to use backup birth control and/or change cars/and or pray for an early death (yours). You are completely unaware of how excruciating your antics are for tired people schlepping home after a long day, because of your sluggish frontal lobe development or total lack of empathy or whatever. Or maybe you are aware, and are defying your parents by proxy. You pretty much suck.
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