Yesterday morning, I was walking to the subway, when a child, whose umbrella was at the level of my face, smacked me full-on with his wet raingear. Involuntarily, I let out a surprised noise, and a Whoah! I had, after all, just been hit in the face with a piece of damp nylon.
His mother turned on her heel. Did you just hit my child?
Um, no. Your child just hit me with his umbrella. I said, But it’s fine. It’s a wet day. We’re all just trying to get to where we’re going.
And I started to walk away.
She then unleashed a profanity-laced tirade upon me, the likes of which I had not previously heard from the mouth of a mother in the company of her child. The likes of which I had never heard before 8 o’clock in the morning, on a week day, on a public street, where neither life nor limb nor new luxury car was at stake.
Wait a minute, I said, He hit me in the mouth with his umbrella. I didn’t do anything. And we’re cool, right? I looked down, made eye contact with the kid, and then walked on.
Only in New York.
Only on my street, which is lined with some of the best public and private schools on the East Side.
I’ve lived in both New York, and Los Angeles. And I’ve lived in both for long enough periods of time to feel comfortable saying that in Los Angeles, the minute there’s even the suggestion of rain, everyone forgets how to drive. But in New York, at the mere sign of drizzle, everyone forgets how to walk.
The jury is still out as to which I find more irritating.
(Throughout the month of June, I’ll be writing a series of New York-related posts, and/or inviting some friends to guest post about their New York experiences, to celebrate my eight years in New York City.)