country girl in the big city
I keep saying how hard this place is to adjust to. But I haven’t mentioned two really cool behaviors that I have noticed since I have been here. Manners and chivalry are alive in New York!
- There is a coat closet at every office. Not only is there a coat closet…they USE it! They always ask to take and hang up coats! (every time I have visited an office for any reason this has happened) Now that I have been working reception, it is my job to take coats and hang them. I LOVE this! It is so impressive to me, and feels old-fashioned and sweet.
- Secondly, the elevator etiquette is so surprising. Men let women on the elevator first, and wait until all of the women are off before they exit. Can you believe this? I have noticed it every single place that had an elevator. All over the city. It is so charming to me!
I think these behaviors still exist because this city is so old and these classic manners are rooted as a cultural norm. These behaviors feel old-fashioned…because they are. I feel taken care of when someone takes my coat, and I feel respected when I get off of the elevator first. New York is making me smile today.
I was able to work a few days this week through my temp agency. I filed papers, in a storage closet for 17 hours. I spoke to two people in three days, and they were just giving me instructions. My hands were busy, but not as busy as my mind. I was stuck in the closet-thinking and getting choked up at the thought…
“Is this going to be my life in New York?”
I was the invisible worker. Replaceable. As a temp you are quickly forgotten, so why would the employees invest any of their time into you? I get it. But walking in on my second day I felt an unbearable sadness. Another day in the closet. My feet hurt standing up all day in dress shoes, and my wrist hurt (the constant reminder of my former career.) I cried the whole way home on my second day feeling completely defeated.
On my third day temping for the same company, I was a little more hopeful knowing that it would be my last day filing endless stacks of papers, but I was still so sad walking to the train station. While I walked down the stairs, I heard the most beautiful sound. A woman played the violin in the middle of the platform with her eyes closed. I stood close to her in the sea of people and I wept, not for sadness, but for the beauty of the music that she was giving to all of us. She gave me hope to finish my day strong. She made me realize why I’m here. This is the city of dreams.
The violin has always sounded a little sad to me- and it was like the exact sound that my heart was making. I was so moved by the sound of her music. It gave me strength for the day… for the week. With each person I meet, who is chasing their dream, it gives me nourishment- and it fills my soul a little.
That, and having a roommate who brings me home a root beer float when the city takes too much from me.
This city is hard. But it’s going to be worth it. The violinist taught me that this week.