January 18, 2012

the boy, he blushes

Sometimes, walking through this city with a nine year old boy is a minefield of uncomfortable moments. Those things that you shelter your children from for as long as possible? Well, they tend to pop up here, right in front of you, when you least expect it. Like crazy people. Crazy people are everywhere here. Sure, there are crazy people in every city, but even Eugene, which (and I love Eugene, I really do) has some of the most colorful crazies I’ve ever run into (Hi Frog!) can’t really compete with New York in terms of numbers.

This has led to one of our “City Rules”, specifically, City Rule Number 2 – if you see/hear someone yelling and it’s not immediately apparent why, whom or what they are yelling at, cross the street or walk the other way. (City Rule Number 1 is never ever turn a corner so that you are out of sight, even if you are turning onto your own street while City Rule Number 3 is always use your city scooter manners – i.e. do not run over people or make them think you might run over them. They’ll start yelling if you do.)

Really, this is a good rule for everyone, everywhere. But it’s not really something I expected to have to drill into my kids at nine and five. Oh well, we’ll chalk that up to good life experiences.

A variation on this are the people who get one the subway and start yelling. This is an unfortunate situation because it’s hard to walk away on a moving train. The good news is that this is New York. And New York is full of New Yorkers. And let me tell you, these people, they don’t take any shit. So you can usually just keep your head down, your ear phones plugged in and count on the fact that someone else on the car will yell back. They might even enjoy it. I think it’s kind of a sport here.

We have streets where you DO NOT TAKE YOUR PHONE OUT OF YOUR POCKET, because people like to grab and run, and blocks where you MUST hold mom’s hand at all times even if you are nine. These are things that city kids have to learn. Along with why those people who “surf” the subway by hanging onto the outside of the door are idiots, even if idiot is a bad word.

And then there was yesterday, when we took a “shortcut” while walking from a class in the West Village to another in the East Village and ended up on a street that sold, um, interesting clothing.

It started out fine, three chess shops, some cool vintage clothing places, and then suddenly, we were heavily into small-bits-of-leather-sort-of-covering-the-privates outfits. I didn’t know Briton could walk that fast. I had a hard time snapping a picture, in fact, because I was trying to keep up with him. I think it was the nipple tassels that really threw him.

He has requested that we not take that street next week.

Well, OK. If you insist.