New Yorkers have been living up to their reputation as grumpy jerks.
At first, I thought, "Oh, everyone is much nicer than in the movies and in 80's cop shows!" but then I actually started interacting with people and have started to feel like Will Ferrell in the movie Elf (a likeness that is developing at a rapid rate. I am positive it will only be a matter of days before I break into the guys' locker room and sing a duet with someone who is in the shower).
It started the other day when I made a stop at the New York Public Library. It was after an interview, and I was wandering around taking in the beautiful beaux-arts architecture half expecting to see an incensed Carrie Bradshaw fleeing from the building with a bird on her head.
First, I stupidly asked a library lady about the requirements for procuring a library card, there.
"You can't." She said shortly.
"You can't check out books here. It's a RESEARCH library."
"Oh." I smiled and forced a giggle to cover my embarrassment. And it wasn't until I apologized for my error that she FINALLY cracked a smile.
And then, I reluctantly realized I had to use the ladies' room, because it being a public building and all, it means you're sharing a restroom with the craziest of the NYCrazy.
The other library lady I asked for directions was similarly stoic, until I broke into a saccharine smile and thanked her profusely. She visibly softened. I was starting to feel like a Care Bear, distributing joy and smiles wherever I happened to break into a dopey grin.
I was washing my hands in the restroom when a young woman stalked in, muttering about how some "white b*tch needta KEEP WALKIN." I thought she was on a hands-free phone device, talking to a friend, so I didn't pay her much attention (at least, not conspicuously - you better believe I was trying to remember every word, though).
The tirade continued in low tones, occasionally punctuated with a loud "WALKIN'!" even as she entered a stall.
Then, and bear with me, but this is funny, a second woman, already in a stall, belched loudly.
The following conversation occurred, with each participant in her own stall, while I pretended to keep washing my hands.
Lady 2: *BELLLLCH* "Excuse me."
Lady 1: "UGH. Who DID that?!"
Lady 2: "I did."
Lady 1: "DAMN. That's NASTY."
Lady 2: "It's a restroom. It's allowed. Plus it's a medical condition, don't be ignorant."
Lady 1: "I don't care WHAT you say, thass GROSS. UnLADYlike."
Lady 2: "If you have a problem, you can leave." *BELLLLCH*
Lady 1: "EEEW! What the f$@! is WRONG WITCHU?"
This continued until I left. I almost opened my mouth to spread some more Care Bear joy, as instructed as a child of the '80s, but I decided I wanted to live to see another day in this fine city. So I kept it shut, and will continue to smile brightly at only people I don't suspect harbor a desire to kill me.