How To Fit In: NYC


You have come to understand, that things just don’t fit here, in New York City. The way people twist and turn the edges of a couch 90 degrees to try to fit it through a doorway, just to be flopped and turned around again to get it to fit through the next, is the way most people here, live their lives.

You pull the shades up in the morning to eye a skyline of buildings that look like the blue prints of an architect that kind of just gave up half way through. Brownstones stretched up kissing the clouds, suffocate the short scattered stacks that reach only to be half of halves. There are no rules, no age limits, no height requirements for these buildings and some mornings, you wake up to sip on your caffeine, and envy their freedom.

You begin to look at the subway as less of a mode of transportation and more of an impressionistic art form. The way bodies blend and compress to interlock with each other while being shoved in a small space. When the train moves, no one else dares to. For even you know that a domino effect will occur leaving standing bodies folded on top of each other, briefcases and morning muffins. And so you watch people bear hug on to metal poles, hand rails, the loose ends of another’s jacket. You can’t fall down, you hear a lady say to her 5-year-old son, and you’ll just never get up. And while tails of jackets gets stuck in the door, and people’s chins have no choice but to rest on random shoulders, you find you always get where you intended to go, with the mixed scent of strangers becoming the familiar smell that lingers on your clothes.

The money you make is not up to par with your lifestyle. The overpriced glasses of wine leave you with only sounds of loose coins dancing to their demise in your wallet. Even window-shopping has its price. The Italian fabric wrapped around the bones of mannequins makes you feel cheap, worthless, like someone came behind you and snipped off your price tag. You finally understand what people mean when they say that they live, “paycheck to paycheck”, since days are nothing more than a math equation that you must make end with no negative signs, thank you Algebra II.

You snap a picture of the oncoming traffic of people rushing toward you. You find yourself doing this often because you notice, no two people in the photos ever look the same. All kinds of facial features, fabrics of clothing, wrinkled body parts of people waltz around and into and beside one another. It is as if you are back in the third grade making paper-mache collages to hang on the fridge. Filled with died magenta feathers, square patches of polka dotted fabric and buttons that have been long separated from the garments they once faithfully belonged to.

You are at most times of the day, trying to figure this whole thing out. To find reasons as to why some people live on the 44th floor of a building and some sleep on the cold, tiled, piss stain floors of the subway at night. How everyone is always in such a rush to go and to come yet there are lines wrapped around street corners and across sidewalks just to eat a morning brunch. How parts of the world are in war because they can’t stand their neighbors, but here it is like a walking United Nations with some kind of harmony.

How nothing here fits, yet everything seems to be okay. You’ll be okay too, you tell yourself, as your counting down street numbers calmly with a sly sense of desperation, like a small child in their fuzzy pajamas counts sheep, trying to figuring out which way is east, which way is south. 

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