Supposedly, it takes five years to become a New Yorker. That may be true, but I’ve noticed some interesting personal changes already:
1) Willingness to try new things, including weird food. Note that I say “willingness”, not “enthusiasm.” I’m not really a foodie and never have been. I could live happily on grilled cheese sandwiches and milk. This is horrifying to many of the people I’ve met here. For instance, Sean has informed me that he is going to make me eat sushi. I’ve only tried it once before, and it doesn’t count because I think I spit it into my napkin. My friend Meredith made me eat a purple octopus on a cracker. I swear to God that’s what it was. In the end, I drank all the saki and gnawed on a cucumber roll and that was it.
2) Increased ability to drink. My tolerance for alcohol will soon rival that of the average sailor. I’ve also started cursing a lot and threatening to keel-haul people. Do you think there’s a correlation?
3) The birth of the personal invisi-bubble. I tend to look at everyone: homeless people, kids, cops, street vendors. Everyone. In the past, this has resulted in my being hit on by gross men in bars, winding up with fourteen tons of free handouts on the street, and having to tell untold numbers of Scientologists that I don’t want to take their free personality profile. Now, however, I’m lucky if I recognize a friend on the street, because I have developed blinders. I got my invisi-bubble about two weeks ago, I figure, and while it’s made life easier in some ways, I mourn the stories I’m missing while I dart through foot-traffic without looking at anyone, using my new city sonar to miss fruit carts and Hasidic rabbis and baby strollers.
The biggest change, though, I think, is how happy I am. Before I moved here, my uncle told me that New Yorkers were the happiest people he knew, because they’re always busy. I don’t know if that works for everyone, but I can tell you that as a hyper-social, slightly neurotic, chronic insomniac type person, I’ve never been happier in my life.