A Few Notes on My Assimilation

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.

Published by Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

I'm a freelance writer and editor.

9 thoughts on “A Few Notes on My Assimilation

  1. Jen,

    Couldn’t be happier to read how much you’re enjoying the city. I’m shepping nachas for you! So’s the Hasidic rabbi… if he’s noticed you.

    Elbows up!


  2. Note: Sushi is not “weird food” and 20million Japanese people are right now queing in order to beat you up. Yak is weird food. A gnu would be weird food as well as a capybara. Sushi? Meh.

  3. Anything not starch-based is weird food. I betcha the Japanese think potatoes are weird, and let them, I say. More spuds for me.

    FYI, I’m not eating a capybara, either, just in case you’re getting any funny ideas over there, Sean.

  4. aaarrrrghhhh!

    If you are going to drink like a pirate, then you must learn the official pirate toast:

    “Here’s to ourselves, and hold your luff, plenty of prizes and plenty of duff!”

    —RLS, “What I heard in the Apple Barrel”, Treasure Island

    (luff is wind escaping a poorly trimmed sail, thus: be discrete)

    (duff is a pun: meaning both your rear end and a pudding in a cloth bag, made mostly from flour and fat, which was a staple meal on ships, thus: keep what you get.)

  5. Smash, you will *love* sushi. And wasabe. Oh, now I want some. Damn you!

    PS. Did you know Mrs. Piddlington is my reverend? 🙂

  6. I tried sushi once. It was like bland rubber, and it wasn’t too bad until I thought about how far away from the ocean Pittsburgh really is. Then I decided that I’m not going to try sushi again until I can smell sea salt and watch Sonny Chiba slice up something gasping.

    I ended up spitting that stuff out in my napkin and going back up to the bar to get a few dead baby octopi to play with.

  7. Funny,

    I have just had a slew of family visit me here in Boston – people coming and going for the past 2 months. Anywhooo – it is kinda cool because after a day of walking around the city with your mother you have no other choice but to remove your blinder. It is that or lose your mind… so the city almost feels new again.

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