Thursday, January 14, 2010

my trip #1, or stop talking now

I offer you one observation from my trip: most of the average New Yorkers on the street are friendly, helpful and willing to talk; most of the travellers in the airport or on the airtrain, not so much.

All you had to do was stop walking and look confused and someone was offering to help you on your way.

At the airport, there was little but grumbling. Even though the lines looked like they snaked for a mile or more, we moved through fairly quickly. No one seemed at all interested when I commented the airtrain car was full of gentlemen when I noticed that all four men were standing so that the four of us women had seats. Nor was there any reaction when I pointed out a falcon exercising his wings on the railing beyond the platform. Maybe they all thought I had one of those silly Bluetooth thingies and was not talking to them.

Or maybe I am just practising too intently on my transformation into one of those old ladies one avoids. Not the one at the checkout counter who meticulously counts out her change after the sale is rung up. No, I am becoming the one who chatters endlessly to anyone within earshot.

As someone who was painfully shy as a child, this is a little strange to imagine.

However, at least that makes for some good conversations with some interesting people on my walks around Manhattan.

25 comments:

  1. It sounded like you enjoyed the trip.

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  2. That is kind of sad that they didn't engage you in conversation! I have become fond of talking to fellow travelers' as well. LOL! Guess we are "maturing"! Yikes!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  3. Thank you! People are VERY friendly on the streets of New York! And you know when it happened? After 9/11. It changed everyone's temperament, with good reason.

    I'm going to be that old lady too, Sanna. So we will definitely have to travel together so we'll each have someone to talk to! Then we won't be crazy, we'll just be chatty! lol

    How did the new glasses work for walking the city streets? And did you freeze your arse off? Brrrrr!

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  4. Guess you're catching up on all those chats you "missed out" on in your childhood? (smile)

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  5. Two of my sisters are just back from New York, and they said the same, how polite, helpful and well-behaved people were. Good to hear.
    it is good to get conversations going with strangers, as a rule - supermarkets, queues, parks, buses and the like. It makes the world go around better.

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  6. So??? Did you call Ben and get to the museum?

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  7. That's the thing with a bluetooth. Now everybody looks insane walking around talking to themselves... or no one looks insane. I'm not sure which.

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  8. Thomas: I thoroughly enjoyed myself. such an easy city to walk around in.

    SueAnn: I know. I was just making casual chit chat about our surroundings, nothing too demanding.

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  9. Susan: I was okay walking, though reading is still a nuisance. and I was very careful on any stairs! and I had to keep walking to stay warm (though, I really dressed for cold wind, so it wasn't that bad)

    Jeannette: I find I talk to myself more, too. I have a lot of years to catch up on - watch out for me at a bus stop!

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  10. Persiflage: I agree - people with earbuds or their eyes peering onto a blackberry are missing so much around them.

    Mr Nighttime: I did and he left me tickets and I was warm for hours with lots and lots to see.

    Jazz: actually, I think people with those things in their ears just look silly. who needs to always be that close to a phone unless you are on a trading floor?

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  11. Keep practising,you're a nice Canadian person, you have a headstart.One day when you've grown old disgracefully you'll be able to talk to anyone, including yourself, for hours!

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  12. When you travel on your own, you HAVE to talk to strangers or you go a little mental after a while. It's a law or something.

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  13. Von: I actually almost look forward to that!
    (did you change your name, or are there two of you?)

    XUP: exactly! besides, strangers will surprise you.

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  14. I found New Yorkers friendly, helpful and chatty, too. (But then, I've found the residents of every big city I've ever visited just as friendly, helpful and chatty - even Torontonians!) Glad you had a good trip - looking forward to hearing more about it!

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  15. Pleased you had a good time! I'd always thought New Yorkers were boot-faced and unhelpful, but obviously you have a lovely nature and people responded.

    Don't know about Airports though, I always seem to get next to people who want to tell me all about their aunt's operation! ;)

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  16. All right violet sky. I couldn't find you on Sky Watch today and FOR SURE your name came up when posting today's picture. Glad you got to go to New York. Please head on over to today's post (1/15) if you have the time!

    Jan
    GDP

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  17. Last time I was in NYC, my then-husband finally said to me, "You can't just walk around saying hi to everyone you pass. This is a city." Hard to take the small town girl out of me.

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  18. Pinklea: I think city folk are friendly, just not as casually friendly as small town folk. (whew, even Torontonians!)

    Gilly: that would make my flight experience even more unnerving! I guess when some people get nervous, they talk more; others go quiet and pray.

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  19. Jan: I have now posted - it wasn't up earlier.... glad you stopped by here to remind me!

    SAW: and I found the oppsite experience - having to learn to say hello to everyone I passed when living in a small town! I still try it out in the city where it isn't crowded and usually get a smile or nod.

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  20. I have always been too shy to talk to strangers but my sister would talk to anyone...at great length...in English or Spanish...it would always slow us down but it was always fun to go any where with her...and I have to say I have only found NYers friendly...

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  21. Oliag: I did get bogged down in one conversation with a guy walking his dog... but mostly they were short and sweet. I have a cousin who will talk the hind legs off a donkey to every sales person making for long idling moments in the store.

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  22. Your 'transformation' after a painfully shy childhood. - I have that too. I call it 'born again confidence'. Trouble is, now I can talk, sometimes I gabble such rubbish I embarrass myself. But not too often, thank goodness.

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  23. Katherine: I have seen a few eyes glaze over...

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