Laurie: Yeah, I meditate every morning. What about it? Some would question its long-lasting results based on my cynical manner and occasionally sarcastic retorts, but I ask you to consider how much worse this would be without meditation. Frightening, isn’t it? And besides, I live in a city that requires you behave in ways that would shame your Momma.
When I first moved to New York City, my sister told me to stop smiling because it was annoying and I would get grit all over my teeth. What is that black stuff that ends up on your face and on your window sills even when the window is closed? I caught on quickly. When out-of-town visitors hit my door, I pat them down for gold chains, bracelets, and whatnot. They are to be deposited in a bowl by the door before we head out. Then we take out surplus money from their wallets. Men must find a place to hide their money holders no matter how uncomfortable, and the women are required to put their purse straps over their heads regardless of the lengths of the straps. In some cases the purse looks like a gigantic necklace, but the better to keep track of it.
elizabeth: Laurie, I think people are now going to think that if we New Yorkers are afraid of New Yorkers (I know I live thirty miles from the city, but you can’t take New York out of me), then Bobby Earl and Pearlette from somewhere in middle America will just stay home and watch cable … probably Fox News where anything that leans to the left of right wing will be reason enough to keep their shotguns at the ready. But they do come to NY. Unarmed and overdressed. Just yesterday I was nearly run over by a pack of fun seeking out-of-towners who thought they got a glimpse of some sitcom actor from the 1970s. I slapped them down in no time. But sometimes it is amusing to see how a sequin top compliments a pair of running shoes or how a tee shirt with puppy dogs plastered on it does take a pair of pointy high heels to another stratosphere. I only know I need oxygen when I see that coming my way. And men, if you dare wear big clunky gold chains then you deserve to be hosed down. And I do wholeheartedly agree with wearing one’s pocketbook strapped across the front. It ends up lifting and separating one’s breasts quite nicely.
Laurie: We’re almost ready to hit the streets. Just a few more basic instructions. Never ever ever make eye contact. There’s much to be seen in my fantastic city but eye contact with another human will solicit all kinds of unwanted remarks from the city’s finest street residents. Don’t look up and point—it screams “tourist” and the pick pockets will come a runnin’. Memorize the directions to wherever you are going before you get out there. Pulling out a map is tantamount to announcing that you are looking to get ripped off. Ignore all panhandlers no matter how much they break your heart. If you didn’t stop to read their cardboard signs, you wouldn’t know their sad stories anyway. Resist food items being sold from a cart. Let’s say the vendors actually found a place to relieve themselves. Where did they wash their hands? Didn’t think of that, did you? That’s what I’m here for. And last but not least, enjoy yourself. New York City is the greatest city in the world!
elizabeth: And we New Yorkers do have big hearts. It is a tough decision to walk by someone in need and today it could even be a former CEO of some bank … hmmmm … then run, don’t walk. People who do feel the need to help might want to try buying a homeless person lunch instead of giving them money. This way there will be no money to go buy something that might keep them hearing voices that aren’t their own. I agree with you on pulling out a map—it’s like wearing a sign that says, “Kick me, I am from.” And I will kick you. Ooops, there’s that aggression again. Working on it.
New York. New York. You can drink our water, see our plays, visit our zoos, dance at our clubs and then go home and say that you had the best time ever. And you would be right. Like Laurie said—keep those gold chains at home and maybe we’ll take you for a subway ride at two in the morning.
So what is your favorite New York moment? Never been here? Well, there’s a bus leaving your town at five. Be on it.