I was raised by an extraordinarily delightful group of human beings. My mother recycles, even though we come from a country that hasn’t used a trash can since roads were invented; my father has helped more unemployed Jamaicans than the casting director for Cool Runnings, and the last person to leave my grandparents’ house without a full meal was a hurricane named Gilbert – but that’s only cause he took the roof instead.
My wonderfully glass-half-full family has taught me to find the best in even the worst of places. “God creates beauty in everything; it is up to you to choose to see it” my grandmother says – and even though this mentality led me to see Tower Heist in theaters, it’s still a part of me that I will cherish forever. The world is too enjoyable to get upset over life’s most insignificant non-sequiturs (unless they involve 90 minutes of Ben Stiller breaking every law of physics imaginable), and it would surely be a better place if everyone shared this point of view.
With that being said…
New York is slowly turning me into a bitter old man. Not the remarkably wise, occasionally compassionate type like Mr. Feeny from Boy Meets World. No, I’m talking Clint Eastwood in the first 30 minutes of Gran Torino bitter. Mr. Burns from The Simpsons bitter. Simon Cowell listening to Kidz Bop bitter. Why, you ask? Because living in New York is kind of like doing cocaine and trying to play “Operation” – there’s quite simply too much to do and not enough time, so all you end up with is frustration, a high blood pressure and malice towards the morbidly obese (seriously though, how slow can one walk before they are considered inanimate). It is truly a deconstruction of everything that 90’s television taught me about this beautiful metropolis.
Don’t get me wrong; New York is amazing, and if you ever have the benefit of living here you’ll see why – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beating my inner Jamaican to death with a red, white and blue baseball bat of pessimism. After 21 months of living here, I’ve compiled quite a list of things that annoy me. Literally, it is a list on my phone. Granted it can be found right in between my lists for “Favorite late night food joints” and “Best places to watch British sports amongst rowdy fans” (both heavily populated), but nonetheless it was created. The city giveth and the city taketh away, I suppose.
It really didn’t occur to me how sour I was becoming until I took a good, hard look at some of the things that were on this queue of displeasures. While they started out as the typical pet peeves of any average New Yorker, the list soon devolved into a collection of items and acts that, if held to, would probably prevent me from ever smiling again. But before I get to the cheesy, warm-hearted moral of this story, I’d first like to share with you the darker side of my daily humor: my list of things that annoy me, affectionately titled “Brooklyn and Beyond”:
1. People who walk too slow
2. Doormen that assume I’m a delivery guy: I really can’t defend this. I wear sneakers a lot.
3. Street-side Activists with an attitude: Look, I get that you want to save the pandas or Chinese child laborers or women’s rights, I really do, but don’t get sassy with me cause I’ve got a meeting in 5 minutes and don’t have time to ‘dialogue’ with you about it. Also I don’t ‘dialogue’.
4. Drivers that have a green light but let you cross anyways
clearly biting off more than they can chew
6. Poorly crafted puns
7. People that walk too fast
8. Cabs that won’t take me cause I’m Indian: we’re not cheap, we’re economical.
9. Cabs that only take me cause I’m Indian: just cause the UN is in session and I’m wearing pants doesn’t mean I’m one of the rich ones
10. Poorly advertised parades that get in the way: “Hey by the way we’re having a parade in the morning don’t expect to use Avenues 1, 3, Lex, Park, 5th, 8th or 10th. Also the highways will be jammed kthanksbye.”
11. Duane Reade: “Let’s sell everything in Rite Aide for $5 more”
12. Confused weekenders from Connecticut: “Excuse me, how do I get to the ‘West Side’?”
13. Fruit/Felafel carts that take advantage of drunk people
14. Homeless “veterans” with “Irak” spelled incorrectly on their cardboard signs
People that complain about homeless people
16. People that contradict themselves
Hipsters Brooklyn: Yes, yes we get it; you have good beer, dollar oysters and your apartment is twice as big as mine for half the price, but we’ll see who’s laughing when another goth kid jumps in front of the L train this weekend. Have fun being stuck in your monstrous apartments.
18. The MTA: “Oh, you wanted to get there on time? Our bad.”
19. Under-spiced ethnic foods
20. Parking enforcers that double park
21. People that read the menu at Shake Shack like it’s the last Harry Potter book
People with Blackberries People that don’t have iPhones: No I won’t look up a good bar nearby, why don’t you bbm all your buddies and ask them for directions.
23. East Village bouncers that count the girls in your group
24. People that have their birthdays at hotels in the Meatpacking District: “Can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with all my closest friends! Just don’t forget to bring cash cause there’s a $30 cover. Also guys should try to show up with at least 6 girls each and just to let you know the bouncer hates all men wearing fewer items of Feregamo than him. So excited it’s warming up! 27 degrees! Woooo!”
25. Everyone in a car in New York
26. People that expect me to know what the Z train is
27. Drug dealers that assume I do drugs because I have a beard and wear aviators
Hoboken The P ATH New Jersey: Pay our taxes, then call yourself a New Yorker.
For those of you who have yet to have the pleasure of meeting me, I’m actually a really nice guy – probably because I channel my frustrations into lists like this (and my ‘Reasons to Push Snooki Down the Stairs’ list, which recently got a little longer). The reason for this post, however, is that I have come to a realization. New Yorkers are bitter because we are the spoiled brats of America; we get everything we want, whenever we want it.
If you want a pastrami sandwich stacked with rare artisan cheese and hand pressed by a remarkably short Korean guy in a “Kiss the cook” apron at 4am, you can get that. If you want to stay out all night salsa dancing on a rooftop with a live band who then cooks you brunch after the sun rises, you can probably get that too. We are spoiled rotten with privilege by this beautiful city, and we do nothing but run rampant with requests in return. As New Yorkers we feel entitled to a certain style and pace of life wherever it is that we go, an expectation that will never be met by even the second best city in the US (Miami, obviously).
So as I publish this post I move to delete the pessimist’s list of pesky peeves, because I am too fortunate to be bitter any longer. From here on I’ll spare the city my anger, and learn to let the good simply overrun the bad. Perhaps I’ll start a new list to absorb my frustrations. I’m thinking “Words I’d Like to Hear Kim Kardashian Spell”.