I’ve realized something lately. We have absolutely no personal space in this city.
Obvious statement, right? But, you have to remember I’m from Arizona. I might have grown up in the sixth largest city, but it might as well be another planet.
It’s no less crowded in the stores. I’ve encountered more intimidating lines and crowds here than any other city. Everything is confusing in New York City. Even something as simple as a movie theater with its multiple escalators leading every which way, leaves me puzzled.
Or finding an empty bench in a park to unwind on a nice day is like trying to find Waldo in the “Where’s Waldo?” children’s books.
New York City is a culture shock for anyone who isn’t used to its fast-pace or crowded streets. For those who have never experienced the subway during rush hour, it feels like you’re sealed in an air-tight human jar. Arms get entangled and bodies collide as everyone tries to reach for a place to grab onto so that they don’t fall over every time the train stops or starts.
It’s unnerving. I can only hope that I smell okay and that no one tries to take anything of mine. I want to apologize for invading everyone’s space, but that’s what I have to do if I’m not in the mood to walk to work.
And, heaven forbid, you visit a place that also happens to be a tourist attraction, like Times Square. It doesn’t take long to learn how to dodge the clusters of tourists and cameras.
After a stressful day of dealing with the throngs of the streets, wouldn’t you think that home would be everyone’s saving grace? Not in New York. I can’t speak for everyone in this city, but I hear that most people have roommates, including myself.
In fact, I live with two other girls in one dorm room. I’ll give the designers of the room credit for making it a little bit larger than the average dorm room that I’ve seen, but I still have no personal space. I have a corner of the room, but that corner does not equal privacy.
I miss the days where I could listen to music or watch a show without having to plug in headphones. My roommates and I have similar tastes in music, but that doesn’t mean that we always want to listen to what the others are listening to. If I’m stuck in the room and one of the other girls is also there, it’s inevitable that one or both of us will plug in our headphones and do our own thing after a few minutes of chit-chat.
Although I’ve been in the city for five weeks now, I still haven’t adjusted to the 3-hour time zone difference. I know that would make my life a lot easier, but I almost always go to bed later than the other girls and wake up last.
This causes me a bit of frustration, because I want to stay up and wake up when I please, but I also want to be respectful of my roommates’ schedules. They’re great ladies, so I wouldn’t want to be the cause of any conflicts. However, I gladly welcome the day where I can once again keep the lights on until I go to sleep or wake up to my alarm instead of one of the girls getting ready or talking to someone.
I lived in dorm rooms for two years at Arizona State University, but I went home quite often. In New York, I have nowhere to escape.
I love this city. I really do. But I have a new appreciation for personal space.