The thing about New York that's so jarring to me—and continues to be jarring to me even though I grew up here—is how aggressive everything seems. After a week in the UK (London and Oxford) I step off the plane, run up against a sullen hates-me-hates-life customs agent. Next, by the baggage carousel, is another airport officer screaming out, every twenty seconds or so: "NO CELL PHONES!!!!!" It took ages for the bags to arrive, all the while she's screaming at us.
At Terminal 8, American Airlines have done a great job of barring all the illegal cab drivers from entering the terminal. The problem with this is that they've now formed a terrifying blockade, accosting passengers as soon as they step outside the terminal. Literally, three large men blocked the door, shouting at me, "Want a taxi? Where are you going?" as I tried to leave the terminal. Even though I knew to expect this, it was terrifying to be surrounded by gangs of strange men like this. I can't even imagine what it must feel like for tourists.
I bought my apartment in 2005. It's small, but I love it. To me, one of the best things about my apartment is that it doesn't face the street. Okay, it's both bad and good—there's no view, but it's quiet. Well, it used to be quiet. Now there's some sort of crazy motorized fan thing that's a few floors down from my apartment. It runs all day and all night, so all I hear is this motor-sound 24/7. I can't imagine what it's for or why it has to be so loud. It's definitely new. Anyway. Even fans are aggressive in New York.
This morning I woke up absurdly early and went for breakfast. The man behind me was ordering aggressively—"I want an egg white omelet with spinach, no oil, half a grapefruit, black coffee."—and then there was an aggressive, angry, shouting crazy man on the street. Even our homeless are louder and more aggressive.
I guess this is what people sign up for when they live in New York. I'm thinking about soundproofing my windows.