Living in Manhattan allows me the daily joy of taking my stress out on the other 8 million people making their way through the concrete jungle. I take pleasure in bumping into someone on the sidewalk just a little too hard because both of us were determined to claim our space and too stubborn to move 1/2 a foot to the right. When the UN is in session, I relish the opportunity to yell at a delegate and let him know that "here in New York", we let women through the door first. And, by far, my favorite is giving cab drivers the combination "Middle-Finger-F-ck You A$$hole-yell" for almost running me over as I cross the street after the Don't Walk light is already lit. This is a pedestrian city and pedestrians have the right of way (unless it's the rare instance where I am the one driving, in which case you better move your a$$ off the crosswalk because the light is green and I will run you over - don't test me). While this may seem overly aggressive and unacceptable, to most people here it's unspoken, understood and perfectly normal. I don't really have a problem with that b1tch who slammed into my shoulder and who's hair I subsequently yelled looked like a bird's nest. She needed it. I needed it. We got it out of our systems and we could probably become best friend's over cocktails. It's just how we roll.
Enter Late-November. The temperature drops, the SALE signs go up, the mood starts getting festive and tourists invade. Fifth Avenue becomes inundated with funny accents, odd clothes, and the unmistakeable calling card of the Mid-West, blue eyeliner and bad hair. So last Wednesday at 9am, I made my way across 34th Street to beat the crowds at Macy's. Always tempted by the call of cheap jeans and long T Shirts that I pass off as dresses, I pushed my way through a group of tourists doing the dreaded five-across-block-the-whole-sidewalk move and ducked into Forever 21. What awaited inside filled me with an incomprehensible mix of fright, naseau and hysterics. Like Alice in Wonderland I gasped at the cast of characters that surrounded me in what is usually my turf.
Forever21 had been invaded by the throngs of bubbly Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Participants dragging their Mom's excitedly through a store they can find at any mall in their Ohio suburb, beyond thrilled to fight crowds and pay sales tax on items they could get cheaper at home, just because the store is bigger. I winced each time my delicate ears were met with southern twangs practicing cheers and the attack continued on my nose with the unmistakeable scent of Jean Nate wafting off every 45 year old, bleach blonde mom who's fake smiles seethed jealously and vicarious living as they chased their teenage daughters around the store stopping only to contemplate if there's any chance they could get into a mini skirt like that just one more time. Determined to grab a pair of jeans and give these girls the kind of New York experience they could go home and tell their friends about, I bumped, pushed and told-off my way through the store to the enormous line at the cash register. Immediately I picked up the phone and called someone to b1tch loudly and make funny comments about the Middle American Travesties I was surrounded with.
After 15 minutes, I was off the phone, still standing on line and in pain. If I heard one more squeel, screetch, or Oh-My-Word-Look-At-These-Earrings!, I was going to lose it. It was at that point that I looked at the door longingly, dropped the jeans and ran for my life. They had beaten me. Here I stood a few year veteran of New York City taken down by a gaggle of high-schoolers with high pony tails and ribbons in their hair. Dejected, defeated and determined to get the hell out of Herald Square, I trudged across 34th Street trying to make my way past Fabio, Donatella and their four beautiful Italian children, all of whom strolled slowly, seductively smoking cigarettes blocking any chance I had of getting to the east side as quickly as I hoped. Once again, I was reminded of the simple fact that I Hate Tourists.
I Hate Them! I Hate Them! I Hate Them! Now, please excuse me while I stomp my feet, clench my fists and am left no choice but to do my shopping online. Wah.