One of the first things I heard when I got back from New York was this:
‘Weren’t the people total assholes?’
Every city’s citizens has its stereotypes, and New Yorkers are, apparently, seen as cold, heartless Wall Street goons who are always angry at something and, above all, hate tourists.
I’ll admit that, going in, I was a bit nervous. My mother is basically fearless and would rather ask strangers for directions than look at a map, and if the people of New York were anything like I’d been told, we were in for a lot of cold, silent judgment.
I was right about one of the two things: my mother asked for directions at least seven times a day. She also forced me to ask directions at one point, which was ridiculous, because I already knew where we were going, but still.
However, literally nobody was rude to us. Anyone we stopped to ask for directions was polite and helpful. New Yorkers, as it turns out, see the chance to give directions as an opportunity to show off their knowledge of the beautiful, bustling city they call home. [As long as, of course, the asked in question is courteous. Please, for god’s sakes, don’t be fucking rude when asking people for directions.]
Sure, it’s crowded and overly romanticized and the dirty water dogs can be questionable, but there’s a reason why this city is considered one of the epicenters of the world, and it’s not Wall Street. [Okay, maybe a little.]
New York City is a meeting point for people of every culture, faith, and nationality, a physical manifestation of what this country is and can be.
Of course, like any city with over 8 million people, tensions will rise and violence is always a possibility, but change is coming, and for every person robbing tourists, there are a hundred more striving to make good in this world.
Even though the majority of people aren’t awful, but the worst experiences we have tend to stand out the most vibrantly in our minds. [That’s an actual psychological phenomenon we learned out in my AP Psych class that I can’t remember the name of]
Really, the truth is, nothing’s ever going to be perfect. If you leave the house ever [and, with the internet, even if you don’t] you’re likely to run into some pretty unpleasant people at one point or another. You just can’t let it get to you.
I suffer from an anxiety disorder, and have a tendency to blow up tiny incidents to be worse than they are and get needlessly upset over them, but simply working on spinning things in a positive light has helped me so much.
Also, taking nasty experiences and turning them into hilarious, crowd-pleasing stories also helps.