You Don’t Walk Here, You Run

Do you know that feeling…? You quietly walk around, sipping on your coffee, paying full attention to the buildings around you…? You may as well forget it when you’re here. You don’t walk here, you run; you don’t sip on your coffee, you tip the cup in hope of finding your own mouth amidst all the commotion; you only see things three feet in front of you, unless you want to run into someone head-first.

As soon as you start to walk slowly and look around, you send out a clear signal to everyone else: “We’re tourists!”. New Yorkers can’t be bothered with tourists. They get aggravated when someone slows them down, looking at Empire State Building for too long. Their only thought at a time like this is: “Man, it’s just Empire State! It’s been there forever and is not going anywhere. Just get out of my way!”

New Yorkers are forever on the move and never have a minute to waste. They rush to work in the morning, dash to lunch from their job, run home after hours and then try to catch up with friends, catch a movie, have dinner or spend some time at a gym.

“Time is money” is not just a saying here. Too much is happening, too much is at stake and the competition is too fierce to allow anyone to slow down. Compared to other places, time is running three times faster here and forces you to catch up with it. There’s no use explaining to your non-New York family that “you didn’t have time to call”. It’s difficult to explain that regular 24 hours feel shorter here and are usually tightly packed a week in advance.

Why do people decide to live here anyhow, why don’t they imagine living anywhere else? The answer to that question is complex and there will be many a post on this blog before I dare to give it.
After a while, you catch up with all the running. You learn that to simply walk around isn’t the wisest of ideas; you acquire the skill of zigzagging through crowds with the speed of light, without even rubbing against them. You slalom your way ahead, reaching each nook, subway station, and train in an effortless way. After a while, it’s you who are being driven mad by the tourists. “Why is he just looking around and not walk?”, you will find yourselves asking all of a sudden.