New Yorkers are a quick breed. We enter subway turnstiles with card in hand, throw exact change without a blink when we get our morning coffee, order in code at the deli around the corner for our usual. In and out. Done and done.
Though I have been guilty of sidewalk rage with slow walkers (I will actually bare my teeth) sometimes, I really feel bad for the out-of-towners, who, especially in the morning rush, don’t have a prayer.
Enter scene: 9:06 AM in the Old Bridge Gourmet (ha) Deli on 41st and Lex, across the street from my office. While their coffee isn’t great, for a medium it’s only $1.50 which is the cheapest deal in my block radius. And, from 7 AM to 10 AM, you get a free buttered bagel with a medium coffee! I digress.
It’s one of those delis where the Asian women are yelling NEXT! NEXT! ONE-FIFTAY! NEXT! TWO DOLLAH! NEXT! God forbid you have to stop for a second to find a penny or give them your charge card. It was intimidating at first, now I welcome the challenge. I’ve gotten really fast–I don’t even ask for a bag. The only words I use to communicate are SESAME BAGEL! NO BAG! NO BAG! Yes, I have even grown accustom to repeating my words.
Ever wonder what it would be like to see a bunch of Brits in the middle of this mayhem? It’s not like I have had dreams about this scenario, but think about it. On the whole, they are a very polite people. This morning, in between the shuffling, pouring, tab flipping, (Splenda) packet opening, straw stirring craziness that takes places at the counters of the coffee island, I hear:
SORRY, SORRY! OH, DEAR, I’M SORRY! I JUST WANTED, EMM, THE BA-NA-NA CREAM COFFEE-OH SORRY, SORRY…as they spun around in circles with their empty coffee cups in hand.
As I watched from the quick moving line with my own coffee and quarters in hand, while I definitely found this hilarious, I wasn’t sure if I felt bad for them, or if I was secretly gloating about how I have the system down.
Some say that New Yorkers are rude. Some say that we are intense.