Friday, October 5, 2012

My hair's not on fire

I am traveling this weekend to visit a friend in Virginia. Since I've never taken a train beyond Penn Station in NY, and never by myself, I decided to splurge a little and make the trip on Amtrak. I say splurge because it will end up costing me more than driving. I weighed the cost against the fact that I wanted a new adventure, 9+ hours is a long drive to do alone, the miles on my car, and the fact that traveling by train allows me time to relax while someone else does the work.

Train won. 

I woke up earlier than any human ever should this morning (5 am). I had to get ready, take care of the kitties, say goodbye to my housemate's munchkins, then drive 30 minutes, park, and get to the gate for an 8:05 am train. I arrived at Penn Station at 10:35, and departed on a train bound for Richmond at 11:35. So far, so good. 

As I was standing in Penn Station, hovering around the departure board waiting for my gate to be announced, I realized something, that I think I can finally admit:

I really don't like New York City. 

It's not that it's scary, because it really isn't. True, I find it a little intimidating because I don't know my way around, but it's actually pretty easy to navigate if you just pay attention. I'm not worried about crime or terrorism or anything because, well, worrying would do no good. Also I've never seen so many security people in one place at one time.

It isn't that I find the people rude. I know New Yorkers have that reputation, but honestly, I've never really encountered that issue. Not to mention - it was Penn Station. Not everyone in there is from New York. This morning, I saw an older woman drop a bunch of paperwork, and no fewer than three people rushed to help her. 

I even enjoy the part of New York that involves walking around, seeing sights, shopping, and wandering in and out of museums. Oh, and people watching. Don't forget the people watching.

What I don't like is the pressure. All the bustle and confusion and hurry up and get where you need to be, even if all you're going to do is wait. I don't like the pressure of always hurrying, never stopping, and feeling like I'm in the way. 

I'm not high-strung, and I'm never urgent. Almost nothing is an emergency to me. I feel very out of place in an environment like Manhattan - where everything is a "my hair's on fire" kind of moment. 

I guess the truth is, I'm more an upstate kind of pace is a little more relaxed, and my hair is never on fire.


  1. That's a long haul.
    We drove .... from Orange County, NY to Virginia recently... and well.. It was 6 hours (kind of)... IT WAS INSANE.

  2. I haven't even spent much time in NYC, but listening to the people that I have to book medical trips for (free trips, mind you) that call (literally) 2 minutes after their taxi is scheduled drives me insane. I actually had a woman tell me "the clock is ticking"! She's on Medicaid. She doesn't have a job to rush off to. Totally different story when I'm booking for Long Island or WNY. I think I'll stay upstate. Have a wonderful time!

  3. I've always wanted to take a train somewhere...glad you're getting to do it :) I live in a city with a bigger bark than bite, and since I've lived here I've realized that I do actually enjoy the country. (But I do still love the city I grew up in and the surrounding cities of the city I currently live in, it's just kind of lame. Ha!) When I was growing up we'd drive from Houston to LA or San Jose to see my dad's about some long trips. But how I value those memories!

  4. Yes, I completely agree with the reason you dislike NYC - and now I know how to describe how I feel about it! It makes me feel unfocused and rushed, like everything is urgent and chaotic - and I far prefer laid back! Thanks!

  5. Just did a 10 hr stint to NC ! Feel your pain, however, I'm the girl walking up your heels, huffing and puffing because your moving to slow, with my hair on fire :) Working in the big city all your life will do that to you !

  6. I have never been to New York before - I am sure I would love it and I am sure that eventually I would look forward to going home to my own little town with a slightly slower pace of life