On To Adventure

Becoming A New Yorker

I’ve become one those people. Or, I’m on my way to becoming them.

The Plot:

I was sitting on my sofa at 12:30 AM, Thanksgiving Night. (Technically it’s Black Friday, but everybody knows it’s the same day until you go to sleep.) I was tossing back and forth the idea of going shopping. I didn’t need anything. I didn’t really want anything. In fact, I hate shopping. I like new things; I just despise the process that goes into getting said things.

I prefer to do my shopping from the comfort of my living room, or, if I venture out to the god forsaken mall I like to be alone or shopping with a very limited amount of estrogen. I like my shopping how I like my Monday morning interactions: short, sweet and far and few between.

However, for some reason, I wanted to go out on Black Friday. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic for my family, after all, this was my third Thanksgiving away from the people who know me best. I don’t get homesick often, but the holiday’s hurt a little. No matter how crazy your family is, you love them because they’re yours.

Perhaps I thought to be around crowds of insanity, might cure my homesickness a bit. Then, as though, he was sent from the fates, that Jimmy Fallon came on the tube and discussed why Millennials or “Fallennial’s” go Black Friday shopping – for the experience.

I jumped off the couch confirming my intention. I was going to tackle the Queens Center Mall at 1ish in the AM on Black Friday. This mall is four stories. I was sober.

For the first time that Thanksgiving day I got out of my pajamas. I checked Google Maps to see what public transportation could take me to the mall at this unusual hour. It would be 30 minutes before the next bus arrived.

I didn’t have 30 minutes, if I didn’t leave right then I would lose my momentum and regain my sanity and remember that it was f’ing Black Friday! So I did what any sensible New Yorker would do – I called an Uber.

Uber and I have gotten pretty friendly, too friendly perhaps. Seriously, I called a car service to come take me Black Friday shopping. I rolled up to the mall in a Black Lincoln Town Car. It was in the back of that Lincoln Town Car that I realized the transformation was taking hold.

As of December 1st I’ve been living in New York City for 6 months. I don’t think it’s fair to say I’m a New Yorker just yet, but my 1 AM Uber ride to the mall got me thinking of all the habits I’ve adopted over the last 6 months that signify my transformation into a New Yorker.

For starters, 6 months ago I didn’t even know what Uber was. As of now, I haven’t operated a moving vehicle in 6 months. 

I’m no longer surprised when my phone notifies me I’ve walked 10 miles that day, I am more surprised if my mileage is only 10.

Because you walk so much, it’s necessary to refuel often and this is why Pizza is its own food group in New York. And there is a correct way to eat a New York slice and if you’re eating your slice incorrectly you will be called out.

When you’re eating your slice you use a straw to drink your can of soda – and it is soda.

I’ve learned that on any given day J.LO or any other celebrity might step on to the same elevator as me. Eventually, this becomes normal.

Sometimes when I’m waiting on the subway I’ll be approached and asked for directions and 6 months in, there are times when I can actually provide them. Also, the subway musicians are some of the most talented folks you’ll ever meet.

When it comes to grocery shopping in New York there are three options:

  1. Only buy what you can carry home.
  2. Buy your own shopping cart.
  3. Have your groceries delivered?

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to walk down the street and hear 10 conversations in different languages taking place around you.

New Yorkers seem cocky, but I’ve realized they can’t help it. The amount of catcalling and the number of times you get hit on every day would force anyone’s ego to exude with confidence.

Lastly, it is impossible to ever get bored in New York City – no matter the date or time there’s always something to do and often it’s something you’ve never done before.

It’s because of all of these reasons that New York has become my home. Like Judith Thurman said, “Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground.” I’ve always been homesick for New York – it’s where I belong. While I wouldn’t classify myself as a New Yorker just yet, I’m certainly on my way.

Following a five-year stint in New York City, Ashley is now a Los Angeles transplant. Having grown up in rural Kentucky, Ashley is passionate to share self-care techniques used around the world and hopes to make them accessible to folks in rural communities. Ashley believes in gratitude, personal legends, and doing good. Aside from being a business leader in her professional life, Ashley is a novelist and freelance writer.

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