On Looking Up
When I first moved to the city that never sleeps, a friend of a friend said to me ‘You’ll know you’re a true New Yorker when you stop looking up at all the buildings and just get on with your day.’
These words impressed me. When I travel, I’m always smugly pleased with myself when someone mistakes me for a native of the place that I am in. Granted, this occurs most often when said someone is a tourist themselves or when I have not had the opportunity to open my mouth and betray myself with my accent. Nonetheless, I love those moments. They make me feel like I could make my home anywhere. So imagine my delight when a native of the place I was actually trying to make my home in offered me this tidbit.
Obviously, I immediately decided that I would try to emulate this straight-down-to-business approach to traversing the city streets. There was one minor draw back.
This is NEW YORK.
Every street, every corner, every person is of immediate and enthralling interest to me. I want to look up. And down. And sideways. And everywhere at once, quite frankly. I want to see and to experience it all. Quite often, I want to photograph it too. All pretence goes out the window at that point. (My camera is big and beautiful and screams TOURIST!)
The thing is, I don’t really mind if people think I am a tourist. If I was being completely honest with myself, I would admit that I behave the same way wherever I am. Even in my hometown, where I lived for twenty odd years, I looked up when I walked. The world, it seems, is just a little bit too exciting to ‘just get on with my day.’
Yesterday, I was doing the daily trudge to the subway for the commute home. Hordes of New Yorkers surrounded me, all tired from long days. When I looked up, this is what I saw:
I think that is worth being mistaken for a tourist.