A reflection: by Robyn Roberts
New York City is no cakewalk for a southern gal such as myself. I moved here with the same shining stars in my eyes like so many others long before and after me, so mystified and in lust with this city that my life was bound to be as bright as Times Square. A typical cliche transplant, right? Sure. But making my dreams a reality would be a rather simple task compared to the hurdle of feeling at peace within my new surroundings.
You see, in the south, the only things you push are SEC college degrees and baby carriages. Up here, you're pushed off of crowded trains, bodegas, out of cabs, and into shady rental agreements. 'Please' and 'thank you' are southern rites of passage. In New York, consider yourself lucky if you even receive a passing nod of appreciation. In the south, ladies always get first dibs on any available seats. Up here, ladies stand while men take two seats: one for their butts, and a second for the massive gap between their legs. Where I come from we hold doors for those behind us and open our doors for those in need. Doors are mostly padlocked here, bolted and chained and the majority of your neighbors "aren't home". Down south, spitting is reserved for watermelon seeds and cherry pits into paper napkins, or tobacco-chewing boys in dugouts. New Yorkers consider spitting an art form, as displayed like Pollock's work along the sidewalks and subway platforms. Southerners believe
in taking their time and allowing others to pass. Up here you'd better just get out of the way--it's every man for himself. In the south, we steal bases and home runs. New Yorkers do that too, along with cabs, confidence, and everything else you think you own.
Deriving from the land of hospitality, manners, and ingrained kindness can do a number on any fresh New Yorker, to say the least. Conditioning oneself to not always expect those same principals and values instilled in them since conception is no easy feat. For me however, I wouldn't have it any other way now, and I wouldn't expect anyone to change on my account. I, have changed, thanks to all of them. I came to New York carrying the emotional state of a pre-teen, and if I ever leave this city, I'll exit as a distinguished, mature, wiser woman. Forget cotillions and debutante classes. NYC is the only real finishing school a lady needs. New Yorkers are the strongest people in the world, for they have truly lived and survived. They might forget to hold the door for you or say 'hello' in passing, but they will be the first to pull you out of the trenches and the only ones to tell you what you need to hear when no one else dares. Up here, they will introduce you to life-changing books, art, food, and experiences. The south might be sweet, but New York is Fierce. There's a reason they say, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere." Visiting home now is always a nice reprieve from the big city. Which makes coming back to NYC that much sweeter.