Wherever I lay my hat

Everybody has a place where they feel most comfortable. A place that’s as soothing and becalming as your presence in the womb itself, providing you with a moment of sanity away from the world around you. An oasis of blessed relief, which at any given point would be the place you would instantly choose to be teleported. If it weren’t for the fact that teleporting isn’t actually currently humanly possible, obviously.

For some people, that place can be utterly specific. A particular table at a quaint little restaurant off the beaten track in a French market town, maybe. Or drunkenly falling comatose in the car park behind the Dog & Bucket in Trowbridge after one Smirnoff Ice too many. You know the kind of thing.

For others, the vision is a little less precise. Inhaling the unmistakable odour of the first mown grass of spring. Holding a loved one’s hand as you trudge through newly fallen snow. Or gazing wistfully over the Virginian plains as eagles and kestrels soar overhead. To be honest, I’m not particularly sure that Virginia has plains, let alone eagles and kestrels, but I think you know what I mean.

As for me, it’s gazing out over a vast expanse of water. Preferably with The Special One beside me. Only then do I feel calm and at one with the world. With the sea infront of me, a feeling hits me that makes me know that there truly is no place on earth I’d rather be.

For a remarkable number of New Yorkers, it seems, the place that gives them the same sensation is “the exact position that would cause maximum annoyance to commuters”. Whether it’s on the third step up a long staircase on the subway, or in the doorway to an office building, some residents of the city find a curious zen descend upon them at the moment of maximum inconvenience. A zen that roots them to the spot, oblivious to the muffled effing and blinding of all those around them. And only when everybody has taken a long detour/bodycharged/crawled under their legs to get past does reality re-emerge to allow the (now thoroughly relaxed) person to go on their way.

Still, I’m not going to forgive the woman on the N train who ran ten yards and practically wrestled me to the ground in order to get a seat that had suddenly become available right next to me. I wouldn’t have minded, but for the fact that I wasn’t even trying to sit in it in the first place, and was simply trying to make space for the seat’s current occupant to vacate it.

Everybody has their place, and who can deny them that? This person was just lucky that her place wasn’t her local A&EER, given the dagger looks I shot her for the rest of the journey.

Where’s the sea when you need it most, eh?

7 thoughts on “Wherever I lay my hat

  1. Brooklyn

    If there are such things as karma and reincarnation, people who stop dead in their tracks to use a cellphone at the top of subway entrance stairs, not two feet to the right or left, should be reincarnated as the pavement where they stand so they can be trod upon by other commuters for enternity.

  2. Expat Mum

    But come on, they do that in London too. I used to work on Oxford Street and running out for a sandwich at lunch time took about three hours because of people gazing around them, seemingly rooted to the ground.

  3. ExpatKat

    What about the ones who sit at a red light for what seems like an eternity when it’s already turned green! You can’t actually get round them. This requires me to dig deeply into my own inner well of spiritual peace. I admit, I’m not always successful!

  4. Brooklyn

    We part company here. I don’t like those who hit the horn a nanosecond after the light goes green. I’m fairly certain they are not heart surgeons for whom a brief delay will not mean the difference between life & death.

  5. fishwithoutbicycle

    This is why I avoid the subway in favo(u)r of walking 🙂 I find a lot of New Yorkers seem to have their contemplative experience at the top/bottom of the escalator maximised to cause a 10person pile up

  6. Mom/Mum

    I’m with expat Mum – i too have been stressed out about trying to get a quick lunch in central London. The ones that really got to me were the horades of students with their ginormous rucksacks, ambling along in a pack tighter than pam Anderson’s bras, staring up at the skies oblivious to the pile up of foot persons behind them!

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