I was in NYC for the past two days for work. Coming out of the Battery Tunnel I saw the site of the new “Freedom Tower”. So I took this picture while sitting in traffic.
My job requires me to travel to NYC every two or three weeks for a day trip to look at sites that I am doing design for. For this trip, due to the number of sites that I needed to visit, I took a 5:40 am flight, which required me to get up at 3 am. I was exhausted by 11 am. It normally ends up being a long day rising at 4 and returning home around 9 pm. This trip I was “lucky” that it was a two-day trip. Which allowed me to return to my hotel by 5:30.
There are two things that I dislike about these trips, the traffic and how people interact with each other. The traffic is horrible, many of the local drivers are “crazy”, and the parking at the sites and attending meetings is beyond difficult. I rent a car for my travels throughout the Burroughs. This is the first of my discomforts for my trips. My primary concern is that something is going to happen to the car either driving between sites or at the sites. As I said the drivers are pretty crazy with the things they do. When parking the car I more often than not have to park illegally to get anywhere near the site. So now while I am at the site I worry about getting ticketed or towed.
On top of the driving are the people and their standard approach to interaction, that is they immediately go into aggressive confrontation mode when something happens that shouldn’t. No one gets the benefit of the doubt and they assume they are going to try to take advantage of a situation. Two examples of encounters I had on this trip illustrate how living in NYC really impacts people’s attitudes and demeanor towards others. In both examples I readily admit that I made a mistake and admitted as such when confronted, but the approach by the other person in both instances was not what I am use to.
The first was at the Verrazano Narrows Bridge toll plaza. The signs as you approach say easy pass only and others have both easy pass and cash. So based on how easy pass is handled everywhere else in the state, I assumed that you could use easy pass in any lane. I was wrong. So I pull up and the toll collect starts yelling, “Hey! Hey! Where do you think you are going?” I explained I said I just thought based on the signs. And he was still very aggressive saying that I have to pay in cash. I said okay and for whatever reason he realized that I wasn’t going to argue with him and he turned into a nice guy. Like someone flipped a switch and he explained to me how screwed up the bridges are and that they are different from everywhere else.
The second personal interaction I had involved a little fender bump I had in traffic (and I just said that I am worried about other drivers). Very minimal damage, in bumper to bumper traffic going about 2 miles an hour. Every accident I have ever gotten into (not many I can assure you) the parties were cordial and exchange information. It was never confrontational. This woman, on the other hand, gets our of her car and gets all up in my face like I was going to start arguing with her. I thought, holy crap. After about a minute of discussion, she was a completely different person.
Now both of these situations were my fault. I would think that you go into a situation not thinking the worst of someone. I guess I am naïve. This doesn’t happen in Buffalo, at least it has never happened to me. It is a foreign reaction to me. How difficult it must be to go through life always waiting for an argument and confrontation. Always looking for someone trying to take advantage of a situation.
Next trip in July. Hopefully I will be a better driver.