Friday, March 23, 2007

Where everybody knows your name...

Most people I talk to about why they love New York say that anonymity is a big factor. They like that nobody really knows them, that they can do whatever and nobody interferes -- "hey, it's your business."

I understand that. I grew up in a fairly big city that had a rather small social circle and yes, everyone always knew what you'd done, who you knew, where you were. Reputations were easy to acquire and hard to shake off.

At the same time, though, there's a lot to be said, to borrow a line from a popular sitcom, for a place "where everybody knows your name." I appreciate that a lot more now than I used to. Back home, there are owners of restaurants who kiss you on the cheek or the bartender at that place who'll keep the establishment open a little longer just so you can have that last drink..

Given New York's anonymous reputation, I didn't think I'd find that here -- and you don't in quite the same way (you can kiss the maitre d' at your local diner perhaps, but not at the hottest table in the city, unless you're, y'know, Gwyneth Paltrow or equivalent). But, despite it's size and the 18 million people stuffed into this city, it's still possible to carve a personalized niche in your neighborhood, as I'm realizing I have. My dry cleaner smiles and waves whenever she sees me passing by. The deli lady near work pulls Honey Nut Cheerios (my preferred mid-afternoon, need-sweet-but-need-healthy snack) off the shelf when she sees me coming. When I haven't been to the convenience store around the corner for a few weeks, they greet me enthusiastically and ask where I've been. Even my sushi delivery place practically knows my order..

(Oh God, have I become a creature of habit??)

Either way, in a city as large and relatively impersonal as New York is, it's nice to know that people do know, if not your name, at least your maki roll preferences.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger V!Aiyer said...

Creature of habit...yes indeed! Everybody has them, it could be as simple as me checking your blog more frequently than I check your sushi delivery order. Sushi being more important, considering it has a human element and more warmth to it in an impersonal city...

Hope its not gibberish to you! Blame it on India's drubbing at WC 2007...I am sulking...apologies for spreading it



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