Ramblings from the Gryphon Rose

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Proud to be a New Yorker

I love this city. No, I really do, actually. Here’s why:
I’m at work again today. Didn’t go in yesterday because we thought the baby was coming yesterday, but it was a false alarm. So here I am. On Day Three of the strike. [info]xochitl42 and I took the LIRR again, then walked up from Penn Station. We left home at about 7:35, got to the Woodside station at 7:50, caught the train two minutes later, were at Penn Station at 8:05, and I was at work at 8:40. Early. Even after stopping at Starbucks to try their Chai Egg Nog Latte, which is damn fine stuff.
But that’s not why I love this city. That’s just the background info. See, here’s the thing. It’s the third day of the Transit Strike. No subways, no busses. Hundreds of thousands of people finding alternate ways to work. Literally tens of thousands of people walking through Manhattan. And you know what?
There’s no fighting. There’s no cursing, no shoving, no sniping. Everyone’s smiling and nodding at everyone else, people are saying “excuse me” and “sorry” and “thank you” to each other. People are chatting with strangers on the street. One lady stopped [info]xochitl42 long enough to zip her backpack for her—a pocket had come open and something was in danger of falling out.
Everyone is taking this strike in stride, quite literally. Sure, people are angry and annoyed, but at the TWU, not at each other. And everyone is working together to get through this.
This is what New York City is all about. This is what we do in times of adversity—we band together.
People who don’t live here think that New Yorkers are nasty, bitter people. You don’t know us. That’s not it at all. We can be sharp-tongued, sure, and once this is all said and done you’ll see people cursing each other out on the subway again. But that’s just to vent, and it blows over quickly. New Yorkers are, by and large, a decent lot, and willing to help a fellow New Yorker in need. That’s why, one time when a friend twisted her ankle on the street and fell down, a dozen people stopped to see if she was okay and to offer help. This is who we really are. This is what makes this city great. We can and will get through just about anything, and when the chips are down we stand together.
And the TWU can go take a flying f*ck.
Guess what, transit workers? We don’t need you. Every day we get more used to whatever alternate commute each of us has found. Every day the city smoothes out the process. Every day we show more and more that we can—and will—survive without you. Where’s your leverage now? Hard to pressure people into giving in to your outrageous demands when those same people have learned to handle your absence so easily.
The strike, and the attitude of the TWU leaders, continues to annoy me. And, sure, it’s annoying to have to get up half an hour earlier and to have to walk a mile and a half every morning and again every evening. But I can put up with it. We all can. And that’s because we’re all doing it together, and we’re all maintaining our composure and our sense of humor as much as possible. We can bear it because we’re doing it together.
I really do love this city. And hey, now I get to spend more time walking through it every day. It’s like the TWU’s holiday gift to the rest of us. Not a bad way to view things.


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