Friday, August 19, 2005

Hide The Nice


My first year in Brooklyn I spent grinning around the neighborhood wondering what had gone so wrong with the (surely) good people of New York. A boroughwide, yea, even citywide, cloud of crappiness hung overhead in all kinds of weather and it tended to really hurt my tender feelings. See, I've never been somebody who puts it all out there, but I ask for things with a smile or at the very least I ask for things, period. My consideration and charm was appreciated with exaggerated smirks, items shoved my way, and an eye on the next, surely better, more Brooklynesque, person on line. People didn't like me. Often I was met with something like suspicion. Was I too nice?

Back in Utah, I prided myself for being a negative person, finding the rotten in about every situation. I never partook in, "hon" or, "thanks a million," or, "I pree-chate that/cha." I bucked at all that sweet posturing, was above that insincerity. So how, then did it crawl or soak in? I am sweet. Sweet, sweet, sweet as a frothy Mormon dessert of no nutritional value . In Brooklyn, I am that which has for many years grossed me out at home.

So I began a regimen of consciously sloughing off the nicey-nice with the pumice of anger, indignation, and disgust. I tried demanding. I jockeyed for position. Did I smile? Only when the transaction was over and to my exact satisfaction and then only very briefly. "I'll take a lemon-rosemary tofu wrap and I'm in a hurry and could you wear a rubber glove so your likely toxic hand-tattoo juice doesn't get on my food?", or, "No, I don't need help with this motherlode of a suitcase up these endless barf-ridden subway stairs. Get the eff away, tourist!", or, "Hey, overheated upper middle-class white dad. That kid was NOT at fault for your doughy toddler's fast-forward descent down the slide. Your kid fell! Fell on his clumsy own!"

That's the new me and guess what? People love me now. Lick my flip-flops, good people of Brooklyn. Lick around my toes. But really, is this me? I think it just may be. It's the me that was wrapped up in swaddling, um, nice stuff that made it hard to connect or feel people. I think the people here suspected that I was in sales or was some sort of missionary which makes sense since I came from the Salesman Capital and Missionary Making Emporium of The Entire Blue and Green Planet. Now I think people know that I'm a lady who needs a wrap.

Here's a secret, though. I'm still so nice that I want to hug the guy making my wrap and dab Neosporin on his reddening piercings, but that's entre nous. (Or entre moi, as nobody reads this.)

Now if I can only figure out why everybody I've gotten to know wants to kiss when we meet up.

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