How to Relax in New York City

[Warning:  In the interests of authenticity, I’m going to go all New York on you here, and drop some F-bombs.  I’ll  provide a nice picture of a cute kitten as a distraction.]

It’s not too hard to relax in New York when you live and work here.  First, you need to distinguish between good and bad stress.  Good stress is having a coffee date at 5:30, a concert at 8:00, and a deadline tomorrow at noon.   It’s motivating.  Bad stress is waiting more than 2 minutes for a train, and more than 20 seconds for anything else.

Now that you know the difference, it’s time to do some deep relaxing exercises.  Did you get a seat on the subway?  Good.  Sit back, relax, and take a micronap.  Read something.  Learn a new language.  I almost got a master’s degree once on the subway, so use the time wisely.  Didn’t get a seat?  It’s time to practice your yoga balancing skills.  Take a deep breath, lower your center of gravity, bend your knees slightly, and let go of the pole.  Warning, if you topple over or stomp on someone’s foot, you’re on your own.

Here’s the cute kitten.  You’ll need it.

Of course, the best stress reliever of all is ranting to sympathetic fellow New Yorkers.  We are all around you, and we love to join in a good rant.  For you new New Yorkers, you’ll need to practice a bit.  One of the best markers of a true New Yorker is the ability to tell the difference between a whine and a rant.  Whining is bad; ranting is an art.

Let’s test your ability to tell the difference with these examples.

“This place is so crowded!  We should go to that other place where everyone is friendly and normal”.  If you said this was a rant, you are way way off base.  Let me show you what’s wrong with this picture.  First, it is clear you are waiting for food or coffee.  If it’s crowded, this is a sign it is good food or coffee.  You are complaining, not ranting, and not about the right thing.  Did you come in here to see cheerful idiots grin at you, or to get the best ramen in town?  Second problem:  you just said “normal” like you know what that means.  You don’t.  You know what your little neck of the woods calls normal.  Don’t extrapolate.  Third problem?  Friendly is as friendly does.  Smiling and chatting is all very well and good, but what we count as “friendly” here in NYC is the useful core, not the sweet sugar coating.  “That’s a lovely necklace!” from a stranger is just weird.  “There’s a rat on the platform!” – now that’s some friendly advice you can use.

Next test:  “I loved Rome, but it was so hard to find a Starbucks!”  Well, that’s just wrong on so many levels.  What the fuck are you doing in Rome, looking for a Starbucks?  Stay home and drive to the mall.

Let’s try:  “They put up One World Trade Center in 18 months, but my subway escalator has been broken for 10 years.  Who do you have to fuck to get some service around here?”  Now we’re getting somewhere with the ranting.  We all know that if your subway station is in bad repair, it’s because you live in a non-gentrified neighborhood.  You don’t have

Yes, the “down” side works.  You’re going up.

tourists, you don’t pay a lot of taxes, you don’t have neighbors who work on Wall Street.  This is all to the good, but of course the down side is you will never see a working escalator.  Extra points are given here for finishing up with the f-bomb, and for implying that all the real business in New York City government depends on who gets money or sex.

Now that you’ve got the hang of it, let’s get to my up-to-the-minute rant du jour.  I’m looking at you, guy who replaced Steve Jobs.  I love tech, and I own a nice Surface Pro 4.  It’s great, but there are some problems here.  It’s heavy for a tablet, it’s got crappy battery life, it overheats, and the app store?  Lame, buggy, bad selection.  Did you think that was the rant?  Well, think again.   I’m willing to live with all these problems, because it’s Windows.  I don’t expect much from Windows, so overall, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Remember, it’s Apple who is supposed to be cutting edge and great.  Not Microsoft.

Settle down, fanboy.

Now let’s get to the real problem.  I would pay good money for a small, lightweight Mac with a touchscreen and detachable keyboard that can run iPad apps and then dual boot to Windows 10.  Easy, right?

Wrong.  I googled around, and found that Mr. I-Replaced-Steve recently gave a quote to some geek Apple blogging fanboy, to whit, “The Mac is more of a sit-down experience.  We feel Mac users want a pristine screen, limited portability, and a tiny little touch bar right at the bottom.”

THIS is a sit-down experience in NYC.

Right.  A sit-down experience.

When the fuck do I ever sit down?  I have my daily goods strapped to my body as I run down broken escalators, sprint past Platform Rat to give the conductor his daily thrill by slamming the doors closed neatly onto my midsection. I then hip-check someone slower and skinnier than me (pretty much everyone), squeeze my fat ass into a seat, and pull out my tablet with my right hand while balancing a latte in my left.  I need get a reading app open with one hand, read for my 45 minute commute, and then sprint up the working escalator in midtown, get to my desk, snap on the keyboard and have my tablet turn into my alternate desktop as I log into my work “guest network” to read my email and act like a productive corporate drone.

So, Mr. We-Love-Apple-Fanboys, sitting in your lovely green campus out in Cupertino, you listen to me.  I live in New York City.  I like it here.  I need touchscreens that work WITH gloves on in the winter.  I need small, strong, light, flexible, portable, innovative.  I need access to all the languages and operating systems you and your rivals got.  I need to take off the keyboard and store it at work, because even 5 ounces counts when you’re running up an escalator.  I need to fold it up and put it in my pocket.

And I need it now.



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