Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's a Small World

I LOVE New York City. Ten years ago my husband and I spent 24 hours in NYC and I have longed to get back since then. I walk around in wonder and amazement while I am in NYC! But, I love my life in Kansas too. They are worlds apart though! Or are they?

On the way from the airport to our hotel on Times Square our cab driver was pointing out the sites. He pointed to the Empire State Building, and several other landmarks as we drove and when we went into the Queen’s midtown tunnel he explained that we were actually under the East River. He gave us a lot of interesting information and told us where a lot of things were in NYC that we might want to see. I asked him if he’d ever been to the places he was telling us about. He said he’d lived in NYC his whole life and had been to almost none of the places tourists come to visit. 

Not in Kansas
The next day I got to chat with a friendly clerk in a store for a few minutes and I asked her a few questions about her life here. She said she had always lived here. She said the tourists are walking around looking up at all the tall buildings and she is thinking, “they are just buildings. What is the big deal?” I asked her if she had ever been to The Natural History Museum, as we were on our way there next. She said she had not. I have asked several New Yorkers for directions. They could often tell me which train to take but if I asked them if they had ever been to (insert tourist attraction here) mostly the reply was, “No.” WHO would NOT take advantage of all these wonderful things if they lived right here? The answer is “the locals.” After I thought about it though it made a lot of sense. I have lived in Kansas for almost forty years and I just saw a field of sunflowers for the first time last summer. They have always been just a thirty-minute drive away every summer but I’d never taken the time to go. They were beautiful, in many ways more beautiful than the things we saw in the museum today. There are a lot of museums and other things in Kansas City that I have heard about that sound cool but I do not have any plans to do them. Why is that?

One of the things you often hear about NYC is how rude people are. We have seen and heard a few very rude things while we were here but we’ve also seen and heard a lot of nice things while we were here. I am not sure that the people of NYC are any ruder than people in Kansas. I can tell you that the people in NYC walk a whole lot faster than the people in Kansas though!

The very noisy subway
The subways… the subways are amazing and crazy and loud and frightening. To me. But not to a New Yorker. The traffic on the streets is nothing like you find in Kansas either. There is constant honking. Sydney asked our cab driver from the airport why everyone was honking so much. He looked surprised and said, “What? Cars in Kansas don’t honk?” We told him that we rarely honk our horn. He seemed very surprised. We walk slower, drive slower, and honk less, in Kansas. Ha

We saw something heartbreaking in the subway and Sydney wanted an explanation. There was a very pregnant homeless woman who was asking for money. She seemed very drunk or perhaps she had been doing drugs. How do you explain something like that? I did the best I could. I have thought over and over about the baby that will soon be born. Will he or she end up in a loving home as Sydney has?

We also found a little bit of home in the subway. I noticed a man sitting directly across from us with his cell phone out. He had a picture of a Jayhawk on his phone. If you’ve seen very many pictures of Tate then you know Tate almost always wears a hat or a hoodie with a Jayhawk on it. A Jayhawk is the mascot for Kansas University. Tate does not really follow sports but he loves that mascot. I said something to Shawn about the guy’s phone and Shawn asked him if he liked the Jayhawks. The man smiled and said “Rock Chalk?” I pointed to Tate’s coat, which has a Jayhawk on it. The man had grown up in Kansas and had gone to KU but had lived in NYC since the eighties. We got off at the same stop and walked together for a while. Although small town Kansas and NYC are very different, we are not REALLY worlds apart. We are on the same planet, and it is still a very small world we live in.

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