There are a lot of changes one must get used to when making the move from the suburbs to the city. Less trees, more people, bullets whizzing past your head as regularly as pigeons and bicycle couriers. If you’re not ready, city life can eat you alive. When I transitioned from suburbia to urbia, I thought I was ready. I had a bus pass. I had an umbrella. I incorporated cool city words like “urbia” and “vernacular” into my vernacular. Look at me now, my old hometown, I won!
Buuuuuut I wasn’t ready. You, however, will be. Here are 4 things they don’t tell you about city life.
Everything Requires Quarters (And Nobody Has Quarters)
If you’re one of the lucky ones who has their own washer and dryer, let me start by saying fuck you. I’d be a much cleaner person if I had what you have. Much like 99% of city dwellers, I have to parade my Santa sack of soiled socks down to the laundromat.
This wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that the machines only take quarters and the change machine is broken (it’s always broken). No problem. Just hop on over to the bodega and have them make change. Sorry, gotta make a purchase, and gum costs $3 here because it’s actually a drug front. No matter, just hop the bus to the bank. Oh wait, the bus doesn’t give change and costs $2.25. Now you’re DOWN a quarter. Oh, and the bank is closed(it’s always closed). Hmmm maybe one of these kind passersby will give you change…
You Will Be Asked For Change Multiple Times A Day
It’s a weird situation to be asked for change. Is this guy a down-on-his-luck hobo with a heart of gold, or is he a crackhead? Will my small donation be used for food, or will it be used for crack? Instead of giving him money that he could spend on a wealth of debauchery should I cut out the middle-man and just give him some of my crack?
This ethical dilemma will be thrust upon you multiple times a day and there’s no way around it that isn’t awkward. I actually keep small amounts of loose change in my pockets, just for this purpose. I also wear big ass headphones because…
Crazy People Will Talk To You If You Acknowledge Them
If you’re not in the mood to discuss conspiracy theories with a guy who has more thumbs than teeth, KEEP YOUR HEADPHONES ON, even if you’re not actually listening to anything. During brighter days, a pair of sunglasses can work wonders. Get the biggest book you can find and read it intently. Don’t make eye contact with anybody. Even if they are so entertainingly crazy, regard them as if they were the Ark of the Covenant and you value the low viscosity of your eyeballs. If you connect with the source, you will be drawn in, and then you’re stuck talking about the popularity of red corduroy pants with a guy who has a gaping head wound (true story).
The easy way out would be saying “I’ve gotta go see a man about a horse” but…
There Are No Bathrooms Anywhere
None. No shopkeeper, store owner, or restaurateur wants to add an hour of shit scrubbing to their duties unless it means business. If you ain’t payin’, you ain’t peein’. Unless you can find a construction site with Port-o-potties and lax security, you’ll have to find an alleyway. By the way, find the deepest, darkest alleyway you can find because if a cop sees you publicly urinating, it’s a hefty fine.
So yeah, the city can be a strange place, but it sure as sharts beats that boring suburban baby factory where you came from.
For live dispatches from the city of brotherly love, follow the author on Twitter @DanScully.