The other day, I had one of those “it could only happen here” kind of days. It covered all ends of the NY spectrum: complicated, surprising, diverse, friendly, and scary…all at the same time. Kind of like New York itself. I mean, this isn’t a city for the faint of heart. You have to be prepared for whatever comes – the sick passenger on the train, the reeking drunk on the corner, the talented violinist in the subway station. But still, some days surprise even me. So what happened? Read on.
My day started, as most weekdays do, riding the bus to school with my kids. I realize that for non-city moms, that makes me sound like the single most neurotic parent on the planet: I take the bus WITH my kids. But it’s not a school bus. It’s a city bus. And I’m just not ready for my kids to take the crosstown bus alone.
Anyway – my daughter’s eczema has been acting up. So I gave my daughter her prescription cream, along with a note explaining to the nurse what it was, so she could take it to school. Now, what happens when you give your kid something really important to take to school? She leaves it on the bus.
I figured that was the end of it. It’s just a tube, after all – the prescription info is on the long-lost box it came in. But I was wrong. The industrious bus driver noticed a phone number on the random sheet of paper I had written the nurse a note on, called it, and found my husband at work.And that is how I found myself standing on the corner of 86th and Third for twenty-five minutes watching buses go by, waiting for Tony and bus number 1033. But I got the cream. I thanked Tony. And I took his bus home. You gotta love New York.
Later in the afternoon, on my way to pick up my daughter, I had a NY experience on the other end of the spectrum. While waiting for a friend to walk across the park to pick up the kids from school (no, I didn’t drive. We WALK in this town. 1.5 miles there, and 1.5 miles back with the kids. The bus is only in the morning when we’re too tired to function.) While I’m waiting, a bunch of kids from the local Public High School start coming down the block. I notice a boyfriend/girlfriend fight happening. Which was sort of quaint, until the boyfriend got a strangle-hold on the sixteen year old girl friend and started dragging her into on coming traffic screaming “B#^&%, I’m gonna kill you.”
While most of the people on the block just stood there and stared, yours truly (bravely? stupidly?) ran down the street SCREAMING “I’m calling 911, I’m calling 911!” Within two minutes, the police had arrived in force: two running down the street on foot, three police cars, and even a van with police in riot gear (overkill, perhaps?) The cops cuffed the boy, rescued the girl from the middle of a four lane busy road, calmed down the driver upon whose car-hood the boy had been strangling the girl, and everyone just went along with the rest of their day. Oy.
So – New York has it all: the nice bus driver, the violent boyfriend, the disinterested crowd watching a violent act, the crazy mom running down the street – well, that would be me.
Man, I love this town.