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Can you walk and not piss people off at the same time?

1 Oct

The natives get restless when tourists and newcomers use the sidewalk, subway platforms, escalators or stairs to do anything other than get the hell out of their way. It’s true: The two most important words for pedestrians on the New York City streets is KEEP MOVING!

Here are the top 10 “violations” guaranteed to draw scrutiny from the stressed-out masses:

1) Exiting the subway, then standing at the top of the stairs while you reach for your phone, sunglasses, umbrella, coat, map, whatevs.
2) Texting while walking. Even if you think you’re good at it.
3) Standing in the middle of the sidewalk to admire the skyscrapers (or rummage through your purse, or do anything).
4) Walking three or more abreast. Broadway in SoHo is especially bad, what with the gaggles of shopping girls linking arms.
5) Smoking for a captive audience. If there are people who can’t avoid being downwind of you, and you’re exhaling every which way, people will be VERY pissed off. And by people, I mean me.
6) On a related note, each time you indiscriminately litter by chucking your cigarette butt on the sidewalk? Make sure you don’t hit a passerby. Because ouch. And also because LAWSUIT!
7) The four magic words for public transit*: LET PEOPLE OFF FIRST.
8) Spitting on the sidewalk. Gum on the sidewalk. Loogies on the sidewalk.
9) Closing your soaked umbrella any way but verrrrrry slowly. Get in the line of fire, and those things are worse than a wet dog drying off.
10) Being That Guy with a golf umbrella only OctoMom should be allowed to use. Especially under scaffolding. Shut it down!

Quick tip: On especially packed sidewalks, I walk that little strip of street between the curb/scaffolding and the parked cars. It can be kind of grimy there (watch for puddles and grease), but it’s like being in the HOV lane. Beep beep, y’all.

*Also, this is my one-sentence rant on subway pole leaners. Because no.


How not to react, Part II: Scary dirtbag edition

24 Sep

OK. So I did something very stupid, and I only share this story so you don’t repeat my mistake.

Recently I wrote about personal safety and how you should never talk back or respond when someone catcalls you. And, even more recently, I ignored my own advice.

A couple days ago, I was up early for the gym. I was in a great mood, heading up the street to sweat it out on the eliptical when:

“Guhhhmornin’, beautiful.”

It was less derogatory than it could have been, and I was angry, but I didn’t react, turn or even flinch. As I waited at the corner for the light to change, the guy passed me. I had sidled up next to a cop, so feeling safe, I turned to see who it was. No shock that he was your strung out, garden-variety idiot.

But he saw me look at him. And then? I glared. I gave him the angriest face I could create. Mouth slightly open, lower jaw hinged forward, eyes small and transfixed. A look that said (and this is the tame version):

You, pal, are the decay of society. A slime. Disgusting. How dare you.

And then? He glared back, matching my expression if not beating it. I became extremely nervous, that feeling where your brain thumps and your chest feels steamy and your heart speeds up. I have provoked him now, I thought. This is not good.

AND THEN? I glared back AGAIN. We were now in a contest: Who could hate whom more with their death stare? (The cop either didn’t see this or ignored it. Unfortunately, being a dirtbag is legal.) Out of my peripheral vision, I saw the catcaller, while still walking away from me, had turned to glare at me once more. You little bitch, his eyes said. I’ll show you.

I immediately thought, This is why you don’t do this, because now this guy is going to go home, get a gun, follow me home from the gym and shoot me.

So anyway, personal safety blah blah blah moral highground, I screwed up. For the rest of the day, I was paranoid, and it reminded me just how hard it is not to react in those moments. We are degraded and stripped of power, unable to defend against that which doesn’t happen when we’re accompanied by a male. When we’re solo, it a dirtbag’s free-for-all. And it’s not effing fair.

It was scary, but it was mostly my fault that I let it get scary. Not worth it, people. Not worth it. I’m sorry I did it, and I hope you never will. Thanks for letting me tell this story today.

Previously: How not to react when you’re hit on or spit on

Those bastards! Craigslist scammers alive and well

17 Sep

Update!!! Just this morning, I received ANOTHER scam e-mail — this time from “San How” at I’m posting it here so you can see how similar it is to the first one I got (below).

I am glad it is still  available for sale.I am very much interested in buying your item  and i am ok with the  price.  I am only able to make payment by money order at this time b/c i am away on assignment.  Please provide me with your name ,  address and phone number  for payment. It will take about 7days for payment to get to you. As per pick-up, I will make arrangement for the pick-up after payment has been received by you. I don’t mind adding thirty dollars so you can keep it in my favor.Please take the posting off craigslist today and consider it sold to me. Thanks
Expecting to hear from you soon.

I have been fantasizing about what I’d say if I were going to respond. My favorite so far? “I’m sure you don’t mind paying me $30 extra in fake money, you son of a bitch!”


If you are selling something on Craigslist and receive a bid from someone at the e-mail address, BEWARE. This is what he wrote me* earlier this week, and I wanted to spread the word:

Thank you for the reply to my mail inquiry am quite satisfied with the
condition .Am very much interested and i would like to make an
outright purchase, so i will appreciate it if you can withdraw the
advert from the web
.Actually am a bad stammerer,I would have call you
I will be paying with a certified check.Furthermore my mover will be
coming over for the pick up i  might not be available for the pick
up myself but am  OK with  the information from  the ad.I will need
the following information details to make payment arrangement 1,Your
full name to be on the Payment.2 ,Your postal address.3,Your phone
number  both land and mobile.4,Your postal code.????
I will really
appreciate it buying this item from you.So you get me the required
information for your payment to be issued asap.
Thank you.

I immediately felt uneasy that he was asking outright for my personal information, but it was offset by my misplaced, “Oh, that poor socially inept guy” sympathies.

But THEN! One of my always-savvy nNYers operatives also sent me to this great blog, which chronicles Craigslist scammers. The e-mails on there are shockingly similar to the one I received. Looking back, he never even mentioned the item I was selling, and the verbiage sounds completely canned. Those bastards.

Be careful out there, y’all.

*All emphasis mine, indicating that which I found suspicious.