Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Street Fighter

In New York, you learn to live your life in public. You start doing things that you wouldn't normally do in front of people. Like fighting. Not fist-fights, but the altogether more awkward relationship fights.

The "conversations" you might normally have in the car on the way home from a movie or a party are had walking down a busy street in the East Village, or on the R train, or standing outside a restaurant waiting for a table. And you try to keep your voice down, but everyone knows.

I know this because they're not hard to spot, and I see them all the time.

James and I have had them, but I'm in those, so can't comment on what they look like.

I can comment on what other people's fights look like, and they're not pretty. I just saw one tonight as I got off the subway. It was classic, she on the outside of the subway grate, he on the inside. He asked if she was going to get on the train, and she said "NO". As the train pulled away, she stomped up the stairs out of the subway station.

I see them on the streets of my neighborhood, and I can tell from the tone of voice and word choice that they are conversations that cover very familiar ground.

I know this is terrible, but I kind of like seeing public fights. Not because I like to see unhappy people, but because they are familiar, very familiar, and, as I walk by the unhappy couple, at that moment, it's not me.

(does that still make me a bad person?)


  1. I feel the exact same way about parents when their kids are having meltdowns in public. Love it!