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two.

May 13, 2010

New York City makes very clear two major reasons I could never be a city girl – public transit and crowds. Cliche? Yes, but true.

Everyone knows I dislike using public transit. My aversion is partially due to the fact that I’m a terrible navigator, even when I’m driving myself. Public transit makes it worse because at least when I’m driving, I can just turn around without too much problem (except in New Jersey with their “no left turn” thing). Anyway, the biggest part of my hesitancy to use public transit is because I’m not used to it and therefore, it’s actually really tricky. There are so many questions that people who are used to subways, buses and trains don’t even think about. How and where do I buy my ticket? How do I know which train to get on? How do I know which way it’s going? How do I know which stop I get off at and which way to go from there? How much time do I need to budget to get someplace? And that just covers the basics – none of the nuances of etiquette like which side of the escalators to stand on. But it all gets figured out and eventually becomes habit. So it’s really only a half reason I wouldn’t live in a city.

However, crowds are a different story. For anyone who doesn’t know, crowds of people make me very very uncomfortable. Not anything near a phobia or even something that makes me avoid doing things. But it mentally makes it harder for me to concentrate on other things because I get really focused on the crowd (if you’re ever with me in a crowd, I’m sure it’s pretty obvious). And it triggers all the normal physical symptoms of being uncomfortable and nervous. Most people would think it’s some sort of personal space issue. Not true. It really comes down to control; I don’t have any in a crowd of people. Sure, I don’t have control over other people at any other time. But the bigger the crowd, the more tightly packed we are, the fewer options I have to do anything but whatever everyone else is doing. I’m not so ok with that.

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4 comments

  1. hmm… the feeling of being in control (or not) with a lot of people around — I can sort of relate to that. I get nervously anxious (or anxiously nervous) each time before I go back to China. The crowds, the city, the train system … even though I was from there.

    I’ve been wondering if always-wanting-to-be-in-control is a capricorn thing.


    • I think control is totally a Capricorn thing, but then again, it could just be a “me” thing. 🙂


  2. I love subways, not sure why but it is the only form of city mass transit that I like. I have never had to worry about what to do to get on the subway since every time I have been in a city with a subway system I have always just followed. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to learn.

    As far as the crowds go I am not a big fan either. However, a think of crowds coming in two form:

    The concert crowd – this is where I agree with you and don’t feel like I am in control

    A city crowd – I am okay with this type of crowd since everyone has somewhere they are going and the crowd is moving most of the time


    • City crowd – what if they’re moving in the wrong direction?!!! Concert crowds move too – just usually up and down versus forward (though forward happens too).

      I think the difference between your two types of crowds is space. City crowds can feel less intimidating and claustrophobic because you think of them as outside on a street, while concerts are in a closed area. But it goes both ways. City crowds in subways have a very similar feel to concerts (only less fun) and outside concert crowds usually have a little more space.



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