I’m at the airport going back home to Chicago from a quick work trip in New York where I finally met and had training with my team there. It felt like I was there for a week, what with the speed of events that occurred– I met with my manager, half of the duo in charge of my team across both office. The two days were all about research and methodologies, and the night was about relaxing and getting to know the team more personally.
It’s great to be in this city of cities. The last time I was here was in 2009, during a 5-city trip with Terence. New York hadn’t changed much, but my perception of it did– I’m looking at it with the lens of a fully employed young professional. Whenever I see a throng of people moving in one direction, it would remind me of movies, particularly that Charlie Chaplin one where rushed business people were juxtaposed to a herd of sheep. Indistinct, commutable. It was status quo made visible. Now, I walk the same streets and I encountered the same sights that I’d expected, but this time, the crowd is not just made of faceless people.
I felt their stories. These were still strangers right before my eyes, they aren’t fully distinct but they have memorable. I see more details in their actions– a handshake between reunited friends, a couple holding hands as they walk toward a show, men in suits rushing to make it to dinner on time. They’re city people, but people nonetheless. Their city is with a schedule, soaked with ambition on a foundation of grit and distractions.
Being in New York is like being in a movie and in the middle of life at the same time. Many of the people you encounter, you’ve probably seen in a movie before– the bellhop, the hotel receptionist, the taxi driver, the businessman, the art student. Yet in that moment, you’re interacting with them, immersed in mundane activities and exchanges. What you see belongs in a movie, but the situations you’re swept in makes you feel very much part of life. Oh, New York!