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She Said, Z Said: New Yahk — Friendliest Place on Earth
She: Was it something I said?
She: Come to think of it, we didn’t have any shady guys trying to sell us anything on this trip. What’s happened to New York City?
Z: I don’t know. In fact, my most startling observation from our recent visit is that New Yorkers have become disconcertingly friendly.
She: It was unnerving when that guy on the subway offered us unsolicited advice about which exit to take, and when the people on the bus tried to make sure we knew where to stop.
Z: I decided that New Yorkers generally have to shut out the rest of the world because there’s so much of it constantly in their face. But, as soon as you engage, they’re embarrassingly friendly.
She: If they’re not careful they’re going to ruin their reputation.
Z: I was hoping Koss could get spit on at least once. How is it a New York vacation otherwise? Nothin’.
She: Other than the obligatory crazies in the subway, there were no mean streets for him.
Z: Even the crazies in the subway seemed a little too friendly. I almost suspect the city is paying out-of-work actors to act crazy, solely to keep a piece of the New York mystique alive.
She: Far and away, my favorite friendly people were the “explainers” at the American Museum of Natural History. They don’t have ordinary docents there; they have awesome explainers who should really be guest stars on The Big Bang Theory.
Z: I’m pretty sure those guys were built into the building, have never left, and have never aged.
She: The T-Rex explainer was dressed like an archaeologist, pocket protector included, and loved his T-Rex like only a paleontology groupie can.
Z: And the asteroid guy was genius. I asked him one question, and he gave us a 20-minute explanation for the origin of the universe.
She: About 17 percent of which I understood, but I was still enchanted. Plus, I got the perfect name for my empty nest, midlife crisis band.
Z: You play an instrument?
She: Not yet, but I will. Coming up with the right name is 75.13 percent of any band’s success, so I’m practically a rock star.
Z: Can’t fight that logic.
She: I could see the name up in lights immediately when asteroid explainer man showed us those diamonds from outer space. He knew they were from outer space because of their single flaw: the fourth isotope of xenon.
Z: Which means nothing to me, but sounds awfully cool.
She: Mark my words: The Fourth Isotope of Xenon will rock the Santa Barbara Bowl one day! And I will have mastered the tambourine.
Z: I think my favorite friendly New Yorkers were the guys at the pizza restaurant, Capizzi.
She: Only ‘cause they saved your butt.
Z: And made great pizza.
She: True. But you definitely set it up with the right amount of wrong. First, you forgot to bring our tickets for the Broadway musical, Newsies.
Z: Which was OK, because we could reprint them at our friendly New York friend’s apartment.
She: Then, once you had the tickets again, you neglected to read them to see what time the show started.
Z: What kind of show starts at 7 o’clock on a Monday?
She: A Broadway show.
Z: So, we’re sitting in Capizzi at 7, and I finally think to check the tickets for the start time.
She: You mean when I reminded you for the third time.
Z: Oops. We quickly paid the bill for everything we’d ordered, even though we hadn’t gotten any of it yet, and ran to the theater.
She: At least we only missed the first number, and loved the rest of the show. Who knew that an old, failed Disney movie could be so fabulously entertaining on stage?
Z: Then, because they told us to come back after the show, we returned to the restaurant, and said, “We’re back.” They said hello, brought us the same drinks we had ordered before, and then brought out all our pizza.
She: Best pizza ever.
Z: And crazy friendly people, when you think about it.
She: Do you think it was just a fluke that we happened to interact with the 50 friendliest people in town?
Z: One of our New York friends has a theory that NYC has gotten much friendlier since 9/11 — that there’s still a massive feeling of community.
She: Which you definitely have to deal with every day on the subway, the bus, the train, the streets and the ridiculously long lines for the bathroom.
Z: Imagine the next time we go, when the natives can no longer order big doses of caffeinated soda, but can legally consume large amounts of weed.
She: New York really will be the friendliest place on earth.
Z: Yes, dear.
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