A young professional’s take on the joys and pitfalls of everyday life in New York City. By Nina Pajak.
Aaah, do you smell that? It smells like Monday morning. Sweet, sweet Monday morning. I know what you’re thinking—this person clearly does not have a job. But you’re wrong. I do, and not only that, but I get there by taking the subway during rush hour. It’s awful, I detest everything about it. But today is a special day of the week.
Important things happen on Mondays. People are ambitious on Mondays. They meet, they do, they wheel and very often deal. They attack the to-do list that they so cavalierly tossed aside on Friday afternoon in favor of playing three hours of online Scrabble. They’re ready to tackle the week in their freshly scrubbed Monday best. Personally, Mondays are when my rage and frustration are at their absolute peak. After a presumably relaxing weekend, my patience for the quotidian irritants of life and work in Manhattan is thinner than a UES housewife. I mellow out a little bit each day, and by Friday I’m downright cheerful. But on Mondays, I detest the world and, by extension, you. (No, I mean not you. I love you. It’s those other jerks with their breathing and their talking. Feh.)
That is exactly why I am eternally grateful that the rest of the city is on an inverse trajectory. Because when I jam myself onto a train car at 9 a.m., hurling my body into the mosh pit that is the downtown 1 train, and I wind up nose-to-armpit with the enormous person next to me, and my blood is already a-boil with the mere injustice of having to leave my home, I appreciate not needing to bury my face in my scarf to contain my gag reflex. As the week goes on, the acrid scent of disillusionment seeps back into people’s lives and gets absorbed into their hair and jackets. But nobody skips a shower on Monday or wears pants that require a sniff test. I can wake up and say to myself, “today you will not dry heave on your way to work.” This is a gift.
It’s a small wonder that we New Yorkers have a reputation for being unfriendly. People in other parts of the country are able to get from A to B without shoving their faces in someone’s stinky elbow, so they have to seek out human contact by other means. Like unsolicited smiling. We, on the other hand, fill our quota before we’ve even had our first cup of coffee, which should actually count double. If you do the math (I do mean you—I don’t do math), I’d bet you anything we come out way ahead on interactions per day. Remember that the next time someone tells you that New Yorkers are rude. Then invite them to accompany you to work—on a Friday. One whiff of fifty people’s hangovers and they’ll be rolling their eyes and scoffing audibly at strangers, too.
Also, maybe sometimes we’re just a little rude. That’s okay, too. Especially on Mondays.
Do you hate Mondays, too? Let us know in the comment section…
Dear Readers: I’ll now be writing about city life every day from now on. While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.