My husband’s father and stepmother are laid back people, living in the great state of Vermont and while they’ve been to New York a few times, they are unused to what it’s like to live in a city. The fact that no one talks to each other on the train seems like such a shame to them.
We had them all to ourselves last night as everyone else in town was at Lolla. We started hanging out at our place and eventually decided to go get a drink somewhere.
The Cubs were back in town yesterday afternoon and as a result our neighborhood was overflowing with drunkeness. So pretty soon we ran into an obviously drunk kid who stopped on the sidewalk when we stopped to admire one of our neighborhoods many wild bunnies.
Normally in this situation my husband and I would ignore the kid and keep walking, but his parents saw it as an opportunity. Being funny and jokster kind of people, they struck up a conversation with him, confusing the poor boy and making him laugh. My husband and I lagged behind a little and marveled at how fun all of them were having.
Lesson #1: Engage more. Living in a city lends itself to going inward and ignoring everyone around you. I think it comes from fear that someone is trying to hurt you, when in reality, people just want to connect.
We chose to go to a bar that had board games, thinking this would be a good time with the two of them. This bar also has an extensive beer list, so we knew everyone would be happy. The waitress came over to get our order and our two tourists began joking with her, trying to get her to laugh. Now their humor is a bit sarcastic and tends to be followed with an, “I’m just kidding.” Well the waitress wasn’t having any of it. Most people would be uncomfortable in that kind of situation, but not them. They laughed it off and focused on our game. We chose a board game that involved calling out the answers and every time my husband’s stepmom had an answer, she would shout it out. I mean really shout! At first we were both taken aback from it and looking around us at the other bar goers. Most were laughing at her enthusiasm.
Lesson #2: Have more fun. Again, living in a city, you become uber aware of every person around you and are constantly recognizing and noticing all those other people, in both good and bad ways. But usually, if you let go and have some fun, those people will too. Laughter and merriment are contagious.
I feel that living in a city toughens you up in a lot of ways. But sometimes those ways aren’t positive. Sometimes that toughness causes you to loose sight of yourself and basic human interaction. I think any city dweller can learn a lesson from tourist: Step outside of yourself to see what’s right in front of you and break out of the decorum so you can just have fun.