At exactly 8:20pm, while I was on the S train headed home from Jamaica, Queens, a tree fell on the tracks, preventing “safe passage for all passengers” according to the MTA train conductor. The tree was one out of five other trees that had fallen over that same afternoon when a ninja storm (a storm that comes out of nowhere and changes the weather from sunshine into overcast) drifted over New York City. The conductor discharged the train at the previous stop until a response team removed the tree from the tracks, but I didn’t wait for the lumberjack shenanigans because I was starving.
I’ll tell you what I waited for though: two older West African women to walk me home. Well, they didn’t walk me home per se, we were headed in the same direction, so we walked home together, talking about New York’s summers and winters, especially the storms that caused damages and power outages. Much like the city by possessing immense resilience, these two women have lived in New York City for eighteen years, and they agreed that “if you can live in the city, then you can live anywhere in the world.” They told stories about their family members and friends coming to visit the city, promising that they would never return because there are “too many people who walk too fast” for their liking.
The city isn’t for everyone, I understand that, but the people who live in the city are what bring it to life; now, I’ve learned that by being here for two months. Even though I still have so much more to learn from New Yorkers. Like cherishing the experiences from tonight, or yesterday, or that time no one saw you fall down the stairs, especially that experience.