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25 Things New Yorkers should have learned as kids but never did

By Lane Moore

New York is an awesome city full of incredible people, and yet somehow, many of its inhabitants do not seem to have received even the most basic lessons on how to be a functional human being. Here are the lessons I wish that every New Yorker would receive before coming here (or, if you're from here, that you would've picked up way before you became a full-grown human). Note: we've all done some of these and no one's perfect, but still. 

1. How to walk and also carry an umbrella. 
How New Yorkers have such a total lack of spacial awareness the second they start carrying an umbrella baffles me every single time. Move your umbrella because you're about to hit like 5 people near you! You're 26! Get it together! 

2. How to throw things away in an actual trash can. 
Nope, weirdly, the train tracks don't count as a trash can!

3. How to let people out of the freaking train before running into the people exiting like they're going to knock them down so they can get on faster. 
I can't even talk about this one without screaming. Skip. 

4. How to walk around slush puddles entirely. 
We do this for months at a time every single year and yet, myself included, have nearly ruined an entire pair of shoes approximately every one to two years due to my poor estimation of how low the sidewalk is and how deep that slush puddle is. 

5. How to apologize after they bump into someone in a serious way. 
I know there are a ton of people here, so you can't be apologizing every time you graze someone lightly, but damn. Sometimes people will straight up body slam you or step on your toe and then they just act like they didn't even feel it. You felt it!!! Just say sorry and we can move on.  

6. How to cook basic foods. 
Or, you know, have any food at home at all that isn't beer, aka not food.  

7. How to grocery shop in a real store. 
The number of people I see doing all their shopping in the overpriced organic bodega like it's normal to spend $14 on shitty jam is unsettling. 

8. How to chat up someone on the train who they've been eye-fucking for 10 stops. 
I know most of the world has lost this art, but have you seen Craigslist Missed Connections? We need to get better at this, guys. 

9. How to move to the side of the train car if they're standing near the door. 
Yes, I guess some people could technically go around you, but come on. 

10. To not put their freaking arm through the bars at the end of the seat. 
I don't know how to describe this any better, but it's when the train is crowded and someone's sitting on the end of the seats and had their whole elbow sticking out and won't move it so their elbow is in your butt. That. 

11. How to befriend someone who lives more than three blocks away. 
In any other city, someone living 5 miles away would be so close, but here it's like they live on the moon and we cannot. 

12. How to text and walk at the same time. 
And then, how to admit that you're not good at doing this, so just waiting until you get to where you're going to text. 

13. How to not block a bunch of stairs people are walking on. 
Usually, these people are texting and it's 

14. How to make actual friends. 
You know, that thing where you bond and want to hang out so you do. Which leads me to...

15. How to make an actual plan to hang out that actually happens. 
The number of times I've had people make actual definitive plans is very low, but of those plans, the number of times I've seen someone not needed to be reminded 400 times before those plans happen is so high it's upsetting. 

16. How to get on the subway while realizing you're not the only one getting on. 
Cool how people step onto the subway and don't keep moving like no one else is there. 

17. How to realize that some people won't want to keep hanging out with you if you always cancel. 
"So I've canceled on you every single time I've made plans with you and now you won't text me back?" "Yes." "Wow."

18. How to not have a loud weird phone call in a crowded space. 
Like, if you have to take it right then and there, you can still try to break up with your girlfriend in a coffee shop as quietly as possible. 

19. How to tip correctly. 
Dude, most receipts even put the projected tipping amounts on them. Come on. 

20. How to wear a weather-appropriate jacket. 
Granted, the weather here can vary so freaking wildly that this is nearly impossible, but still, it always makes you feel dumb when you do it and you're like, "I'm an adult, wtf?"

21. How to swipe a subway card. 
I know sometimes they just don't work, but come on. Similarly...

22. How to have your subway card ready before you get to the turnstile. 
This one obviously only matters if there's a line, but if there is, just step out and get your card and get back in. Easy. 

23. That if there's a train coming that isn't yours, but people are running, move aside. 
Just because you have nothing at stake doesn't mean everyone behind you doesn't either. 

24. That, yes, you should tip at Starbucks too.
If you'd tip for your nitro $5 artisal whatever the hell, you should tip the Starbucks baristas too. You should. 

25. That no, this city is not full of unlimited soulmates, so yes, you should try committing to some of them. 
Like, sure, there are a ton of people to make-out with, but don't act like the deep kick-ass magical connection you have with one particular person right now could happen again 5,000 times over, so why commit to anyone or anything ever? Be happy with someone. Have an open or committed relationship, but just give something an actual shot. 


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