Jessica Gross

The Beginning

In people watching on August 26, 2008 at 8:36 pm

It started out meta.

I toted my computer to Bryant Park, yuppily, to write my first post. The guy at the next table was engrossed in a book — so engrossed that, as I sat down, he looked up just long enough to give me a distainful eyebrow-raise. I’d decided to just sit as I ate my sandwich, but after I saw this Look, I coincidentally remembered that I had an issue of The New York Times Magazine in my bag. I have never read The New York Times Magazine. I also cannot read and eat at the same time. But after glimpsing my neighbor, I decided it would benefit me to learn about Obamanomics and eat chicken salad, simultaneously.

But the pages flipped in the wind. My drink teetered. By the time a chunk of chicken salad fell on the magazine page, I got it. The man wanted everyone to think he was intellectual. I absorbed his presentation and created my own to match it. And in realizing what I was doing, I people-watched myself! I deemed myself brilliant.

More than most, New York City’s people carefully craft their own images. Status isn’t just money or education — it’s what you carry and how you carry yourself. The most entertaining part is that New Yorkers don’t always realize they’re doing it. That’s the fun of people watching: guessing what these folks are thinking and, if you’re good at it, getting it right.

  1. this post rocks!!!

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