1. Jaywalking is second nature to you.
You’ve been doing it all your life, it is preposterous to even think about not doing it, and you genuinely feel surprised when you get out of the city and you find out that jaywalking is illegal. Yes, you read that right, jaywalking is illegal in most states, but cities such as New York, Boston, and Chicago simply don’t enforce this particular rule as it is so commonplace. If you go to Arizona, however, you can be charged a fine of about $118.
Don’t leave the city, kids.
2. Walking a mile to get to your destination sounds like a walk in the park.
You walk every day, either from home to work or from the train station to work. If you live outside of Manhattan (e.g Queens or Brooklyn), you will walk every morning to catch the train. When family visits they need to jog to keep up with your pace even though you are going slower than usual for their benefit. Walking is part of your every day routine and you cannot comprehend the need for a car under any situation, thus chances are you don’t know how to drive or - if you did - you have mostly forgotten.
3. You know exactly what cart you need to get into to end at the most convenient exit or transfer point.
You take the same train every day. So, If you don't know your exits and shortcuts after a week, then you're just simply not doing it right.
4. On the train you avoid eye contact, as well as physical contact. However, you are also used to having your head pressed tightly against someone else’s neck during rush hour.
It is no secret that in New York we avoid human contact on the train. Staying out of other people's business is the polite thing to do, especially on the train. However, during rush hour, no rules are applicable; you will often find yourself pressed tightly against people you have never seen before. Still, the thought of looking at them in the eye just because you're inches away from the other person's face is ridiculous at best.
Photo by John Blough
5. You have no patience for people that cannot keep to the right of the electric escalators.
Admit it: You've snapped at at least one tourist because they were standing idly on the left side of the escalators during rush hour in Grand Central or Lexington Av/53rd Street.
6. You feel a sharp sense of rage and annoyance bubble inside you as soon as you hear the words “it’s showtime”.
It's six o'clock. You feel drained to the bone, and suddenly you hear those three dreaded words that mean that not only will you not be able to sleep on your ride home, but you get a bonus headache. You look around the train and get even more annoyed because there are tourists that are genuinely excited about what's happening when all you want is some peace and quiet.
Yes, we're bitter people. It's great.
7. You have fallen asleep standing up on the train at least once, if it hasn’t become routine already.
There's no shame in admitting the fact that you've mastered the art of falling asleep while standing up. We've all done it. The problem is when, at first, your reflexes aren't as fast and you actually fall every time you fall asleep. That, you shouldn't admit to.
8. You avoid time square like the plague.
We all know the unspoken rule; unless you work in the theater district or in one of the stores in the Times Square Area, you never go there. In fact, you'd rather take a detour than walk through time square, because, at the end of the day, you know the detour might mean walking more but it will get you to your destination faster.
Photo by Norman Thomas
9. You can't sleep if it is too quiet at night.
Whether it is the siren of an ambulance, a drunkard screaming loudly, or just the usual hustle of the city, you are lulled to sleep every night by a myriad of sound, and a lack of them means that something is wrong.
10. You know that the Streets are short, the avenues are long, and it’s a simple grid.
Because you have this solid reasoning down, you refuse to admit that you don't know where certain places are when a tourist asks you for directions, and you would rather point them in the wrong direction than admit that you don't know.
11. A movie being filmed on the street is no longer exciting to you, and it can be annoying if you are late.
Movie are awesome, but they're not so great when you walk by movie sets every week or so, and they take over the whole street and block your path. It doesn't matter if it is Neil Patrick Harris himself filming a scene where he has to walk down the street; you have places to be.
12. You don't understand what people that live in other states do with so much space.
When you visit your friends in states where living in a house is a norm, you genuinely leave half confused, half in awe. It's cool at first, but then it really hits you: they have to clean that mastodon of a house, and how the hell are they going to move all the things they've stored in the attic over the years? A house with too much space actually scares you.
13. You no longer flinch when you see rats and/or cockroaches.
You know you have really adapted to the city when you kill a cockroach with your hand because there are no usable objects near you and you are not disgusted with yourself or when you find yourself wondering where the rats have run off to because you are sure there were at least 4 last time you were on that train station.
14. The smell of trash on a hot summer day doesn't bother you anymore and you go so far as to associate memories of the city to the smell.
This is a sad fact we are just not going to comment on.
15. You may feel really happy if you get out of the city for an hour, but after that one hour grace period you will become cranky and your skin will crawl because you’re too used to that fast paced life.
Whether you like it or not, every time you come back to New York and you see the Skyline, you know you've come back home.
Photo by Mauricio Fernandez