Skip to main content

Why I Don't Talk to Strangers in Philly

I consider myself a pretty social person. I love striking up a conversation about anything. However, since moving to the City of Brotherly Love, I find I am not as willing to chat up a perfect stranger. The social dynamic of 21st century city life is actually quite interesting. Think about it, you hop on public transportation, snatch a window seat and pray that no one sits next to you. Because that means if you need to get off before they do, you will ACTUALLY HAVE TO SPEAK to them. Of course, if they do sit next to you, there is an 80% chance that when you have to exit the bus/subway, they WON'T get up but rather shift their legs into the aisle and make you squeeze past them. When this occurs, I resist the urge to say "Thanks asshole. I hope my ass cheeks graze your face."

We listen to our MP3 players, and read our Kindles and pretty much fall into an anti-social commute where you say things like "excuse me" and that is about it. This morning I was riding the bus to work and sat next to a girl who had the same exact umbrella as I. I smiled, nodded to my umbrella and said "Hey! Nice umbrella!" To which she grunted in response and stared at the floor, seemingly annoyed/startled someone actually communicated a verbal thought to her this morning.

Philly, like most cities, requires a certain selective attitude when choosing to speak to a stranger. You might say "gee, this weather is nice" and end up in a political debate with a paranoid, mentally challenged, homeless person who happens to be dressed well and smelling nice that day. My person favorite is when I'm listening to my headphones and someone says something to me. I pop a headphone out, ask them to repeat themselves and answer whatever question they asked. Then I don't know whether to pop my headphone back in, because, what if they want more information? Nothing is more aggravating than having to ask a headphone wearing pedestrian several questions, several different times. Numerous times I'm accosted by people at my bus stop who make me pop out a headphone to answer them and then follow up with a lecture. "You know Miss, you're losing a sense when you're listening to those ear buds. I called out to you three times before you heard me. What if I was a robber or something? You wouldn't even hear me coming." Valid point. However, I'm standing no more than 70 feet from my apartment building in one of the safest neighborhoods in the city. That is not to say that nothing bad could happen, but I feel quite safe and secure around these surroundings and in my 2 years living in that spot, the only situations I miss out on have been people asking the time and if I see the bus down the street.

It is very entertaining to walk around the city with my mother, who decides to say hello to damn near everyone. She asks me why I don't acknowledge passer-byes and I'm like...because its Philly. You only talk to people you need something from. She says "hello, hi, good morning" and the recipients of her greetings mumble awkwardly or look wide eyed and startled. That is entertainment you can't buy.

The moral of the story is that our society has went from a very social one to a very anti-social one. The communication norms are shifting everyday and people's comfort zones have been redeveloped to include, well, only people they are familiar with or want something from. I try to tell strangers to have a good day after they ask me the time and sometimes they're genuinely pleased and other times they just ignore me. Such is life.

Until next time...


Popular posts from this blog

You are Destined for Greatness

I pondered the idea of writing "You are Destined for Greatness" and taping it to my bathroom mirror. It sounds like an incredibly cheesy idea straight out of a self-help book, but I thought it was worth trying. Upon further relfection of this idea, I realized it would fail. Not because I would laugh at that statement daily, but rather, I take 100 degree showers. So the ink would run and the paper would crinkle. Plus, I need the whole mirror to examine myself in the morning anyway.

What is greatness? Is it the attribute of world leaders and life changers, or is it a quality in which we can all possess? Is greatness a thing we strive for? Does the prospect of greatness motivate us?

I think it may motivate me. In high school, countless people told me "Mary Anna, you are going places." "Mary Anna, you're going to do big things." "Mary Anna, you're going to be somebody big someday." I'm trying to capture some of that high school MAness …

7 Days Down...23 to Go #Whole30

I survived my first week of #Whole30 with only 3 minor cheats (all accidental). The first, I mentioned in a previous post was the Starbucks coconut milk that is not compliant. Didn't know, wasn't that much milk, everything is fine. The second cheat occurred when I went out to eat with my friend David. I got steak and eggs for dinner, a compliant meal with a side of sauteed mushrooms. The mushrooms are typically compliant except when they are sauteed in garlic and butter. Butter is a no no. So to my horror, my delicious mushrooms were drenched in butter. I literally blotted each mushroom on a napkin before eating it. 

The third and final cheat was a oversight cheat. I ordered a Cobb salad for lunch yesterday with my friend. I can eat all the things in the Cobb, granted I should have asked about where the bacon came from/how it was prepared and read the menu better. I said no to dressing which was fine but I failed to notice the delicious salad comes with crumbles of cheese! Not …

Holy Shit, August.

This month seems nothing short of incredibly. I mean, seriously. It may have been the best month of my life and that is no exaggeration. Let's recap:

August 6
On August 6th my best friend David and I went to see Phillip Phillips and Goo Goo Dolls in concert at Festival Pier. We got there early but a line had formed all the way to Dave and Busters. I thought for sure we'd be stuck in the back of the concert crowd but upon entering the venue I learned that only two full rows had formed (it was GA). I snagged us a spot in row 3/4 a little to the right of the stage. It was perfect. We're going to make it a point to go see them every year. Such a fun concert! 

August 12
I bought tickets months ago but didn't have any friends available for this magical weekend. It was a party bus day trip to Atlantic City. Within the first 20 minutes of the bus ride I had made some friends. I knew the hostess but that was it. Unfortunately after some imbibing I found I was way more interested in…