If Australians are famous for needing their personal space on the street, I’d say Americans consistently demonstrate strong voice projection when out and about, and are more than happy to share thoughts and feelings in public. It has provided me with great amusement and fascination while wandering the streets of New York this summer.
As today, Saturday 21 September, is the official end of summer, here is some of the quotes I’ve heard sailing through the humid air this summer:
- ‘Steve Jobs’ office is probably there. But he died’ (young man to friends outside Chelsea Market)
- ‘This is a day where I just feel very light and at energy with myself’ (young woman on phone walking along 8th avenue)
- ‘They live in just a regular gated community’ (one man to friends on 24th street)
- ‘We just want to come in for some air-conditioned retail therapy’ (two Australian women to a security guard at Marrimenko on a very hot day).
- ‘Do you know what they called it? North. West’ (Shop assistant to colleague)
- ‘Life will go on, but it leaves a bad energy’ (one angry man to another man on 24th street)
- ‘Peter, you should get an umbrella because I’m wearing a white dress and I don’t want to get wet walking to the party. Oh. It just stopped. Thank god’ (girl on the phone, sheltering under the High Line, in a white dress).
- ‘Would you like a copy of the newspaper, or the Daily Mail?’ (flight attendant upon boarding flight at Newark)
- ‘They are all crazy and sad, that’s why I have depression and anxiety’ (Starbucks worker to customer, explaining her tattoos after he asked what they were; one being of paintbrushes to honor artists in her family)
- (Pregnant woman to her partner, in cafe, reaching for handbag on floor) ‘I can’t bend down anymore, I have a baby between me and the floor’ (Partner) ‘How did that happen?’
- (At the Australian consulate for election voting, girlfriend in 30s to boyfriend in 30s): ‘I always forget what to do’. (Boyfriend to girlfriend) ‘Just make sure you put numbers in every box’. (Me to myself: ‘Save me’).
- ‘The point is, she is an Australian actress, a Shakespearean actress, and she did a good job’ (Elderly lady to elderly lady behind me at cinema, at conclusion of ‘Blue Jasmine’, in reference to Cate Blanchett)
- ‘Can I just talk to those two clients so I can get comfortability before the meeting?!’ (Stressed businessman pacing the pavement on 2nd Avenue, Midtown)
- ‘The food here is amazing! Ever since I started shopping here, my grocery bill has doubled. Seriously, it has doubled’ (Older woman to me, at Wholefoods salad bar).
- (As two little boys rode towards me on their scooters, boy 1, to boy 2, while trailing boy 2): ‘I can see your BUTT!’; (Boy 2, to boy 1, after I turned and looked at them): ‘She HEARD you!’
- ‘Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I’m not here to ask for money. Jesus is coming back again. Will you give him a chance this afternoon?’ (Woman ‘preaching’ on subway carriage en route to Brooklyn).