I’ve been in New York for a weekend and there are several little old ladies who live in my building, defying the stereotype that Manhattanites don’t know their neighbors. I’ve seen them curiously staring at me, I suspect because I have an international Indo-Persian-Greco-Dominican-Mediterranean look, I look everything but Indian. Upon hearing my accent, which sounds Midwest Valley Girl, they seem relived to realize I speak English, smoothly and fluently.
“Hello dear,” says little old lady number one. “Where are you from?”
“Minnesota,” I reply.
They both have this look like “oh dear, I hope she can handle the big city.” As if I have never been outside Minnesota in my entire life.
“Do you have a gate on your fire escape dear?” little old lady number two asks.
“No,” I reply. Mom thinks I am getting sundries from the bodega.
“Oh really? A single girl needs gates. Especially in this neighborhood, it is getting nicer but break-ins are on the rise. There is a locksmith on the main street. Youd should call him.”
At the bodega I ask about locksmiths and the cashier looks confused. I pay and don a Sherlock Holmes persona and walk up and down the street until I find the locksmith. I call him and he says he’ll be over tomorrow around 10:00 am does that work? I say sure and hope he is more agreeable than Time Warner Cable who is going to take two weeks to finish installing my cable and phone, despite the fact I needed high speed Internet yesterday.
That night Mom and I are exhausted and we crash out around nine p.m. I’m almost asleep when I hear noise, and bolt up in bed. It takes a few seconds, but I realize the printer has come. I throw back the covers and hurriedly turn it off, which interestingly enough has not woken my mother. Unlike the water that rattles through the radiator pipes at 6:00 and alerts Mom to the morning.
I crawl back into bed and stare at the printer. It is the size of a small space ship and has been nicknamed Rosie, as in the robot from the Jetsons. Yes, it is ridiculously huge to store in a Manhattan apartment but I need it for work. Just as I fall to sleep I remember that turning on the printer requires you to physically push a big one-inch sized button on the lower left side near the cord. I wonder if a ghost haunts my apartment. I don’t know if I am emotionally equipped to handle roaches and ghosts.
My last thought before falling asleep is, soon when all my windows have gates and I will live in my own prison, ironically, like they do in New Delhi.