Thursday, June 10, 2010

How To Stop a European In Their Tracks

It’s summer season and the city is flooded with pond jumpers. With the Euro falling like a lead pig I would have thought the fanny packed chain smoking tight pants wearing throngs would have kept close to leur maison…ehhh not so much.

Us city dwellers have a long history of dealing with our influx of tourists, sure we NEED them for the economy BUT really can’t Bloomberg corral them into Times Square and let them wander ‘round aimlessly with their Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bags and sun burnt heads tilted towards the sky? Believe me they will be happy little clams and return from whence they came overflowing with wondrous tales of the big city.

Unfortunately the reality is they are among us, commingling on our sidewalks and mass transit. For decades we’ve shared our public spaces with these world travelers and have become accustomed to their inexplicable lack of movement when faced with the precariously daunting exercise of ascending or descending a staircase or escalator. Yes moving up and or down is very risky behavior and all New Yorkers expect you (and your brood) to immediately cease all movement once you’ve reached either the top or bottom landing of any stepped edifice, however what the CRAP is up with the doorway thing?

Through my non-scientific research I have discovered that Europeans are deathly afraid of doorways, these gateways to the unknown have so boggled the minds of our international guests that I am certain if I Google Earthed the Continent I would discover bewildered locals amassed on either side of the Arc de Triomphe, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Arch of Constantine. Or maybe they reserve this behavior solely for overseas travel, la how jolly. For there is nothing quite like entering an establishment behind a family of 5 only to be denied admission due to the defensive line of immobility. Or while exiting being greeted by the couple who took one step outside then decided the doorframe would be the PERFECT location for a smoke and chat.

This afternoon after squeezing past dozens of frozen foreigners (‘cause not even a gentle “excuse me” can propel them back into motion) I took matters (and a door) into my own hands.

While attempting to exit a shop on Lexington Ave I was trapped behind a bedazzled Italian couple who not only allowed the door slam behind them (nice – in my face) but then stood directly in front of the glass door blocking all pedestrian traffic both in and out of the establishment. The backup began to grow on the sidewalk with frustrated customers trying to sidestep ‘round our stationary interlopers, meanwhile I was poised, hand firmly on the push bar, with at least 4 women behind me audibly grunting their disapproval. This is not my proudest moment (or maybe it is) but I swung the door open making full contact with Rudolpho’s back and right shoulder (goooaaaaal) forcing him to pivot just enough to allow the rushing dam waters of annoyed NYers to push past him and his Metallic Graphic T wife.

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