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1. The absence of traffic laws.
People can get away with almost anything because the cops have actual crime to tend to. Shit is like ‘Nam out there. Turn signals? Good one. You better make your move before someone cuts you off in their Prius. It’s a cold world out there.
2. Witnessing crimes being committed.
You’ve seen everything from drug busts to domestic disputes. You might as well be Elliot Stabler. It just doesn’t faze you anymore. Then there is the petty crime. You’ve witnessed two people urinating in public while you were commuting to work. Yup, just another Monday.
3. The insanity of parking.
Parking spots are harder to come by than morals at a fraternity party. You’ve become so good at fitting into small spots that the parking attendant once asked if you “did this for a living.” Your 16-year-old self would be so proud right now.
4. The lack of grocery stores.
The closest grocery store to you is run-down and smells like someone was just murdered in the meat section. You have to resort to corner stores and small markets to find your items. At these markets the pricing on items is a grey area and you can often barter. It gets kind of sketchy at the end of a pay period when you find yourself promising your eldest virgin daughter for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread.
5. Personal space is nonexistent.
Thank god you aren’t claustrophobic. You are essentially sitting on the lap of the person next to you while riding public transportation. “Is that someone’s hand on my ass?”
6. English is not always the predominantly spoken language.
Language barriers have to be crossed daily. What would normally be a two sentence conversation can easily turn into a ten minute game of charades. It could be argued that hand gestures and facial expressions are the lingua franca of the city.
7. The city is expensive.
The city forces you to have champagne taste on beer budget. Oh, $25 for two vodka sodas? That’s cool, I didn’t want to eat for the next couple weeks anyway. You revert back to the dietary habits you shamelessly had in college.
8. You aren’t important.
There are a million other people, just like you, marching like ants to their jobs. Unless you’re chillin’ at the 40/40 club with ESPN on the screen, you’re probably only known by friends, family, and coworkers. You become humbled very quickly.
9. Getting hassled for change, a cigarette, “a light,” etc.
One time he called your friend a whore and it was hilarious, but then there was the time he called you out.
“Young man, gotta a quarter to spare?”
*You’re talking on the phone with your mother and not paying much attention*
“I said a quarter, young man.”
*You keep talking to your mother and try to shake your head to let him know that you don’t.*
“YOUNG MAN, I SAID A GODDAMN QUARTER! I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME!”
10. It’s filthy.
Trash litters the streets, buildings have more graffiti on them than A.J. McCarron’s chest, and the smell is quite pungent. It stings the nostrils. You have to be honest, it smells like pure gasoline.
11. The pace is quick. Try and keep up.
It’s a cliche, but the city never sleeps. People are always in a rush to get somewhere. Unless you grew up in the city, or went to a college in a metropolitan area, the pace is very unfamiliar. You are used to the quite suburbs, not the hustle and bustle of the city. You find yourself trying keep up like a son drinking with their dad for the first time.
12. The layout is confusing as shit.
The layout of a city takes a while to get adjusted to. Certain streets dead-end into others, numbered streets go one way while named streets go the other, etc. The first time you venture out on your own, you get lost. Not “ask for directions” lost, but full-blown “Will I ever see my family again?” lost. The scenery and signs begin to all look the same. You consider just throwing in the towel and driving straight back to your parents’ house.
How the hell did you end up in Chinatown?