Speaking with a stranger at a wedding this weekend, a man who (it became incresingly clear had anger issues of his own) relayed to me a story of his harrowing, incident filled journey to the ceremony; a series of comically ridiculous bits about not having enough fare for the midtown tunnel and a timely rear-ending not blocks from the event, declared, in in a vaguely Australian accent run-through a West Coast grinder, that he had witnessed the "classic New York road rage." In fact, I had been mulling over a similar topic only a couple days before in a different context and while it is indeed true that the New York metropolitan area serves up a peculiarly aggressive bluster, I would say that having lived in the belly of both, anything truly quintessential about road rage could only happen in California, a place I only wish I'd reminded him would soon, gratefully for the rest of us, be back in his sights. The fact is that New York has its particular rage associated with something quintessentially Californian after all: Surf Rage. I'm not talking about anything that might have to do with a regulating local and the product of heinous drop-in. It is the rage of not surfing at all; the sort of not-surfing that happens when one hasn't surfed for a stretch and still finds oneself land locked when a swell finally meanders through. Oh but this happens everywhere, you might point out. I can only acknowledge that this may be true, but that I can also lay special claim to the knowledge of a spiked difference between the kind of gentle annoyance that washes over a surfer in California, as confident as they can be that there will certainly another swell in a the next couple weeks, and the outright spitting fit that besets their New York surfing counterpart, a demographic that can scarcely hope for another quality swell within two months.
At the Greenpoint dog run the lady with the lap dog named Fitzgerald, or Humphries, or Fitsgibbons (that never leaves her lap), tells the gay actor with the dog that sits and stares at trees that she is finally a Level 28, and only two days ago she was a Level 22. In the ensuing conversation he lets her know that magically imbued war hammers are better for killing attacking bears than regular swords. She replies that she just found out one could send a spell through a gate, killing all the unseen inhabitants on the other side.
If you come to New York and you ask me what you should see, I will tell you this: go up to the top of the Empire State Building, go to the Tenth Street Baths and spend an hour hanging out at the City Clerk's watching people get married.