Yesterday Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey asserted that the conversation Donald Trump had with James Comey was just a normal New York City conversation. It is fair to say that most saw that conversation as assertive at best, bullying and nearly mafioso at worst. After living here since 1994, I can now call New York City home. And during that time I have had some memorable conversations that sounded nothing like the one characterized as "normal" by Chris Christie. In fact the only time I ever had a conversation like that was with a misogynistic bully of a man that I refused to work for and at great risk walked away. For I too was asked to to do something that would risk my integrity and would risk the career of an esteemed colleague.
So, I take exception to a Governor from another state trying defend and define how New Yorkers talk to each other. Yes, we are opinionated and aggressive. But there is a reason why nearly every tourist purchases some souvenir with a big read heart that proclaims I Love New York. New Yorkers have heart. To help you further understand what I'm trying to say I wanted to share with you some truly normal conversations that happen with great frequency in my daily life.
On the R train with my girls after a long day of fun the train approached Roosevelt Ave and on came one of my local CVS pharmacists, a 60 or so year old woman. She sat next to me and for the rest of the ride we spoke about her day at the Bronx Zoo. That conversations included sharing photos, talking about her work schedule and the fact hat she hit her 10,000 steps for the day.
Last Friday Morning
Working on some writing at Starbucks that morning, two older Jewish women told me that they thought my laptop looked really nice. She proceeded to share with me how her laptop was so heavy she never moves it. Except this one time, when she went to her sisters because she was sick. Then it wouldn't work, so she used her sisters. The other woman then helped her realize, by telling her 3 times in 3 different ways, that she just wasn't connected to the Wi-fi. (FYI - My laptop is a low end Lenovo)
One of my baristas shared with me how he never worked on Sundays because no matter what he does on Saturday night his abuela (grandmother) wants him in church and he goes. Then he shared how much his life will change when she and his parents move to Florida the next year. He is both excited and anxious.
Uber Driver, 2015
Heading to my local mall on a random errand run with my girls, my driver shared with me about how grateful he was to be here. When I inquired as to why, he explained it was because he could practice and observe his Christianity with much more freedom than back in his home country.
One day as I came into the gym the receptionist shared with me her worries about her son - his struggles with school, their upcoming move to Michigan etc. The only thing that gave her peace was that her church the Jehovah Witness Hall was helping her get set up.
Waiting Room at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Early 2011
In 2010 and 2011 I would accompany my dear friend to chemo and on one occasion I got there early. As I waited I met Despina. She was a women in late 70's waiting for her chemo appointment all by herself. She had children but she was always there alone. At the end of our conversation, she handed me a change wallet with a dollar in it. It was a thank you for merely visiting with her for 15 minutes. I still have the wallet and the dollar. I'll never spend it.