Everyone has been in a social situation where you say something and it goes unnoticed, then someone else says the same thing and everyone laughs a lot. You learn how to be more creative and whacky and amusing.
Normally, I am a vocal advocate for 'looking both ways' and 'knowing the size of one's own body.' But working, socialising and simply running errands in Manhattan, means I am bound to break my own rules on occasion.
I attended an extremely small liberal arts school. There were approximately 1,600 of us roaming our New England campus on a good day. My high school was bigger. My freshman year hourly calorie intake was bigger.
The year most of my high school friends and I got our driver's permits, the coolest thing one could do was stand outside after school and twirl one's car keys like a lifeguard whistle. That jingling sound meant freedom and power.
I used to think that nails-down-a-chalkboard was the worst sound in the world. Then I moved on to people-eating-cereal-on-the-phone. But only this week did I stumble across the rightful winner: it's the sound of a baggage carousel coming to a grinding halt, having reunited every passenger on your flight with their luggage, except for you.
Brits and Americans have hundreds of different phrases for the same thing. Luckily, it's usually a source of amusement rather than frustration. A flashlight by any other name is still a torch. My personal favourite is 'fairy lights,' which we boringly refer to as 'Christmas lights.'
There is no such thing as a crazy dog person in New York. Are there people who are completely insane about their dogs? Hordes. But cat people may as well have whiskers and tails themselves. That's because their pets' lack of social need taps straight into our worst fears as the human inhabitants of New York.
In New York and L.A., there is sort of that silent competition to be on the cutting edge of something. You end up having a conversation with how the world receives your work, especially if you are writing narrative, not fiction. Sometimes it is an awkward conversation. It's like group therapy.