I have shared many stories of the good and remarkable I have found in the people of this city. I have recounted very few tales of rude or hostile behavior, not in an effort to distort the city's image, but in order not to focus on negativity. The media does a more than adequate job of covering hostile or criminal acts in New York City. In fairness, however, if we really had to do a study, I am sure that the rudeness quotient would be much higher in New York City than in a rural or suburban environment. A small incident yesterday serves as an apt example.
Upon arriving at my office building mid day, I was met with a woman engrossed in something in front of the door. The entrance way has two doors, only one of which is available for access in and out. Let us even grant that she did not know this. She was standing only inches in front of the doorway where I had to enter. You can see this in today's photo. She made no effort to move at all. It was raining, but she could have easily just moved a couple feet in front of the adjoining door. I did not excuse myself, expecting that as I opened the door against her back, she would become aware of the situation and certainly move. Perhaps even offer the obligatory and insincere "I'm sorry." But no.
I opened the door no more than 12 inches and SQUEEZED through the opening. Apparently desensitized to humanity and anything around her, she did not move at all - it was a case of rudeness to the point of obliviousness. I turned to look at her from the back as I waited for the elevator. She was in the same position, unaware of the incident and that she was still blocking the entrance to an office building.
In the business environment, particularly business to business sales, New York City can be hostile, even with well articulated policies of apparent rudeness, such as a sign posted on a door stating: "NO STUDENTS AFTER 1 PM" - see the story here. Admittedly, with the hordes of people in such a large city, brusque behavior towards others can easily develop. However, it is not a fait accompli, and many businesses with the same streetside exposure to masses of shoppers do not become hostile to their customers. New York City just demands a little more effort to stay on the polite side of the line.
Typically, I would become quite irritated by an experience such as this door drama. However, I now view any extreme acts, whether kindness or rudeness, as an opportunity for my writing. Using this website as a forum, the negative incidents can be defused through public ventilation and discourse. At the same time, on occasion, it provides an opportunity to illuminate New York's more extreme behaviors and Rather than Respond with Road Rage, just Report these Random Acts of Rudeness...