I was texting with my best friend Anna a few days ago and she encouraged me to share stories about how life in a big city is different from small towns - and even small cities. My day-to-day activities are very different in New York compared to Richmond, but the longer I live here the more I forget about how different the simple things are - like getting an air conditioning window unit in your bedroom window. Maybe this type of story will be interesting or maybe not. Maybe it's totally stupid and you'll make fun of me, but here is the story of how (and why) I carried an AC unit 20 blocks in Brooklyn during the middle of summer - oh, and in flip flops.
I'd been living in New York (specifically Queens) for about 2 weeks when I signed the lease to my first apartment in Brooklyn - a fourth floor walk up (yay!) with tons of natural lights on a tree-lined street in Park Slope with a beautiful view. It was the middle of July and my new apartment didn't have central air conditioning and I had no fan. All I had in New York at the time was a suitcase full of clothes and a 3-inch tall twin sized air mattress that I brought on my one-way train ride to New York.
I officially moved into my apartment on a weekday (maybe a Wednesday?) and for some reason I don't recall it being miserably hot to sleep there, but just hot enough that it wasn't going to be bearable much longer without an AC unit.
I woke up Saturday morning, lugged my handy dandy shopping cart (which I bought in the pouring rain in Queens, but that's another story) down three flights of stairs and headed towards Target. Target is only 1.2 miles away and it takes me anywhere between 15-30 minutes to get there by train depending on the day. The Target in Richmond is 4.8 miles away from my old apartment and it only took me 10-15 minutes get thereby car! Going to Target is a pain in the ass when you live in New York compared to Virginia.
Back to the story: So I'm heading to Target and walked 2 blocks to the R train and then down 2 flights of stairs into the subway station. I thought I was going to be smart and take the R train to Barclays because it has an escalator AND elevator. Fast forward, I get my A/C united loaded into my cart, checkout and leave the store - should be smooth sailing now! Wrong.
I get back across the street to Barclays and the escalator AND elevator are both BROKEN! I didn't notice when I get off because I exited through a different section of the subway stop. If you've never been to Barclay's then here is a photo to show you all the stairs I was not about to lug the A/C unit up.
I probably could have asked someone for help lugging it down, but I was so new to the city that and didn't honestly think anyone would be nice enough to help out. I also could have hailed a cab, but at the time had no idea how cabs worked and my phone was dead so I couldn't call an Uber.
I looked like a complete idiot, but I just started pushing my cart down the sidewalk. It wasn't that bad, just really bumpy and annoying - not to mention it was really hot and I was wearing flip flops. When I finally got to my apartment and lugged it up the stoop I just stood there thinking, "How the f*@$ am I going to get this up 3 flights of stairs?" Then I started pulling up the stairs - BANG! BANG! BANG! - that's the noise it made each time I lugged it up a stair. My poor neighbors were probably like "what the f@#% is going on out there," but they never came out to see what was happening so I kept going. It honestly probably took me like 30 minutes, but I did it and fell face first into my twin air mattress went I finally got inside my door.
Looking back, I'm honestly like "what the hell is wrong with me," because I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was so naive, but that experience helped me become a stronger New Yorker and I can tell you that New Yorkers are tough as hell because they have to deal with some shit! Excuse my language, but it's so true. I have to give props to all the people who grew up here because it's no joke - if you can survive here then you can handle almost anything.