Friday, February 21 2020 - 3:07 AM
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Three Rules for Life

When you are a native New Yorker, there are a few rules you must follow: 1) Always stand on the right side of an escalator, 2) bagels are a food group, and 3) always keep your apartment immaculate. There are, of course, many other rules but these are the most important. Each rule exists for its own very important reason.

The first rule exists because New Yorkers are often in a hurry, or tired. Standing on the right side of the escalator allows the tired New Yorkers a moment’s respite, while those who are in a hurry rush down the escalator on the left side. This is one of the best ways to identify a tourist. If you’re in NYC and see someone standing on the left side of any escalator, just know that they’re from out of town. Please smile at them because at any moment a New Yorker in a hurry will yell at them.

The second rule exists because, well, have you had a New York bagel? If not, do yourself a favor and try one. Thank me later.

And finally, we all know that the last rule exists because native New Yorkers aren’t necessarily human. That’s right, we share this city with an innumerable amount of rodents. And this truth is why New Yorkers go through every effort to keep those little rascals away from the places where we live, which involves, among other things, keeping your home immaculately clean.

So you can imagine our surprise when we saw a little furry visitor running across our living room floor to hide behind the couch. We immediately called the building’s superintendent who promised to be at our apartment first thing the next morning. And while it was a relief to know that our “super” was going to take care of the issue so quickly, it was terrifying to spend the night knowing that there was a little critter in my home. I couldn’t help but think that I had done everything right: I kept the house clean, I didn’t leave any food out, I wiped down all surfaces every night. I had done everything possible to prevent this, so why was this happening?!

I explained my frustration to my “super” who came to our apartment early the next morning, and he let out a gentle laugh and said, “This is New York City. It’s not a matter of why. It’s a matter of when.”

I think of how often I encountered problems in my life and wondered, “How could this happen? I’ve done everything right.” But following the rules doesn’t always guarantee a life without pain. The important thing is that when troubles come, we know who to call:

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:9-10, NIV).

Jael Amador writes from New York.

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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