Tonight was my first night in Tampa, and my friend insisted that I meet his friend who lives down there. His friend picked me up from the airport and took me to dinner with a few of his friends and colleagues. Before even meeting him, I was so surprised by his warmth and generosity. He originally planned to pick me up and take me back to his house (which apparently I found out is like a castle, complete with a moat!) so that I could have a home-cooked dinner with him, his wife, and his 2.5-month old baby, but because his wife wasn’t feeling well, there was a change in plan.
New York has jaded me in a lot of ways. I rarely expect anyone to go out of their way to do anything for me; in fact, I expect the complete opposite. I barely even expect that people will respond to my text messages in a 24-hour period, much less drive to the airport to pick me up and offer me a home-cooked meal when they have no idea who I am or what I even look like. Based on my six years of living here, it’s always felt that everyone wants to project the image that they are always busy and not available when in fact, it’s really because they don’t care that much and are waiting for something better or potentially more fun to come along (or they are just fearful of commitment, even to the smallest possible things). In New York, you can be friends, even “good” friends with someone for years and never get invited to their apartment. It’s just the way things are here. And for me, it’s getting a bit tired.