I have only come to realize this week that nothing shocks me anymore…absolutely nothing. I could encounter a two-headed talking dog and have a frank discussion about the weather rather than freaking out about what is in front of me. I have come to the conclusion that I have New York City to thank for this apathy.
In my four short months here, this crazy city has not held back on me and I have gotten to witness and experience so much that I never would have dreamed of in small-town Ireland.
Here are the top ten culture shocks that a young Irish person experiences in New York City.
1. Everyday crazy people
Eccentric (perhaps crazy) people who would normally be ostracized and sneered at in Ireland are fully functioning professional people over here.
I once had a guy in a bar tell me that Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman drives him to work five days a week only to tell me 90 seconds later that he walks to work to keep fit. This man is adored by the regulars and apparently works at one of the swankiest restaurants in Midtown.
I also once overheard a 70-year-old woman telling a waitress that she knew Tom Cruise’s marriage to Katie Holmes would not last because he made a pass at her outside Central Park!
No fashion statement is too big and no item of clothing is too small…for men and for women.
3. This city really never sleeps
Sleep is a luxury. Between working and partying, this city really never does sleep and I have discovered that 7am is now late at night rather than early in the morning.
4. Cinemas in New York mean audience interaction
At the movies, it can sometimes be more interesting to watch the audience rather than the film as some Americans shout, scream, howl and pretty much vocalize every reaction to events unfolding on screen.
5. Public displays of enthusiasm
Happiness and energy are apparently passed through High Fives. I have begun High Fiving and my stress levels have dropped considerably.
6. Being Irish means instant attraction of the opposite sex
There is no bigger fraud in New York than an Irish man. Cloaked with an apparently irresistible accent and a wit we know nothing about can turn an average Joe into a Backstreet Boy with the ladies. And we feel just awful about it.
7. Americans are more gullible than the Irish
Americans are very trusting people and this can be extremely exploited by the Irish who love to tell tall tales about their homeland. A friend of mine once told an American girl that there is no such thing as Tuesday’s in Ireland to which she replied that she hates Tuesday’s anyway.
8. Never order the large portion in restaurants
You will come to regret ordering a large portion over here as portion sizes are colossal.
9. Bar tending can be very lucrative
Bar tending in Ireland is mostly a minimum wage job. Bar tending in New York may well be the most lucrative job in the city.
10.The Irish are everywhere
Even though New York is vast and densely populated, you will still randomly and inexplicably run into people from your hometown!
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks