I've lived in New York for eight years now, and there are times you catch yourself in the process of becoming a real New Yorker. Like the first time I stuck my head out the window and shouted "SHUT UUUUUUUUUP!" at the dogs barking in the next apartment. Or the first time I began a traditional New York conversation with a stranger at Duane Reade while waiting forever (which in New York is 5 minutes) at the checkout. This conversation always starts with, "Can you believe this?" accompanied by a slight shrug and an outstretched palm. And of course there's the first time I banged on the hood of a taxi because it was too far into the crosswalk. As if on cue, the pedestrian next to me yelled at the driver, "Hey! We're walkin' here!"
So when I read the following story, I tried to put it into NYC context:
COPENHAGEN (AFP) – A Copenhagen bus company has put "love seats" on 103 of its vehicles for people looking to make a new friend ... or even something more.
"Even love at first sight is possible on the bus," said a spokesman for the British owned Arriva company to explain the two seats on each bus that are covered in red cloth and a "love seat" sign.
"You never know what will happen," spokesman Martin Wex told AFP. "We cannot guarantee that you will find the person of your dreams. We are just offering the possibility for people to communicate, to smile a bit more and possibly, to win someone's heart."
The experiment, which according to driver testimony has lightened the mood on buses, is to last two weeks, Wex said. "Some drivers have noticed smiling girls sitting in these seats," hoping for interesting company, he said.
Love seats? On public transportation?
I cannot imagine getting on a stinky, crowded NYC bus to find cute little love seats with signs. Nor can I imagine smiling girls in those seats, waiting for interesting company.
Here's what would happen if this concept were exported to my city:
Girl gets on bus. She's late for work. She's checking her Blackberry and sits down, not realizing it's a "Love Seat". Horrible, fat ogre in stained sweatpants gets on bus and sits next to her. He smells bad. She cringes. He leans in. She plasters herself against the side of the bus in a desperate effort not to touch him. He can't distract her from the Blackberry so finally he says, "Look at this!" and whips out his penis. She shrieks, "What the fuck are you doing?" A college kid pulls out his iPhone and snaps a picture of the pervert. It's sent directly to the NYPD. An old lady points her finger and says, "You're a pig! That's what you are. A pig!"
The horrible, fat ogre in stained sweat pants makes a hasty getaway at the next stop.
The old lady turns and says to the college kid, "Can you believe this?"