How to live like a New Yorker no matter where you live:
1. Quintuple your rent, unless you are living in San Francisco. If you live in San Francisco, cut your rent by 20%. Tell your landlord it’s for an experiment. Also, isolate yourself to only one room of your dwelling. Disable your hot water heater.
2. Add six more locks to your front door.
3. Get rid of your car. Walk or take Uber instead. If you’re really dedicated, rent a shipping container and get 100 people to stand around inside of it, brushing up close to you and jabbering in your ears. If you are female, get the males to brush their privates up against your ass, provocatively. This will serve as an authentic subway car experience.
4. Show up twenty minutes late for work with a bagel and coffee. Complain about the subway or traffic. Look stressed.
5. Ten minutes after you get settled at your desk, have some well-dressed person run at you and scream abusive epithets in your face. Encourage them to run around your desk, screaming at you. Talk on the phone and seem really stressed about something while you are being shouted at. Respond to your tormentor only with a gracious and submissive “Yes Mister Something” or “Yes Ms. Something.” Get very angry on the phone. Take your anger out on whomever is speaking. This should last about sixty minutes or so.
6. Now, lunch plans. Hang up the phone. Turn off your computer.
7. After some deliberation, walk three blocks away and give someone $18 for a hamburger. Sit in a crowded space with someone you don’t really know that well because you never let them say anything. Talk really loudly about colonics. Eat fast. On the way back, have a stranger with a thick accent make personal comments about you from a distance or while scampering behind you. Some inspiration: “College boy comin’ round heya like some kinda muddafukkin’ boss fukkin’ yayo hoooyah look at him I had those shoes once they’s for fairies muddafukkah.” Stick your face in a bus exhaust and breathe deeply. Get someone with a yellow car to slowly drive into you as you try to cross a street. The driver should shout at you and give you the finger. Feel free to shout back and pound on the hood.
8. Return to work fifteen minutes late. Complain about lunch lines. Look stressed.
9. Have the person from step 5 above charge at you again while you scream into the phone, but this time for only thirty minutes or so.
10. Walk a block away and pay someone $10 for a cup of coffee.
11. Come back to your desk. It’s time to start closing up shop.
12. Stand in the shipping container again. Don’t make eye contact. Have someone pee on your shoes. (Bonus: hire two people to get into a fight next to you.) (Extra bonus: Have someone vomit.)
13. Stop by city hall and pay income tax. Your city might not levy an income tax, but New York does. And you want this to be real, right?
14. Go to your nearest drug store and ask where they keep the Duane Reade store-brand tissues. If you are anywhere outside of the NYC metro area, they won’t know what you are talking about. This is a great opportunity! Get angry. Complain, loudly. Ask to speak to the manager. Feign a heart attack. Don’t stop until they’ve given you a gift card or a discount on some gum or something just to get you out of there.
15. Walk past people in shorts lined up to see a theater performance. Sneer at them. They are tourists.
16. Hire someone to imitate a crazy crack-head to chase you down the street back to your apartment.
17. Hire someone to sit at a desk in front of your apartment doing nothing. Give them five dollars and a smile as you walk by. This is in addition to the $150 or so you are already paying them to sit there.
18. Order out for Chinese food. Sit in bed with your computer. Have a neighbor with a diesel truck park next to your window and leave it there, idling. Call 911 and tell them there’s been an accident a few blocks away. They have to get there quickly, so they’d better use their sirens. Tell them there’s going to be another accident at 2:06 AM, and they’d better use their sirens for that one, too.
19. Watch reruns of The Waltons on Nick at Nite while you eat your Kung Pao.